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Buck Creek in Kentucky

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

A buddy and I finally made it down to the Buck Creek. I'd been wanting to paddle this creek for some time. We both paddled in recreational kayaks. Perception Swifty 9.5 with no skirt.

We made a 12.3 mile trip from Rainey Road to 1003. Sehlinger's book says this trip is 14.59 miles, but this is incorrect. Sehlinger's book also says that this creek should be good to go as long as the Rockcastle River is running at 600CFS or greater. I know another reviewer ran this at 550 and didn't have any trouble. The Rockcastle was running at 800 when we started and was down to 738 when we finished.

The Buck Creek was certainly runnable, but not without effort. I hit rocks most of the trip and I did have to get out of the boat once in order to pull though one section. I do weigh about 250 pounds. My buddy is only about 160-175 and he did fine though he did hit some rocks as well.

Now to the good stuff. This river is absolutely beautiful. All of this section is tree lined with plenty of shade. Most of the time there are tall rock walls on one or both sides of the river. The river is also fairly narrow, making it quite intimate. There are several places where water seems to enter the river from nowhere. It comes right out of rock walls. It's actually coming out of caves. At one point the water that was coming out was milky white and ice cold. Absolutely beautiful. There is also very little trash or other signs of human inhabitance on this section. I barely saw 2 houses/cabins.

There are numerous class II rapids on this stream, but at this water level they are more like annoyances if you have to worry with getting stuck on rocks. At higher water levels they would be extremely fun to paddle. There were several times where the water was low enough to stick me on rocks, yet strong enough that I nearly tipped over because of the rocks.

Overall, this river is much more scenic than surrounding streams like the Upper Cumberland or the Dix River. Maybe not as scenic as the Big South Fork, but very close. I've not yet paddled the Rockcastle. Also, the biggest "rapid" we encountered was a 1-2 foot ledge. It is located at N37 07.132 W84 26.730 if anyone has a GPS and would like to be prepared for it. We got stuck on it for a second, but I bet it's a blast when the water is higher.

Overall, this is a great creek and I can't wait to get a bigger group together and go again.


Plenty of hotels/restaurants in Somerset.




Rainey Road put in is at N37 10.558 W84 27.326.
Optional old 80 bridge putin/takeout is at N37 09.090 W84 26.315.
Our takeout at 1003 is at N37 06.229 W84 26.106.


"A Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to Kentucky" by Bob Sehlinger is always our first reference.

Trip Details

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location