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Green River/Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

After numerous years of spring kayak paddling in northern Ontario we (7 of us) decided to try something south, (from MI), and ended up with the Green River. It looked interesting, with the prospect of caves and waterfalls along the way.

We put in at Lynn Camp, (not to be confused with Lynn Creek Camp as we would learn). Weather was perfect! It was suggested by a local outfitter to start here as there was waterfalls and caves, as opposed to our original idea of put in at Dennison Ferry which would miss these attractions.

Well, we passed the waterfall within the first 2 hrs and the next 20 additional miles, (26 total that day), were very mundane and boring to say the least. The scenery literally does not change and it often smells of muck.

We finally found a reasonable place to camp as there are not many and set up for the first night. There ended up being a severe storm @1 a.m. that temporarily flattened 2 tents and sent another scurrying for shelter from a hammock tent. We got quite a lot of rain in a short time but it was all done by morning.

The next day was pretty much more of the same, uneventful scenery for the most part, though we did find one creek we meandered up to a nice spot for cliff diving in a small pooled area. After another 20+ mile day we found a usable spot to camp and set up. It was basically a gravel bar but it would work.

This is where it gets fun...
@5 a.m. the next morning we were awoken by one of our group saying "Everybody up, the boats are gone, water at the tents!" Not exactly the way you want to start your day but, sure enough the river had rose about 1.5ft overnight and was climbing fast. 4 of 7 kayaks had floated away. All the boats were left 20 or more feet from water but we just were not high enough to prevent this. Quickly 3 jumped into remaining boats and one guy on foot. All boats were retrieved within a mile and returned. In the meantime, those of us at camp had to move quickly as the gravel bar was nearly submerged now. By 6:30 the entire camp that was there the night before was under water. We moved 1/2 mile down river to a good take out point to dry out and re-pack after the emergency get away.

We ended up finishing our route and reaching our take out point a Green River Ferry that day @ 1. Our original plan was to take until the following day, but we were done... in more ways than one.

Would I recommend this trip?
I suppose a shorter version... but not the route we did; there's just not enough to keep your interest, and camp spots were bad, IMHO.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location