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Kentucky River in Kentucky

Trip Overview

Kentucky River: Old Landing Boat Ramp to Dam 12

This trip began with another interesting ride through the hills of Kentucky. Once again, I encountered many stray dogs (5 on the way in, 2 on the way out). One was literally lying in the middle of the opposite lane!

I had checked out this put-in last week while scouting. I dont know if I would have found it if I had not asked. Getting to Old Landing was, for me, an extremely interesting experience. You go down a steeply winding hill and, at the bottom near the river, you come to a set of railroad tracks where it looks like the road ends. You have to muster up your courage here though, cause it looks like youll go over a cliff if you dare to go over the tracks! You wont. It looks like youre pulling up into someones driveway though and theres not much room to park - maybe room for a few cars without blocking access. This ramp was not on the navigation charts but was in the "Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to Kentucky."

The community of Old Landing appears to consist of this one house along with another structure which appears to have once been a store of some kind and a barn. There is another dwelling farther down the tracks which was only visible to me from the river. At the bottom of the ramp is an intriguing but somewhat crumbling stone structure. No one was around to ask about it though. Im sure Old Landing was probably much more lively when there was more commerce on the river. I often wonder when I see things like Old Landing what it would have been like to have lived in a particular place 100 years ago while still retaining the perspective of the present moment so that you could compare the two. This fascinates me.

Anyway, as I get moving Ive still got the train track near me on the right bank although this will eventually move farther away from the shoreline as I paddle downriver. Also with me is the alternating farmland and hillside, one or the other on each side. Once past the first curve, the river becomes straighter for about the first half of this trip with long straightaways from mile 230 to mile 225.

After passing a virtually dried up Buck Creek about half way between mile 228 and 227 I passed the communities of Texola and Pryse on the right side between mile 227 and 226. Not much was visible of these and, again, Im sure Im really missing a lot being this low on the water. These towns may well consist of only 1 or 2 dwellings, but Id still like to see them!

The river starts to get more curvy in here and just before you get to the town of Miller Creek you see Miller Creek itself just past mile 226. This creek has quite a bit of water in it! In fact, with exception of Buck Creek, the other waterways which intersect on this stretch (Miller Creek, Blue Lick Branch, Coppers Lick Branch, Cow Creek and Big Doe Creek) do seem to have decent amounts of water in them. Probably from the rain we had yesterday and last night.

I couldnt make out anything of the town of Miller Creek from this direction, but I could see about 3-4 dwellings on my return trip. On the opposite bank is some nice looking farmland but also on my return trip I noticed that its marred by quite a bit of trash lying on the shoreline. This is the first point on this entire trip where trash spoils the view. It might just naturally pile up here for some reason. I must say though that I expected to see much more trash than I am seeing. The Kentucky River is, for the most part, a remarkably clean one in regard to trash. You see it, of course, here and there but for me it rarely accumulates so much as to detract from an enjoyable day on the river.

Theres a slowly curving stretch after a sharp turn near Blue Lick Branch and after rounding Copper Lick Bend theres a mile straight patch at the end of which you can start to see the outskirts of the town of Ravenna. The first thing you pass will be the American Legion and its boat ramp just after mile 223. This is a nice ramp. I wont be using this ramp though so I dont know if theres a fee involved here. You would have to ask them before using it. As you round Wagers Bend there are 3 houses up on the right bank with what must be really nice views.

After Wagers Bend, it gets interesting. On the left bank I noticed for the first time that instead of a steep 15-20 foot bank, there is a more of gently sloping beach-like contour to the bank. Im intrigued. This appears to be a real haven for geese. I saw what Id guess were about 50 hanging out there as well as another heron. Real nice! At mile 222 as I hit Soap and Tallow Bend there were some really nice looking shale cliffs. This little stretch may be the most interesting one Ive seen yet.

When you add the dam about only 2 more miles down then Id say that Ill definitely be back in here again. It even looks like theres a Ravenna Beach on the other side of the dam! Ill check this out Monday.

Right before I got to dam 12 at mile 221 I passed the most paddle-able stream since the Sturgeon Creek up in Heidelberg. This is Cow Creek. What a name! Its quite a nice little highly meandering stream. I would have paddled up it further (I went a couple hundred yards) but this was a long trip and I wanted to try and make it back to car in Old Landing before night fell.

When I got to dam 12 it looked like the portage would have been OK, but not quite as easy as dam 13. Again, theres no ladder on this side. You have to go up the steep bank. It doesnt look to be overgrown with brush though as dam 14 did. When Im done with all this maybe Ill rate the dams in terms of their relative ease of portage.

I did make it back to Old Landing before nightfall after all. I had started earlier than I did on my nightmare day of Wednesday when I didnt get to the ramp until 3! Its been a great day with 22 miles of paddling. Next Wednesday though, due to the lack of put-ins between dam 12 and 11, Ill have a 34 mile paddle. That will be my longest ever. Well see if I can do it. If I can, the rest of the trip will be relatively easy.

My next stint though will be on Monday. I plan to go from the Riverview Restaurant and Ramp up to the other side of dam 12 and back.






KY 52 to Old Landing Road (There will be a sign on the road with Old Landing on it which points you in the right direction). Head West. There will be only one way to go from 52 though. Take the next right after passing Mandy Road. This will be the continuation of Old Landing Road. If you go straight it will turn into Evelyn Road. Make sure you go right. The road meanders steeply down to the river. Youll come to a railroad track. The road doesnt end here although it looks like it does! Go over these tracks and youre there. Not much room here - maybe 3 vehicles without impeding access to the ramp for others.


"A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to Kentucky" (general info)

Kentucky River Authority Navigation Charts (specifics)

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip