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Rockcastle River in Kentucky

Trip Overview

Afternoon trip on the Upper Rockcastle River. USGS Billows gauge showed stream height 1.75' and flow 110 cfs. This is "below recommended" but conditions were perfect for a family float type trip.

The water was totally calm. There were a dozen or so spots where we scraped rocks, and a few of those stopped us. Only one required partially getting out to dislodge.

This trip is 6 or 7 miles and took us around three hours. It's a beautiful trip although you'll get some traffic noise on the part that runs adjacent to US25, and the occasional train running next to the river. And at this flow level be ready to paddle your way to the take-out, the river is barely moving at all. Lots of gravel bars suitable for stopping for breaks, and plenty of long, calm, deep spots for swimming.


Put in spot is a campground and recreation area, privately owned, big sign makes it easy to find. Contact the owner at 760-975-8722. She is local and offers canoe & kayak rentals and shuttle service. She is capable, prompt, and very pleasant.

The take-out spot is under the I-75 bridge. Plentiful parking. The day we were there it was crowded with family picnics, floats, and 4-wheelers.


Don't know about fees at put in spot, call the owner. There appear to be other put-in spots in the area but I'd be happy to pay a few bucks at this spot for easy access, you can drive right to water's edge.


US25 south from Mt Vernon to Livingston.
Put-in was just south of Livingston at N37.2947 W84.2182.
Take out is further south on 25 then west to I-75 bridge at N37.2415 W84.2401


"A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to Kentucky" by Bob Sehlinger & Johnny Molloy.
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip