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Upper Cumberland River in Kentucky

Trip Overview

3 friends and I just bought our own kayaks. We'd only been in kayaks 1 other time, but loved it. We bought Perception Swifty's. They're recreational, but stable. No skirts on this trip. We did the Upper Cumberland; 17 miles and the water was at 2000 CFS on this trip.

The water was moving steadily all day. Not many good places to take out for a break. The banks were usually too steep for an easy take out. There were 4 sections of what I'd call class II rapids. There were some good size waves that had us all nervous. 2 guys fell out on one rapid, but we managed to keep the boats above water for the rest of the trip.

A very wide river, but without the rapids, it was a little monotonous. 17 miles got to be a little long by the end. We did the trip in 6.5 hours, including breaks.

Takeout was at the Cumberland Falls parking lot.
Put-in was at Red Bird bridge, next to the church.


Sheltowee Trace Outfitters provides trips on this river.




Check out the "Canoeing and Kayking Guide in Kentucky" by Sehlinger and Molloy. Use that along with Google Earth and have a good time.
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip