I recently bought a 15 1/2 foot recreational canoe for the family and have now taken it out twice on Taylor Fork. The first time with my wife and the second time with my three-year-old son and a friend and his five-year-old son. Needless to say, the paddling with my wife was rather more peaceful; the two boys like to egg each other on!
Compared to the other small lakes around (Lake Reba and Owsley Fork Lake near Berea), I've found Taylor Fork to offer the most fun and sights for some easy paddling near Richmond. The lake is skinny and long (for its small size overall). From the marina (located at the southwest end of the lake), you can paddle out to the big fork and head toward Taylor Fork creek or south toward Old Town Branch. I haven't yet explored the latter. There's also a shorter offshoot which is partly inaccessible to the fishing boats--you have to paddle under a fallen tree. Not much further length after that, but a nice place to stop and watch and listen.
With the boys, we went as far up Taylor Fork as we could go into the creek, and this made for some very nice, calm, shaded, and more or less secluded paddling--though one can't go very far into the creek (at least not in July). Throughout the lake along the shoreline there are turtles aplenty, several herons to watch, and so forth. We spent the afternoon paddling (so one could fairly easily explore the whole lake in a full day).
There are several private docks and houses along the north side of the lake, but neither time I've been out has it been particularly crowded or busy. The marina hosts fishing tournaments throughout the week so I suppose one might want to plan to float at other times; I'm not sure how busy it gets. (Even so, the lake is idle speed only.)
For me, it's the perfect spot to teach my son how to canoe, and hopefully, how to be a little more quiet and still and to enjoy the sounds and sights of nature. I know that's asking a lot of a three-year-old!
Marina and boat ramp.
$5 fee to park at marina and launch
Take Barnes Mill Road west from Richmond (at I-75 Exit 87), take a left onto Curtis Pike Road (there's a sign for Wilgreen Lake), then look for a sign to turn left onto the road leading to the marina.