Rockcastle River

Area Status: Open
Rockcastle River

The Rockcastle River got its name from the majestic cliffs that tower above the river.

The "Rockcastle Narrows" is a precipitous gorge bounded by 100-foot cliffs. The river flows through portions of Jackson, Rockcastle, Laurel and Pulaski counties.

The 15.9-mile segment from KY 1956 (old Highway 80) bridge to the backwaters of Lake Cumberland is designated a Kentucky Wild River.  

Upper Rockcastle River

Livingston to I-75 Bridge
This section of river is rated as Class I+. The put-in is located on private land at the Wilderness Road ford just south of Livingston on U.S. 25. Please respect the rights of private landowners.

The take-out is just beyond I-75 on the right side of the river, 6 miles downstream and also on private land. The trip takes between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the water level and the paddler's ability. 

Class: I+ 
Miles: 6
Hours: 1-3
Season: November - June
Skill Level: Families and Beginners
Put-in: U.S. 25, Livingston
Take-out: I-75 Bridge

I-75 Bridge to Ky 1956 (Billows Bridge)
The river from I-75 bridge to KY 1956 meanders for 10.6 miles and is considered to be a Class I+. Most of this section is flat water with a few easy shoals. The river follows KY 1329 for approximately 2 miles. There is no paved access to the river beyond I-75 until the take out, which is on the left side of the river just beyond the bridge. The take out is on private land. Plan on between 3 and 5 hours to make the trip. 

Class: I+ 
Miles: 10.6
Hours: 3-5
Season: November - June
Skill Level: Families and Beginners
Put-in: I-75 Bridge
Take-out: KY 80 Bridge

Lower Rockcastle River

This section of river is designated a Kentucky Wild River and includes one of the most challenging whitewater runs in Kentucky. It is a long 16.9-mile stretch of water with several Class III and at least one Class IV rapid along the way. It should be attempted only by experienced, well-equipped paddlers.

Big Narrows and Beech Narrows can be portaged using trails on the left side of the river. Only boaters with advanced expert skills should attempt Beech Narrows due to serious "Keeper" hydraulics and undercut rocks. Plan on at least 8 hours for the trip.

The take-out is at the Bee Rock Recreation Area on the east side of the campground. 

At a Glance

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