Cumberland River - London

Area Status: Open
Cumberland River

The Cumberland River flows through the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest and offers great canoeing and rafting opportunities. The river is known for Cumberland Falls, which divides the river into two distinct segments.

The 16.1-mile section from Summer Shoals to the backwaters of Lake Cumberland is designated a Kentucky Wild River.

Upper Cumberland River
KY 204 at Redbird Bridge to KY 90 at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

The canoe take-out for this section of river is 200 yards above Cumberland Falls. Paddlers failing to take out here could potentially be carried over the falls. After passing through the right arch of the bridge, take out immediately. Do not attempt this section when the river is high.  Most of this section is rated Class I with Class II rapids at Pitch Rapids and the KY 90 bridge. This 17-mile trip is often done in two days. Camping is allowed on national forest land if 300 feet from the water. Campers should make sure they are on national forest land, since some private land occurs along this section of river. 

The Cumberland River is a designated State Wild River from Summer Shoals downstream to Lake Cumberland (area is unavailable). The take-out location is at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.

Class: I, II
Miles: 17
Hours: 24
Season: November - June
Skill Level: Advanced Beginners
Put-in: KY 204 at Redbird Bridge
Take-out: Cumberland Falls

Lower Cumberland River
Cumberland Falls to Mouth of Laurel

The river below the falls is one of the few whitewater runs that can be made year round. This section is rated as a Class III with several difficult rapids that should be attempted only by intermediate and advanced paddlers. It is 11.6 miles from the put-in at the state park beach below Cumberland Falls to the Mouth of  Laurel Boat Ramp within the national forest. The last several miles are flat water. Plan on 4-6 hours for the trip. A private concessionaire also runs guided raft trips on this section of river.  

Class: III
Miles: 11.6
Hours 4-6
Season: All
Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Put In: Below Cumberland Falls
Take Out: Mouth of Laurel Boat Ramp


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