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18 mile Kentucky River Paddle - Camp Nelson to High Bridge

Copied from the Bluegrass Canoe and Kayak site, but we always need more people on this trip. If you are a member of both, no need to RSVP to both.

This is an advanced trip! Paddle 18 miles from Camp Nelson to High Bridge on the Kentucky River. Takes you through the 'Heart of the Palisades', the best section of palisades on the Kentucky River, a flatter section around the Jessamine Creek area, back to palisades around the Dix River and High Bridge Area. Passes by a Great Blue Heron rookery (around 50 nests), Tom Dorman State Nature Preserve (SNP), Jim Beam NP, Jessamine Creek NP, Crutcher NP, and Sally Brown NP.

Very long and challenging trip. Has taken strong paddlers in long boats 5.5 to 6 hours to complete (enforcing a max of 6 hours due to long shuttle). Its 12 miles to the usual lunch stop. Maybe one other stop after that. Not a trip for beginners or rec. boats. Recommend you have done several 10-12 mile trips this year before attempting this. Shuttle is 30 minutes one way.

Put-in at the Camp Nelson ramp under the US 27 Bridge (the lower old bridge is not open, so make sure you come on Camp Nelson Rd from the south side of the river). Honor box fee is usually $3. Meet there at 8:30 to drop boats. Will run shuttle over to the High Bridge VPA Ramp (appx. 602 Lock 7 Rd, Wilmore, KY), so on the water before 10AM.

River charts (we'll be on charts nos. 19,18,17): http://finance.ky.gov/about/Documents/KentuckyRiverNavigationCharts2011.pdf

Some points of interest in the Jessamine Co. Ky River Guidebook (we'll be starting at Marker 19 and going almost to Marker 5): http://www.jessamineco.com/river/guidebook.htm

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  • Bob D.

    I have several SUP friends who would like to do this trip on our own so we don't slow you down. Correct me if I'm wrong, the put in is at the Camp Nelson RV Park and the take out is at the Shaker Village boat dock? I can't see where there is a portage along the route. Is there one? Thanks.

    June 2, 2014

    • Bob D.

      Thanks. that's very helpful.

      June 2, 2014

    • Don P.

      In addition to the two ramps at Camp Nelson not being maintained anymore and pretty much unusable, I've heard that they are going to start charging a fee at the High Bridge ramp starting July 1. Maybe as high as $10 for any type boat.

      June 16, 2014

  • Kimberley H.

    Beautiful paddle on a beautiful day with great group of people.

    June 7, 2014

  • Don P.

    Thanks everyone who attended the Ky River Death Paddle. I think everyone survived. Turned out well even though we had to use a makeshift carrydown that Maryellen worked out for us to use down to the water. Couldn't have asked for better weather. 7 total counting the group from BCK. Took about 6 hours - had a small current.

    June 7, 2014

  • Joyce W.

    Not going on this one.

    June 6, 2014

  • Don P.

    One last reiteration that this is an advanced trip. That means no sweeper, and we usually do a comfortable long boat pace of around 4mph until lunch (3 hours). If you can't keep that up, you will be left behind and must be OK with that, There's a chance I'll have an acquaintance that lives out of town now that may do the trip in a surfski. He'll be leaving us in the dust and doing the trip in about 3 hours if anyone is interested in keeping up.

    June 2, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I won't be able to make it, my friend didn't bring my kayak back and the skirt ripped, hopefully I'll have it all sorted out by next paddle

      June 6, 2014

  • Don P.

    One of our group that arrived early from out of town says the ramp we use is totally encased in mud. Sounds like they haven't cleaned it all year. Still meet up there, and we'll probably have to go to the campground and do a walkdown. She says that is much more doable.

    June 6, 2014

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