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18 mile Kentucky River Paddle - Camp Nelson to High Bridge

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. 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):

Some points of interest in the Jessamine Co. Ky River Guidebook (we'll be starting at Marker 19 and going almost to Marker 5):

This trip is co-listed on the Louisville Area Canoe and Kayak meetup group site and there are 10 others signed up so far.


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  • Don P.

    Outstanding and challenging as usual. I only took a couple of pics, but Steve from LACK took more. Hopefully he'll post those on the LACK instance of this Meetup.

    June 1, 2013

  • dan b.

    Management says I have to help with a moving sale. Maybe next time.

    May 30, 2013

  • Don P.

    One last reminder. This is an advanced trip. So am assuming everyone that signs up can handle it and as an advanced kayaker can take personal responsibility for themselves and that they can complete this in 5.5 hours. As such, there will be no sweeper. Will be moving at a good clip the first 4 miles to Candlestick Rock. If you fall behind, you should be prepared to turn back there. If you don't, I can't say what kind of cell service is available through this trip since I don't have a cell phone, but I can't imagine its good.

    May 28, 2013

  • Don P.

    Just want to reiterate this is a very advanced trip. We usually average 4mph for the first 3 hours. There are no other exits along the way, and there is no sweeper to stay with anyone who can't keep up. We are relying on everyone to self assess their ability to keep up and stay with this group for the safety of yourself and of the group. Not a trip for beginners or even intermediates, really, or people in short boats (should be > 15' unless you've done this before) Recommend anyone that can't keep up turn around at Candlestick Rock, about 4 miles in. Otherwise, you are on your own. Its hard enough for me to do the last 6 miles myself.

    May 26, 2013

  • Doug H.

    I plan on being there unless unforseen events prevent it! Canoes and kayaks for those interested but without can be made available for $25\day from Palisades Adventures(includes life jackets and paddles). Contact me at (859)[masked], or my parrtners Ann and Rene at (859)[masked]!

    May 6, 2013

  • Don P.

    By comparison, several of the people that have done this trip in 5.5 hours did the ~20 mile, Dennison to Houchins Ferry on the Green River right at 5 hours at 1500cfs (4.5ft) with a similar lunch break. There is usually no helping flow on the Ky river this time of year.

    April 24, 2013

  • Don P.

    I was going to say, for a less than 13' boat, you've really got to be in shape. I've seen people do it in a 13.5' or so boat, but I don't know how they do it, the last 6 miles is a real struggle for me in a 17' boat. And, on this trip, we have a 'no whining' rule in place.

    April 24, 2013

  • Maryellen S.

    Turns out I'm already double-booked that weekend for other paddles. Following 2 weekends booked kayak/camping...gotta stay closer to home, but I really would love to paddle KY River; hopefully, this year! :)

    April 24, 2013

  • Maryellen S.

    strong maybe...I would love to do this paddle! Even though I don't have a long boat, I am a strong paddler in my Santee 126 :) And I will have completed several long paddles by then

    April 24, 2013

  • March 28, 2013

  • Don Perkins changed the location from Shaker Landing to High Bridge Ramp

    March 27, 2013

  • Don Perkins changed the time from 8:00 AM to 8:30 AM

    March 27, 2013

3 went

  • Don P.
    Event Host
  • A former member
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