What is the kentucky river watertrail

What is the Kentucky River Water Trail Project?


For more than a decade, the Kentucky RIVERKEEPER has developed partnerships and networks with Kentucky Adventure Tourism, Kentucky Fish and Wildlife, the Heritage Land Conservation Fund, the National Parks Service, Kentucky State Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, Bluegrass Tomorrow, Kentucky River Basin Team, Kentucky River Authority, University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, the Kentucky River Water Trail Alliance, county, city and state agencies, local preservation and historical societies, local tourism development agencies, and paddling and fishing groups. 

The Kentucky River Trail will be an interconnected watercourse for recreational activities and outdoor enjoyment. It will follow the Kentucky River as it flows from the mountainous region of southeastern Kentucky into the central Kentucky Bluegrass Region, and eventually into the Ohio River in north central Kentucky. These recreational waterways serve as ribbons of discovery and create educational opportunities, promote a healthy environment and high quality of life while preserving our natural, cultural and historic heritage. This 240-mile route provides a variety of scenic flat-water recreational opportunities that have been relatively untapped as a recreational outdoor resource. Tantamount among the scenic vistas that the Kentucky River’s course affords are the limestone palisades, a series of steep gorges and cliffs along a 100-mile central stretch of the waterway.

The addition of river access points and recreational amenities in each county will encourage visitors to spend time by or on the river. By building  portages around the 14 lock and dam properties and promoting County /Kentucky River Authority partnerships and community partners, we can develop a trail system that will extend throughout the entire Kentucky River and headwaters. Paddlers and other outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enter and exit the river at a variety of points, with the directional assistance of signage identifying trail features, such as parks, picnic areas, and boat ramps. 

DRINK ,SWIM, FISH the Kentucky River! 

The Kentucky River Water Trail is a natural trail of 256-miles (not including headwaters) of water trail that would improve access and connectivity to our river 

communities, boaters, paddlers and fishermen. 

Fishing – Boating - Paddling - Camping—Adventuring



*The Kentucky River Water Trail was selected in 2011 as 1 of 100 projects across the country to be recognized in President Obama’s initiative, “America’s Great Outdoors”, launched to develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda aimed at addressing the growing issue of Americans who are losing their connection with outdoor places and the value they provide to our quality of life. Governor Beshear nominated the Kentucky River Water Trail as one of Kentucky’s two America’s Great Outdoors projects. 

Find out more

KRWT--Confluence located below Lock and dam 1

The convergence pool is a short 4 mile paddle. It is close to camping, entertainment, lodging and provisions. There are a few natural beaches. The Carrollton boat ramp is located on the Ohio River close to the confluence with the Kentucky. Two Rivers campground is located near town. You can also paddle to nearby General Butler State Park and enjoy their excellent facilities. This part of the water trail is remote, undeveloped and a real getaway adventure. Lock #1 is located upstream from General Butler State Park. The Tree lined river is home to a host of wildlife.

Always take out more trash than you bring in! Practice good stewardship!

Important Note:

In the description of the confluence and each of the following fourteen pools, the link to the Kentucky River Navigation Charts will help you better understand the lay of the river.   It will give you a mile-by-mile look at the river and references to specific  places in each Pool.

KRWT assessment grid-Convergence pool (pdf)


Kentucky River Navigation Charts-2014 (pdf)