Cumberland River Below the Falls - Kentucky

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BJett

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May 3, 2013
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The mighty Cumberland River begins its journey deep in the southern Appalachians...Harlan County, Kentucky to be exact. It eventually runs into the Ohio River.
Cumberland Falls is a ~65' waterfall located in McCreary and Whitley County, KY. Its famous for its Moonbow, and its also a very popular tourist spot.

A buddy of mine recently bought a cataraft and has been learning the ropes on some easier whitewater. We did an overnighter from below the falls to the mouth of the Laurel River, an 11 mile scenic cruise with a bit of spice. We had low water, mostly class 2-3 but at higher water its steps up its game a bit. I paddled my Alpacka packraft and let him haul the gear and beer.

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Camp above Screaming Right rapid. It was more of a whisper at low water. Testing out my new Zpacks cuben fiber tent.
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Good morning
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Normally a legit class 3+ rapid. Not so much at 300 cubic feet per second.
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Pinball rapid, the last drop before Lake Cumberland takes over. Low lake levels mean more rapids, and another 6' drop in water levels uncovers one more called Last Drop.
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The crux of the run is the epic 4 miles of flatwater to get to the boat ramp where the Laurel River enters. Like, lake flat. Still a stunningly beautiful run.
My friend snapped an oar early in the trip, and managed to fix it using his paleolithic skills and rock tools. pretty typical actually.

https://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/cumberland-falls/
 

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wsp_scott

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Neat, I've looked at the water below the falls and wondered what the rest of the river looked liked. Where did you put in? Just below the falls? If you carried the cataraft from the parking lot, I'll bet you got some weird looks :)

I've thought about carrying my Klymit LWD and just paddling a bit towards the falls, but then other things come up
 

BJett

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May 3, 2013
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Neat, I've looked at the water below the falls and wondered what the rest of the river looked liked. Where did you put in? Just below the falls? If you carried the cataraft from the parking lot, I'll bet you got some weird looks :)

I've thought about carrying my Klymit LWD and just paddling a bit towards the falls, but then other things come up
Yep you called it! Lots of questions and curious tourists. 3 trips worth of gear. Had the river to ourselves.
 

Fatboy

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Aug 29, 2019
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Some pretty country back there.

Right in the middle of reading Harry Caudill's 1963 book 'Night comes to the Cumberlands' about Harlan county and the surrounding country.

Any luck with the fishing?

Enjoyed my limited trips through there, Thanks for posting!
 

BJett

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May 3, 2013
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479
Some pretty country back there.

Right in the middle of reading Harry Caudill's 1963 book 'Night comes to the Cumberlands' about Harlan county and the surrounding country.

Any luck with the fishing?

Enjoyed my limited trips through there, Thanks for posting!
Good book! Fascinating, and frustrating history. A place time forgot.

Didn't even see a fish. Too damn hot!
 

fossana

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Jan 11, 2018
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I don't get to see many backcountry reports from KY, beautiful area. Thanks for sharing!
 

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