Packrafting the Cumberland River Below the Falls - Kentucky


May 3, 2013
Its been a very dry late summer into fall this year in Kentucky, I've been waiting for rain to bump up the water levels but finally gave up. The question was...will this section of the Cumberland River be runnable at extremely low flows of 200 cubic feet per second? I did a longer trip a few years ago at 300 cfs with my packraft, an overnight paddle all the way to Laurel Lake and it was low but good to go. Turns out it goes even lower...barely. There was just enough lube to get down the river and a few fun rapids before I took out, packed it all up and hiked back to the car.
7 miles total, 3.5 paddle and 3.5 hike. Stopped at Dog Slaughter Falls for lunch, this creek being my stopping point. I took the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail back to the car to complete the loop.
Cumberland Falls is always spectacular. The low water really highlights the huge boulders lining the river. Perfect day trip.
This section of river is normally run with rafts and kayaks with much more water, its a serious class 3 whitewater run with undercuts and sieves.
Much more benign at the lower flow.

The mighty Cumberland Falls



My takeout at Dog Slaughter Creek 3,5 miles down river.

Dog Slaughter Creek. 3.5 mile hike on the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail back to the car.



Follow along as I talk to myself down the river...

Great scenery. That reflection shot is fantastic - I love the way the clouds are bursting out of the middle!
Looks awesome, when was this?

I really like the photo of the takeout at Dog Slaughter Creek. I also like the video.
Looks awesome, when was this?

I really like the photo of the takeout at Dog Slaughter Creek. I also like the video.
November 2nd. One of the last days for wearing shorts which is always heartbreaking.
That pic of the river was a lucky iPhone shot.
Great photos! Loved seeing this from the water too. I've hiked sections of the Sheltowee Trace and it it is beautiful, especially along the river. I need to try this with a paddle instead of trekking poles sometime!
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