To come up with which trail to spotlight every week, I listed all the locations we had information on in a spreadsheet, put a random number in an adjacent column, and did a sort on that column. We had three good hiking trail locations come up in the first three weeks, and are now getting to our first ‘water trail’ location. Only problem is, this is one of the last of our local paddling locations you should choose, so I’m going to talk more about water trails in general than this particular spot.
Until I started kayaking 8 years ago, I knew the Kentucky River was “down there” in the southern part of the county and only really saw it from up high as I crossed a bridge, or had limited views from some of the hiking trails along the palisades. Since then, I’ve paddled every one of the 45 river miles that are adjacent to Jessamine County, more miles in Woodford, Anderson, Franklin, Madison, Clark, and Fayette Counties, and many other rivers and lakes across the state. In my opinion, we are very lucky to have several of the best spots for paddling scenery in the state in our back yard, and very, very few people are taking advantage of it. No paddle trip can beat the several at Grayson Lake, but several locations here stand up well with any of the best spots on the Green, Cumberland, and Rockcastle Rivers. I consider several of these locations my local “go to” recreation spots. I can be on the water in 15 minutes from my house, paddle 6 miles out and 6 miles back and sometimes never see a soul on weekdays. And with 6 or so ramps within a 30 minute drive, I can paddle many more miles of public trail than I could find to hike within that same distance (if you leave out the 40 miles of trails at Shaker Village which are technically private). If you live in the area and aren’t considering paddling as one of your recreation activities, you are really missing out.
Now, back to Hunters Ferry Rd. The road itself pretty much just ends in the water. There was a parking lot of sorts the last time I was there, but its in the flood zone, so can be an awful spot at times. And I was never really comfortable leaving my car there – its so remote that it seems like a good place to dump a body, and I know there has been at least one left there. You can paddle downstream, but its really better to put in at the John Nickell Ramp and paddle upstream to this location. I’ve even seen the water company employees putting in at the John Nickell ramp to get up to the water intake instead of putting in here. If you go upstream from here, there are some small rock ledges and such, and Silver Creek is on the right, but has been blocked by deadfall pretty quickly the few times I’ve been there. Don’t remember much other scenery. You’ll run into the Nicholasville Water intake in 4.8 miles from the ramp, which is a good place to turn around, and you should get 10 miles in easily with a jaunt up Silver Creek. You might consider using the ramp across the river. Its a nicer ramp with good parking. Its on Poosey Ridge Rd in Madison County. Its just a long drive to get there.