Spotlight Trail of the Week – Camp Nelson Ramp

Candlestick Rock
Candlestick (Chimney) Rock

The paddle downstream from the Camp Nelson Ramp is one of my favorites. There are a couple of paddles bordering Jessamine County that have scenery as good as this area, but I like that once you’ve left the Camp Nelson area, you don’t see any development at all, and there are very few boats ever in this stretch. In about 5.5 miles, you pass through about the best palisades in any part of the river. Each more spectacular than the last. Once a year, I used to try to organize an 18 mile advanced paddle from Camp Nelson down to High Bridge. One of the great day trips in the whole state.

Upstream is a nice paddle to dam 8, and you can take a side trip up Hickman Creek a little distance.

Unfortunately, this ramp has not been maintained for a couple of years, and there has been an imposing bank of mud at the bottom of it. I’ve heard rumors that they may be cleaning it again this past fall, but I have yet to get a first-hand eyewitness confirmation of that. Now that the river has come back up recently, we’ll have to wait until it goes back down later in the spring to see if they are truly maintaining it again. If you have any information about the state of the ramp, please let us know.

– Don Perkins


  1. I couldn’t agree more. The scenery is as good as it gets in this pool of the KY River. But the best ramp is in Woodford County! There should be some attention given to this stretch, but it does remain virtually untouched and thus in its natural state. A rare opportunity is here for everyone wishing to see KY nature at its best.
    In early Summer I intend to attempt to launch a fishing boat on the ramp, and will report back any issues.


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