Camp Nelson Ramp

A privately owned fee ramp ($5 per canoe or kayak in 2016) in Garrard County allows access to the upper part of Pool 7 on the Kentucky River. Pool 7 contains the most spectacular palisades on the river.

Note: Some years this ramp is not cleaned, which means it is incredibly muddy.

Safety Considerations: Check river levels before attempting to paddle the Kentucky River. Always wear a properly sized PFD/life jacket. Bring drinking water, sunscreen, and sunglasses.

Activities:   canoeing      Facilities: None  

Facility and Trail Map


▬▬ Downstream canoeing ModerateModerate 8 miles to Candlestick/Chimney Rock and back

11 miles out and back to see most palisades

18 miles one way to High Bridge Ramp

▬▬ Upstream canoeing ModerateModerate 8 miles to Dam 8 and back

Trail Descriptions

Downstream: Spectacular palisades abound in the first 5.5 miles (11 miles round trip). Candlestick (or Chimney) Rock, a famous landmark since the days of paddlewheelers is 4 miles out (8 miles round trip). Jessamine Creek is about 8.5 miles out, and if you set up a shuttle, you can go all the way to the High Bridge Ramp for 18 miles total. Once away from the Camp Nelson area, this a very remote section of river with no houses or other river access until you get around the High Bridge area.

Upstream: Easy paddle up to Dam 8 with short side trip on Hickman Creek.


From Nicholasville, take US 27 south into Garrard Country. Turn left on Old Lexington Rd at the Shell station at the top of the hill. Ramp parking is directly under the US 27 bridge. The steel bridge on the Old Lexington to Danville Rd is not open to vehicles.

Google Maps Driving Directions

For More Information

Kentucky River Level in Pool 7

Kentucky River Navigation Charts (Ramp is on Chart 19)