Red River Gorge

Posted by Spalding Hurst

October 21, 2006

• Level: 150cfs
Red River Near Hazel Green


On this Saturday Jay and I finally made our long awaited run down the Red River Gorge. We were the only paddlers on this stretch this day as the level was a bit on the low side. But for our fist run this just what we wanted. A low level, so we could test the gorge and see what it is all about. And beauty is what it’s all about.

This certainly is a scenic run and you can see it in the pictures. But I can also see how the difficulty of this run increases dramatically as the water rises.

The drive to the put in and time for setting up the shuttle is long. There is a designated put-in just a mile up stream from 746. The first 3 to 4 miles are easy class I rapids. The scenery through all of it is awesome. Especially when you come upon a huge rock amphitheater. At this point you are getting lose to the first real rapids.


I would call everything a III- or II+ at our level Saturday. Around mile 4 the first rapid, Entrance Rapid, is encountered. No problems here. After that is more flat class I water. The next is the falls, a river wide ledge, the center looks to be the best route at higher water. After that is even more flater water. We were starting to wonder if there would even be any more rapids, but soon they came.

Next you really enter the gorge as the walls tighten and bigger boulders lie in the river. The rapids come one after the other now and these could be mean at high water, but at our level they were no problem. You do how ever have to watch out for trees at all times. I accidentally rolled in some squirly water right undera tree I was trying to avoid.

Once you start seeing hikers and campers you know you are getting closer to the park. There are some more class II rapids then some flat water and the bridge at 715.

The run is 10.8 miles and it took us 4 hours to paddle it. We left home at 8am and were home by 8pm. You gotta love those home court whitewater runs. I sure do and I especially love this one. This may make a perfect overnight trip with some experienced paddlers when the water is just right.

I have been eyeing the gorge for 2 years. Hopefully it won’t be that long until I’m back.


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