- Slate Creek
Slate Creek, KY
Blue Water Trail
Bath County was once a center of iron production in Kentucky and produced a great percentage of the iron smelted west of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the early years of Kentucky statehood.
Jacob Meyers left Pennsylvania in 1782 to search for iron ore deposits in the wilderness of Kentucky. He eventually held nearly 10,000 acres along Slate and Mill Creeks and began construction of an iron furnace in 1791.
The Bourbon Furnace, also called the Old Slate Furnace, used local ores to produce kettles, plowshares, nails and cookware of such quality that the U.S. Navy contracted the furnace to produce cannonballs. Many made their way down river to New Orleans during the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson fired cannonballs produced by this furnace during his victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans.
Bourbon Furnace still stands sentinel along the banks of Slate Creek and the public park around it serves as an excellent access point for floats on the stream. Slate Creek flows through the heart of scenic Bath County, where the Outer Bluegrass Region meets the Cumberland Plateau. Several floats on Slate Creek showcase this incredibly scenic and overlooked corner of Kentucky.
The best water flows for Slate Creek are between 75 and 200 cubic feet per second (cfs). Consult the Slate Creek Gauge on the U.S. Geological Survey’s stream flow webpage at http://waterdata.usgs.gov. David Baker, stream biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, sees smallmouth bass up to 17 ½ inches and largemouth bass over 18 inches in Slate Creek during population monitoring. The biologists rate the rock bass population as excellent. (KYFWR)