Class II South Fork Licking River, KY

Blue Water Trail (Lair Boating Access to Berry Dam Boating Access)

The pioneers settling along the verdant South Fork of Licking River in what is now Harrison County had a tenuous hold on their lands in 1780. The privations of carving crude civilization out of wilderness, the threat of attack by enraged Shawnee or their ilk, in addition to the whirlwind of the western theater of the Revolutionary War, all combined for a tough life. A threat emanating from the north in the early summer of that year would eventually bring terror to this corner of the world. British Capt. Henry Bird and his Native American allies moved south from Detroit, crossed the Ohio River and moved into central Kentucky, via the Licking River system. A number of families, many of them Pennsylvania German, lived along the South Fork of Licking River in Ruddle’s Station, near what is now Lair, Kentucky. Capt. Bird brought cannons with him and quickly blasted holes in the wooden fort, leading to its quick surrender. The invaders also took nearby Martin’s Station in Bourbon County and marched most of the captives from both forts to Detroit, where they remained prisoners until the end of the war. Two floats on the South Fork of Licking River give a modern Kentuckian an understanding why the pioneers braved such challenges to settle this pastoral and rich river valley. The canopy that envelopes much of the river provides spectacular scenery as the autumn colors reach their zenith. The gentle flow of the South Licking in fall makes a perfect autumn paddling destination, suitable for families and beginners. The river also holds a bountiful population of smallmouth and rock bass as well as largemouth bass and crappie in the impounded sections. (KYFWR)

Section Details

Trip Length One Night, 29.9 Miles
Fishing Yes
Camping No
Manager State, Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources
Wild & Scenic No
Water Trail Yes
Partner Information