The Clover Fork is one of my favorite runs, it is where I first learned to paddled whitewater. It is very forgiving at lower levels and is pushy at higher flows. If you paddle the Clover Fork please leave a comment in the comment section, thanks. Its best to do this river the day or next day when the gauge rises, the flow will decrease after a couple days even if the gauge is at the same level.There is a small place to park a couple cars at the put-in, on the side of the road. The people who live across the street have been very friendly in the past so please be respectful to their neighborhood. From the parking space the river is only 20 yards down a wooded area. Usually there is a sandy spot to shove off. The First rapids is Whitfield Shoals (II). This shoal is about 100 yards long with small waves and holes. At higher levels the put-in is back further in the tree line and the shoals get more choppy with a few offset holes. After the shoals, a wave train will lead you into the next rapid.Bounce the Baby (II). This is a rocky slide type rapid that can be run anywhere. The best lines are river right, down a wave train, or river left, a more technical rocky line. Watch out for tree limbs on this one.After Bounce the Baby there are two miniscule shoals before the entrance to the tunnel. In (II). This rapid leads you directly into the far right tunnel. Once you commit to this rapid there is no turning back. Make sure you scout this one for wood, look all the way through the tunnel also. This rapid as similar to Bounce the Baby, but with a surprise play hole in the middle of it.The Tunnel (I). There are four river diversion tunnels that run underneath a spur of black mountain. The three on river left are NOT worth running, due to restricted flow. I only recommend the far river right one. The insides are coated with spray concrete. The bottom is a smooth as silk, due to the poured concrete slabs that run the entire 1/4 mile length. They are roughly 30'x30'. No rapids occur inside of the tunnel. Only before and after. There is just enough light to see all the way through. The ride in the tunnel is fast (only lasting about one minute) and can be choppy.Directly on the other side of the tunnel is Out II+(III). At lower levels, when not running the whole stretch of the river, this is a great park-n-play. Any playboater can enjoy this 30' wide hole at low to medium levels. At a high flow, Out becomes a large slide, with a small wave at the tip (river right), and a nasty hole on river left. There are usually a few standing waves exiting after the V-shaped slide. A very strong feeder eddy exists, and will pull a boater into the nasty hole. The higher the water the stronger this eddy will be. It is nice at med-low surf level for getting to the hole. When the river right tunnel is at raging V-shape formation, the river left tunnel will have a sticky play hole, great for basic playboating moves, but too shallow for any aerials. The eddies are strong and squirrely. Once you are done, paddle over to the river left bridge pylon and walk up the hill 30 yards to the take out. For the take out you can park on the side of the road, I wouldn't recommend parking on the bridge.
Paddled the clover fork today at 5880 cfs. Out becomes a huge sticky hole comparable to hell hole on the Ocoee. Got surfed a few times but had a great time.
Here is a link to a video of me and Josh Johnson paddling high water on the clover fork. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8J-2__nfN0
Great run... even better park n' play. Pretty ballsy going through the tunnel, but definitely worth it. Some of the best boating in Southeast, KY.
This stretch of the Cumberland does not have a gauge. To get a good estimated flow look at the Martins Fork gauge. The two forks have very similar flows and are both located in Harlan Co. The Higher the Martins Fork gauge reads the better the Clover Fork will be running.
Permits are not required for this reach.
From the take out: Continue driving south on N.Main Street, then turn onto Walnut St. which turns into Cumberland Avenue. Turn west on Mound Street and enter Highway 421. At the second stop light turn left onto Hwy 38. Drive on 38 for a mile or so and turn left onto Maggie Lane. Follow Maggie Lane until you cross the bridge at the put-in. Turn left and park after the bridge.
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!