Difficulty II(III)
Length 5.1 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 05/09/2019 7:08 pm

River Description

Mark Miller contributed:

The Benson is one awesome play stream. The put in is above or below the falls. The rule of thumb here is to not be center while running the drop or you will find a nasty hole just waiting to rip you out of you boat. There are 3 possible lines. At high water you can run off the left side of the falls and at low levels you can start center and move left. Or try the river right line by hugging the bank right at the lip. Missing the line could result in some carnage so have you game face on for this line. Scout the falls.

About a half mile down the run you will find a riverwide playhole. At high levels righty cartwheels are possible. After the hole you will come to a long pool and what looks like a dead end at an island. It is best to run down the first chute to the right as you will encounter much less wood. Your next rapid will be the dam and is usually run off the river right edge, avoiding the hole at the base of the dam. This hole is also a very good but shallow playspot. At high levels things get dynamic but most rides consist of blunts and spins. Go vertical here and you will tag bottom for sure.

Following the dam is the most dangerous rapid on the creek. You will come to a ledge that has a hydraulic spanning most of the creek. Run this ledge left-of-center down the big tongue. After making this move, stay left and avoid the next big hole in the center of the rapid. Be ready to surf because you are almost right on top of the wave after missing the second hole. This playspot is named the park and surf. If park and surf is your pleasure you can get to this wave by driving up Benson Valley Road. Some people choose to take out at the park and surf but I usually take out at the boat ramp. This makes the run slightly longer and a few rapids, but it adds almost half a mile of flatwater. Have fun and be safe.

For more information, see Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to KY.

Google Map of Benson Creek (courtesy of Bardstown Boaters)

Rapid Descriptions


No Gage

Gage Descriptions

Mark Miller contributed:
It often takes over an inch of rain to make this creek runnable. The minimum level is 2 feet and can be easily read on the river right abutment on the KY 1005 bidge. The maximum level should be your opinion,it has been run as high as 7. Anything above 7 normally turns into a log doging contest.

If you would like to know if it is running e-mail me at mrmbase7@aol.com; ask for my phone number so you can call me.


Aaron Koch provides (2005-04-15):
Franklin AFWS is a link to a rain gauge in the Benson Watershed. If this gauge says more than 1 inch in 24 hrs (summer months may take as much as 3 to 4 inches), the creek should be running. This is the best indicator I have found.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




Matt Muir


Paul Ress


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1190447 02/26/07 n/a n/a
1200685 09/21/11 Paul Ress
1212287 05/09/19 Paul Ress updated image position