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Difficulty I-II
Length 23.5 Miles
Flow Range 200 - 1000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 179 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 01/29/2010 8:57 pm

River Description


The scenic beauty of Harlan County and the cool fresh water beats anything. Whitewater paddling here in the Cumberland Plateau Mountains is a great experience. The Poor Fork snakes through the valley of Pine and Black mountains. This section of the Cumberland offers many scenic vistas and natural beauties. A diversity of wildlife is also apparent along the trip, from Great Blue Herons to turtles soaking up rays on a riverside log. You are bound to experience something new along this stretch of river. Make sure to bring your camera a binoculars. This river is for every skill level, only occasional shoals and small rapids dot your journey on this scenic trip. Also the Poor Fork boasts great smallmouth bass fishing, among many other species, so don't forget you fishing gear.

    There are a couple of hotels in Harlan if you want to spend a night. Also the Harlan County Campground Is conveniently located about halfway through the run. If you make reservations in advance you're all set.  If you hurry you can run this stretch in a day, but why not make it an overnighter, so go ahead and pack your camp stove.


 Getting a good workout and a chance to spend some time outdoors will have you coming back for more. There are not  many better stretches to paddle along the Poor Fork than the Cumberland to Harlan stretch.


For more information, see Canoeing & Kayaking Guide to KY

Rapid Descriptions


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Jake boggs
11 years ago

There are a few log jams on this section of the cumberland. One is in cumberland underneath a small condemned bridge. the entire river left side of this bridge is blocked by large logs and debris. The river right side has a couple routs. One is to the far right but at runnable levels there a tree branches hanging right over this passage. My favorite run is just right of the center collumn. There is a small slide with a hole right above a 4 to 5 foot vertical drop that has a hydraulic can get sticky at some levels. The other log jam is closer to harlan at the low water dam in putney. This bridge might need to be portaged at higher levels. There is great mountain scenery along this run.

Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description

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Jake boggs


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1197176 01/29/10 Jake boggs
1197177 01/29/10 Jake boggs
1190454 03/19/02 n/a n/a
1196906 01/29/10 Jake boggs