This section of Gasper River features rock walls on alternating banks that creates a mini-gorge in the middle of farm country. The mini-gorge is roughly a mile long and consists of serveral wave trains with moving pools of flatwater in-between. There are numerous catch-on-the-fly surfing waves. The remaining 1.75 miles are flat with some current. If you live in the Bowling Green area this is a great quick fix of whitewater.
Watch this video of Retreat Rapid at 2.5 ft on 3-2-11 by S. Truman
The putin only has room for three to four cars max. Do not park in front of the metal stake in the ground. It marks the private property line and the land owner is notorious for hassling boaters.
Recreational flat water boaters beware! If the putin rapid looks like it pushes the limits of your paddling ability don't putin. Chances are you are going to swim at least once downstream. For everyone else this is a straight forward wave train.
Shortly after the putin rapid the river will bend to the right. Immediately after this bend eddy out to surf. Depending on the level there will be one or two surfing waves.
This is the longest and most defined wave train on the run. Look for a wave/hole located left of center about 2/3rds the way down the rapid. Depending on the river level you can eddy out and surf or catch it on the fly. The rapid is named after the Catholic Retreat Center located on river left.
Shortly after Retreat rapid the river takes a sharp left hand turn. This is Barking Dog rapid. Look for a small catch on the fly play hole in the center of the river.
After Barking Dog rapid the river slowly mends its way back and forth through farm country until the takeout.
There is a large parking area on the side of the road. Please pull into the area turn around and park next to the road barrier so that other boats do not get blocked in.
Washed out above 2-1/2' , but very exciting at 4-1/2'. Just above the "surf wave", a large rock in center creates a good hole for play. Large wave trains to the Retreat section. Along the Retreat a few holes are created, with one substancial wave about 1/4 of the way through this section. Very Good Play and recommended at this level. Another takeout is just below the Retreat section where the river makes a hard left turn @ "the hillbilly hottub" which was created by locals for lower level enjoyment. At the top of the hill is a gentleman that is glad to help out. He doesn't ask, but cash is always accepted! Please be kind and don't leave any trash!
HWY 626 Left Bridge Pilling
Minimum Level: 1.2 ft Bare minimum
Optimum Level: 2.5 - 3 ft Over 3ft the river turns into wavetrains and standing waves
Wash Out Level: 6 ft This is approximate. There is not enought gradient to stop a washout of the rapids.
It takes a heavy rain to get the Gasper to run. Typically the water will hold for a day or two.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Takeout: Park at the turnoff just before the Morgantown Rd bridge
Putin: There is only room for three to four cars on the shoulder of the road next to the KY 626 bridge
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