For many years, when I would think about whitewater rafting, kayaking, or canoeing, my mind would turn to the western United States. Think the Colorado River or the Snake River. Several of my cousins HAVE gone rafting on the Snake. I was jealous.

But the Rockies and points west aren't the only locations where you can ride the rapids. In Kentucky, there are plenty of opportunities. But there's one river that tends to get overlooked in those discussions, and that may be because of its remote location.

Rockcastle River is a nearly 55-mile-long river that runs primarily through Rockcastle County, as you might expect, but is source is in Jackson County. Part of the Daniel Boone National Forest, the river--and presumably the county--got its name from some mind-blowing cliffs that tower over the river. I can see where one would think they look like "rock castles." Here's a closer look from some hikers who have revealed--at least to me--a part of Kentucky I never knew existed.

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Services has designated a 15.9-mile-long stretch of Rockcastle River as a Kentucky Wild River as you saw above. The agency also has a handy guide for anyone planning to navigate their way to the river.

You know, it's interesting. As far as I'm concerned, the rapids of Rockcastle River truly ARE a hidden gem, but there's so much to do and learn about in the area. For example, in the Pulaski County portion of the river, you'll find a wildlife management area which you can visit. But there are certain restrictions.

But I'd imagine those rapids truly ARE the main attraction here, but they don't exactly look like they're cut out for a novice:

There's still so much time left this summer, and you have gaps in your schedule and need to fill them with something fun and exciting, may I suggest Rockcastle River?

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at

More From WBKR-FM