Rockcastle River watershed

About the Rockcastle watershed

Drainage Area

765 square miles

Notable Tributaries

  • Cane Creek
  • Rockcastle River


  • Clay County, KY
  • Jackson County, KY
  • Laurel County, KY
  • Madison County, KY
  • Pulaski County, KY
  • Rockcastle County, KY

The Rockcastle watershed contains a mix of mountain peaks, rolling highlands, valleys, and slow moving streams typical of the Cumberland Plateau along with the steeper hills and hollows, cliffs, and fast flowing streams of the Plateau Escarpment.

Sections of the Rockcastle are protected under the state of Kentucky’s Wild Rivers Program and the river has been recognized with an Outstanding National Resource Waters designation.  The river’s beautiful, clean waters attract skillful paddlers and anglers alike.  

Within the watersheds, laurel dace find refuge in the slow moving pools of headwater streams, while the lavender flowers of Cumberland rosemary blossom on sandbars and gravelly banks. Forests here are richly diverse and a high percentage of the watershed is protected by the Daniel Boone National Forest. The Rockcastle watershed contains more agricultural land than most Appalachian watersheds in the region – pasturelands occur primarily atop the Cumberland Plateau, east of the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Parks in this watershed

Explore the Rockcastle watershed