The Cumberland River Challenge Canoe & Kayak Race is an annual event, hosted by Union College, U- Canoe and Barbourville Tourism. The race consists of 15 miles of river, ranging from calm water to beginner-level rapids. The race starts on the Knox County line bordering Bell County and finishes in Knox County at the Thompson RV Park. Annual “bragging rights” and awards are presented at the end of the race.
In March of 2017, we joined with The Explorer Kentucky Initiative to add The Cumberland River Challenge to The Kentucky Waterman Series as a points race for it’s competitors. The inaugural season will consist of 12 races on Kentucky waterways from all across the state. Participation is required in 4 races in order to receive a ranking in the series. It will be a great way to introduce our competitors to other paddlers from around the state and share the beauty of our area to individuals who have never viewed the Cumberland.