Kentucky Tourism
Back to Lakes & Rivers

Ohio River



About

The Ohio River marks Kentucky's northern border with Ohio, Indiana and Illinois (more than 600 miles).

In his Notes on the State of Virginia published in 1781-82, Thomas Jefferson stated: "The Ohio is the most beautiful river on earth. Its current gentle, waters clear, and bosom smooth and unbroken by rocks and rapids, a single instance only excepted."  That one exception is the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville, Kentucky.  The falls is a 2.2-mile-long limestone rapids where the river drops 23.9 feet. Canalization around the rapids was completed in 1830, ensuring navigability.

Five major Kentucky cities lie on the Ohio:  Ashland, Covington, Louisville, Owensboro, and Paducah.