Warning: Road Ends At Water's Edge

Driving through Mammoth Cave National Park, you'll notice some beautiful terrain, and some interesting means of crossing the Green River. The Green River Ferry is one of two operating ferries in the park, and these two are some of the few operating rural ferries in existence today.

I can only imagine approaching this spot on a dark, icy night and not being able to stop before the water's edge.

Green River Ferry

Relocated to this site in 1934, the ferry provides transport to park visitors as well as local citizens. This crossing is the most direct route for citizens living north of the park to travel to points south of the park and vice versa.

The ferry is propelled by a waterwheel, much the same as old riverboats. Two overhead cables span the river - one on each side, about 20 feet above the water. Four smaller cables connect the boat to these overhead cables, keeping the ferry in line with the road and preventing it from floating downstream.

Each crossing takes approximately one minute from bank to bank. Two cars or one RV are able to ride at a time. Over 90,000 vehicles are transported across the river each year.

During high water periods, the ferries are shut down, forcing traffic to use alternate routes to get to the other side of Mammoth Cave National Park. These alternate routes add as much as 40 miles to the drive.

A recent study by the National Park Service has indicated that while some minor improvements to the approach of the Green River Ferry would improve service, the ferry itself posed "No significant impact" on the environment. So it seems, for the time being at least, a permanent bridge will not replace this small piece of history.

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