Recreation on Green River and Nolin River

Waters of the Green River
The waters of the Green River live up to their name.

Learn and Explore

Over 30 miles of the Green and Nolin Rivers trace through the park and offer a wealth of recreational opportunities. Angle for muskellunge, bluegill, catfish, bass, perch, crappie, and other game fish. Canoe or kayak the rivers looking for wildlife, springs and river bluffs. Camp on islands or in the floodplain, or by the river at the Houchin Ferry Campground.

For additional information on river recreation inside Mammoth Cave National Park check out the links on the right:


River Safety

Safety requires good planning and common sense. Please follow these safety regulations:
  • Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs/life jacket) are required on rivers inside of Mammoth Cave National Park. It is important that your PFD is properly fitted and U.S. Coast Guard approved.
  • Alcohol is prohibited on the rivers inside Mammoth Cave National Park. Don’t drink or use drugs – Alcohol and drugs impact your judgement and coordination. Operating a vessel (boat, kayak, etc.) while under the influence is illegal.
  • River hazards exist, please be alert for fallen trees, submerged trees and rocks, drifting debris and swift current.
  • Always check the river level and weather forecast before launching. The current river level can be found on the USGS website by clicking here. Current weather forecast can be found at
  • Beware of all motorized vessels.
  • The river is a dynamic system which changes constantly. Expect the unexpected; conditions can change quickly. Watch for these changes and take immediate action to reach safety.
  • Do not exceed your skill level. If you are new to canoeing/kayaking, stay close to your launch area and paddle with an experienced acquaintance. Be capable of re-entering your watercraft.
  • NOTE: should an emergency arise, help is NOT a phone call away. Cell phone service is limited inside Mammoth Cave National Park. Even if you are able to get a 911 call out, help can still be at least 45-90 minutes or longer away. For Non-Emergency Law Enforcement Assistance dial: (270) 597-2729.

Safety Considerations Around Green River Ferry

One large auto ferry operates on the Green River at River Mile 197. This vessel lacks clear visibility and the ability to stop quickly. It can easily swamp a canoe. In a mishap, the risk of being pulled under this vessel by the current exists. This launching and retrieving site can be quite congested. Extreme caution should be used when approaching the ferry.

  • When you encounter this vessel, stay back at the safest distance possible.
  • Make sure that the ferry operator has made eye contact with you prior to your getting close to the ferry.
  • Always paddle with the current past the ramp before turning your canoe and approaching the ramp from the downstream side.
  • Canoes should never be docked upriver of the ferry to avoid the risk of being pulled under this vessel.
  • Once you have safely landed at the ramp, immediately carry your canoe up the incline to the designated storage area.
  • The ferry cannot approach the ramp until the area is completely clear, nor can other visitors launch or land their vessels until you and your equipment are safely out of the area.
  • Vehicles are waiting to use the ferry to cross the river – don’t unnecessarily delay them.

Last updated: August 19, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259-0007


(270) 758-2180

Contact Us