Cave Dwelling on the Green River

Scouting Kentucky’s Green River, Tourist Traps, Backroads and Other Diversions – Part 3

As if hundreds of miles of mostly unspoiled river weren’t enough, the Green River’s caves add to the charm.

Paddlers won’t get lost in the caves. Not unless they have scuba gear and a death wish. The cave openings accessed from the river aren’t recessed very far into the limestone. But, beneath their blue-green waters, they are connected to the hundreds of miles of caves that are part of the Mammoth Cave labyrinth. As mentioned in the previous post, 400 miles of caves have been documented and it is believed there could be 600 more.

Of the three cave entrances I found during my trip March 30-April 1, only one could be paddled into. The river was running high at the time. It’s possible that more can be seen and explored when the river drops to normal levels.

Regardless, it was an awesome experience — and another reason it was so easy to spend three days on just 20 miles of river.

The caves I found were located between Dennison Ferry and Houchins Ferry, near or downstream from the visitors center. All were on river left. (In paddlers’ jargon, river directions are always based on a downstream orientation. In other words, if you’re paddling upstream, river left is on your right.) The best way to find the caves is to paddle up any side creek you come across.

Here are some photos of the three caves I explored in the order I found them.

I was able to paddle into this cave west of the visitor center.

I was able to paddle into this cave west of the visitor center.

Inside the cave.

Inside the cave. At the right end of the sandbar is an underwater cave opening.

Department of the Interior depth gauge

Department of the Interior depth gauge.

The second cave I explored was near Sand Cave Island.

I had to hike back into this cave.

I had to hike back into this cave.

There are also passageways in the ceiling of this cave.

There are also passageways in the ceiling.

 

The third cave I explored was near Turnhole Bend.

At higher water levels, you could paddle part way into this cave.

At higher water levels, you could paddle part way into this cave.

Interesting pattern formed by the motion of moving water on the sand.

Interesting pattern formed by the motion of moving water on the sand.

cave3a

cave3c

It’s also fun to explore the creeks of the Green River. This one led to Echo River Spring just upstream from the Green River Ferry.

echoriver

Nearer to my takeout point at Houchin Ferry, I explored Buffalo Creek, which required some bushwhacking. It did, indeed, smell like buffalo.

buffalo

Wildlife on Buffalo Creek.

buffalobird

Here is a map showing approximate locations of the caves.

Cavemap09042015

Next: Nolin River and Green River before and after Mammoth Cave National Park

 

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2 thoughts on “Cave Dwelling on the Green River

  1. Cave one location is off on your location arrow. Cave one is located just downriver from the Dennison Ferry put-in. About 1/2 mile down on the left…

    M Bass

    Like

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