Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway In Kentucky

Here is everything you need to know about the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway:

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Kentucky
  • Length: 36 miles.
  • Type: Water trail.
  • Surface: The type of surface for the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway is predominantly water.
  • Managed By: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Permit Required?: No
  • Website:

The Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway holds a rich historical significance that dates back centuries. The Green River, located in the southern United States, was first explored by European settlers in the late 18th century. It played a crucial role in the westward expansion of the country, serving as a major transportation route for pioneers and traders. The river was named after its vibrant green color, caused by the presence of algae and limestone deposits.

During the early 19th century, the Green River became a vital artery for the booming steamboat industry. Steamboats transported goods and people along the river, connecting remote communities and facilitating trade. The riverbanks flourished with bustling towns and settlements, as the steamboat traffic brought economic prosperity to the region.

The Nolin River, a tributary of the Green River, also played a significant role in the area’s history. Native American tribes, such as the Shawnee and Cherokee, inhabited the Nolin River Valley long before European settlers arrived. The river provided them with a reliable water source and abundant wildlife for sustenance.

In the early 1800s, the Nolin River became a crucial resource for the burgeoning iron industry. Iron furnaces were established along its banks, utilizing the river’s water power to operate the machinery. These furnaces produced iron for various purposes, including weaponry during the Civil War.

Today, the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway stands as a testament to the historical importance of these waterways. It not only preserves the natural beauty of the rivers but also serves as a reminder of the region’s rich heritage and the pivotal role these rivers played in shaping the communities along their banks.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Green River Lake State Park: Located in Campbellsville, Kentucky, this state park offers multiple access points to the Green River Blueway. Visitors can launch their kayaks or canoes from the park’s boat ramps and explore the scenic river.

2. Mammoth Cave National Park: Situated in Cave City, Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park provides access to both the Green and Nolin Rivers. Visitors can access the rivers from various points within the park, including the Green River Ferry and Houchin Ferry.

3. Nolin Lake State Park: Located in Bee Spring, Kentucky, this state park offers access to the Nolin River Blueway. Visitors can launch their watercraft from the park’s boat ramps and enjoy paddling along the river.

4. Brownsville Boat Ramp: Situated in Brownsville, Kentucky, this boat ramp provides access to the Green River Blueway. It is a popular starting point for paddlers looking to explore the river.

5. Green River Paddle Trail: This designated paddle trail stretches for approximately 30 miles along the Green River, starting from the Green River Dam and ending at the Green River Lake State Park. It offers multiple access points along the way, including the Green River Ferry and various boat ramps.

6. Nolin River Lake: Located in Edmonson County, Kentucky, Nolin River Lake offers several access points to the Nolin River Blueway. Visitors can launch their watercraft from various boat ramps around the lake and explore the scenic river.

7. Paddle Hard Brewing: Situated in Campbellsville, Kentucky, this brewery and restaurant is located right on the Green River Blueway. Paddlers can start or end their journey at this access point and enjoy some refreshments afterward.

8. Thelma Stovall Park: Located in Munfordville, Kentucky, this park provides access to the Green River Blueway. It features a boat ramp where visitors can launch their watercraft and explore the river.

9. Green River Ferry: This ferry service operates within Mammoth Cave National Park and provides access to both the Green and Nolin Rivers. Paddlers can use the ferry to cross the river and continue their journey along the blueway.

10. Houchin Ferry: Another ferry service within Mammoth Cave National Park, the Houchin Ferry offers access to both the Green and Nolin Rivers. Paddlers can utilize the ferry to cross the river and continue their exploration of the blueway.

Transportation Available

1. Green River Ferry – A ferry service that provides transportation across the Green River.
2. Nolin River Taxi – A taxi service that offers transportation along the Nolin River.
3. Green River Canoe Shuttle – A shuttle service for canoeists and kayakers along the Green River.
4. Nolin River Shuttle – A shuttle service for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore the Nolin River.
5. Green River Bike Rentals – Bike rental service for exploring the Green River area.
6. Nolin River Boat Tours – Boat tours along the scenic Nolin River.
7. Green River Paddleboard Rentals – Paddleboard rental service for enjoying the Green River.
8. Nolin River Kayak Rentals – Kayak rental service for exploring the Nolin River.
9. Green River Rafting Adventures – Rafting tours and rentals on the Green River.
10. Nolin River Fishing Charters – Fishing charter service for anglers on the Nolin River.


The amenities available at the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway may vary depending on the specific location along the rivers. However, here are some common amenities that can be found along the Blueway:

1. Restrooms: Some sections of the Blueway may have restroom facilities available for public use. These can be found at designated access points, parks, or campgrounds.

2. Parking: There are parking areas provided at various access points along the Blueway. These parking lots allow visitors to park their vehicles while they enjoy activities such as kayaking, canoeing, or fishing.

3. Camping Sites: Along the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway, there are designated camping sites available for overnight stays. These sites may have amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables, and access to restroom facilities.

4. Picnic Areas: Many sections of the Blueway offer picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a meal or snack while taking in the scenic views. These areas often have picnic tables, grills, and trash receptacles.

5. Boat Ramps: The Blueway provides boat ramps for easy access to the rivers. These ramps allow boaters to launch their watercraft and explore the waterways.

6. Fishing Access: Anglers can find designated fishing access points along the Blueway. These areas provide easy access to the rivers for fishing enthusiasts.

7. Trails: Some sections of the Blueway may have hiking or biking trails that run alongside the rivers. These trails offer opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration.

8. Wildlife Viewing Areas: The Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway is known for its diverse wildlife. Some areas may have designated wildlife viewing spots where visitors can observe birds, mammals, and other creatures in their natural habitat.

It is recommended to check with local authorities or visit the official website of the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway for specific information on amenities available at different locations along the Blueway.

Nearby Services

1. Green River Lodge – Cozy lodging option near the Green River, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.
2. Nolin Lake State Park – Offers camping, cabins, and a variety of recreational activities near Nolin River.
3. Mammoth Cave Hotel – Located near the Green River, this hotel provides comfortable accommodations for visitors exploring Mammoth Cave National Park.
4. River’s Edge Restaurant – Waterfront dining experience with delicious food and scenic views of the Green River.
5. Nolin River Lake Marina – Provides boat rentals, fishing supplies, and a small convenience store near Nolin River Lake.
6. Green River Marina – Full-service marina offering boat rentals, fuel, and a restaurant on the Green River.
7. Cave City Fire Department – Emergency services available for Cave City and surrounding areas.
8. Munfordville Police Department – Local police department serving Munfordville and nearby communities.
9. Hart County Hospital – Medical facility providing emergency services and healthcare in the region.
10. Edmonson County Sheriff’s Office – Law enforcement agency serving Edmonson County and its residents.

Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway Difficulty Notes

The Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway offers a moderate difficulty level for outdoor enthusiasts. With its calm stretches and occasional rapids, it provides a balanced experience for both beginners and experienced paddlers. The rivers’ flow can vary depending on rainfall, making it important to check water levels before embarking on a trip. While some sections may require basic paddling skills to navigate around obstacles, the Blueway also offers opportunities for leisurely floats and scenic exploration. Overall, the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway presents a manageable challenge that caters to a wide range of skill levels, ensuring an enjoyable and rewarding adventure for all who embark on it.

Features And Attractions

1. Mammoth Cave National Park: Located along the Green River, Mammoth Cave National Park is home to the world’s longest known cave system. Visitors can explore the underground wonders and enjoy the scenic beauty of the surrounding area.

2. Green River Lake State Park: This state park offers a variety of recreational activities, including boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. The lake provides stunning views and opportunities for water-based adventures.

3. Nolin Lake State Park: Situated along the Nolin River, this state park offers similar recreational activities as Green River Lake State Park. Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, camping, and hiking while taking in the natural beauty of the area.

4. Green River Ferry: The Green River Ferry is a historic cable ferry that transports vehicles across the Green River. It provides a unique and scenic way to cross the river and is a popular attraction for visitors.

5. Green River Lake Wildlife Management Area: This area is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers. It offers opportunities for birdwatching, wildlife photography, and hiking through its diverse habitats.

6. Nolin River Lake: Nolin River Lake is a reservoir along the Nolin River that offers stunning views and recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and camping. The lake is surrounded by beautiful forests and rolling hills.

7. Cub Run Cave: Located near the Nolin River, Cub Run Cave is a privately owned cave system that offers guided tours. Visitors can explore the underground chambers and learn about the cave’s geological formations.

8. Green River Bluffs: These scenic bluffs overlook the Green River and provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Hiking trails allow visitors to explore the area and enjoy the natural beauty.

9. Nolin River Wildlife Management Area: This area is another great spot for wildlife enthusiasts. It offers opportunities for hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation. The diverse habitats support a wide range of plant and animal species.

10. Green River Lake Wildlife Viewing Area: This designated area provides excellent opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation. Visitors can spot a variety of bird species and other wildlife in their natural habitats.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be found along the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway. Exploring this area will provide a rich and diverse experience for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

Usage Guidelines

1. Pets are allowed on the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway but must be kept on a leash at all times.
2. Please clean up after your pets and dispose of waste properly.
3. Camping is allowed in designated areas only. Check with local authorities for specific camping regulations.
4. Fires are permitted only in designated fire rings or grills. Do not leave fires unattended and ensure they are completely extinguished before leaving.
5. Fishing is allowed in accordance with state fishing regulations. Obtain the necessary permits and licenses before fishing.
6. Hunting is not permitted on the Blueway.
7. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the Blueway, except for authorized vehicles for maintenance purposes.
8. Respect private property and do not trespass on private land along the Blueway.
9. Leave no trace: Pack out all trash and dispose of it properly.
10. Be aware of seasonal restrictions, such as closures during certain times of the year for wildlife protection or maintenance activities. Check with local authorities for any current restrictions.
11. Practice safe boating and water activities. Wear appropriate safety gear and follow all boating regulations.
12. Be respectful of other users of the Blueway, including other boaters, anglers, and campers.
13. Follow all posted signs and regulations along the Blueway.
14. Report any suspicious or illegal activities to local authorities.
15. Enjoy and appreciate the natural beauty of the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway while minimizing your impact on the environment.

Seasonal Information

The Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway is a stunning destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of recreational activities such as kayaking, fishing, and hiking. The best times of the year to visit the Blueway are during the spring and fall seasons. In the spring, the rivers come alive with vibrant foliage and blooming wildflowers, creating a picturesque backdrop for your adventures. The weather is generally mild, making it ideal for paddling and exploring the surrounding trails. Fall is equally beautiful, with the changing colors of the leaves painting the landscape in shades of red, orange, and gold. The cooler temperatures make it a pleasant time to enjoy the Blueway without the summer crowds.

It’s important to note that the Blueway may have seasonal closures or restrictions in certain areas. During the winter months, some sections of the rivers may be closed due to freezing temperatures or hazardous conditions. It’s always a good idea to check with local authorities or the Blueway management before planning your trip to ensure that your desired routes are open and accessible. Additionally, heavy rainfall can cause the rivers to rise rapidly, leading to temporary closures for safety reasons. Staying informed about weather conditions and river levels is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the Blueway.

Despite these seasonal closures, the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway offers year-round opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether you prefer the vibrant colors of spring and fall or the solitude of winter, there is always something to discover and enjoy along the Blueway. So pack your gear, plan your visit accordingly, and get ready to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and tranquility of the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway.


1. Wheelchair Accessible Trails: The Blueway offers several trails that are designed to be accessible for wheelchair users, providing a smooth and level surface for easy navigation.
2. Accessible Boat Launches: ADA-compliant boat launches are available, allowing individuals with disabilities to easily access the water and enjoy boating activities.
3. Accessible Fishing Piers: The Blueway features fishing piers that are designed to accommodate wheelchair users, providing an accessible and safe space for fishing.
4. Accessible Restrooms: ADA-compliant restrooms are available along the Blueway, ensuring that individuals with disabilities have access to clean and accessible facilities.
5. Accessible Picnic Areas: The Blueway provides accessible picnic areas equipped with tables and facilities that are designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities.
6. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available throughout the Blueway, ensuring convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
7. Accessible Informational Signage: The Blueway features informational signage that is designed to be accessible for individuals with disabilities, providing important information about the area.
8. Accessible Campsites: ADA-compliant campsites are available along the Blueway, providing accessible facilities and amenities for individuals with disabilities who wish to camp.
9. Accessible Visitor Centers: The Blueway offers visitor centers that are designed to be accessible for individuals with disabilities, providing information and assistance.
10. Accessible Water Activities: Various water activities, such as kayaking or canoeing, are made accessible through the provision of adaptive equipment and assistance for individuals with disabilities.

Safety Information

When visiting the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway, it is important to keep the following safety information in mind:

1. Wear a life jacket: Always wear a properly fitted life jacket when on or near the water. Even if you are a strong swimmer, unexpected accidents can occur, and a life jacket can save your life.

2. Check weather conditions: Before heading out, check the weather forecast and be aware of any potential storms or severe weather conditions. Avoid going out on the water during thunderstorms or high winds.

3. Be aware of river conditions: Understand the current water conditions, such as water levels, flow rates, and any potential hazards. Rapid changes in water levels can occur due to dam releases or heavy rainfall, so stay informed and adjust your plans accordingly.

4. Know your limits: Only participate in activities that you are physically capable of handling. If you are new to kayaking, canoeing, or any other water activity, start with calm and slow-moving sections of the river before attempting more challenging areas.

5. Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun: Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially during hot summer days. Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and use protective clothing to shield yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.

6. Be cautious of wildlife: The Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway is home to various wildlife species. Respect their natural habitat and keep a safe distance. Avoid feeding or approaching wild animals, as they can become aggressive if they feel threatened.

7. Plan your trip and inform others: Before embarking on your journey, let someone know about your plans, including your expected route and estimated return time. This way, if something goes wrong, help can be sent to the right location.

8. Bring necessary equipment: Carry essential safety equipment, such as a whistle, flashlight, first aid kit, and a waterproof bag for storing personal belongings. Additionally, bring a map or GPS device to navigate the blueway effectively.

9. Stay alert and avoid distractions: Pay attention to your surroundings and avoid distractions like using your phone while on the water. Being aware of your surroundings can help you avoid potential hazards and react quickly if needed.

10. Respect private property and follow regulations: Be mindful of private property along the river and respect the rights of landowners. Follow all rules and regulations set by the managing authorities of the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway.

Remember, safety should always be a priority when enjoying outdoor activities. By following these guidelines, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while visiting the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway.

Conservation Notes

The Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway is a significant waterway system located in Kentucky, United States. In terms of conservation status, both rivers are considered to be in relatively good condition. The Green River, spanning approximately 384 miles, is recognized as one of the most biologically diverse rivers in the eastern United States. It supports a wide range of aquatic species, including several rare and endangered ones. Efforts have been made to protect and conserve the unique biodiversity of the Green River, resulting in its designation as a National Wild and Scenic River.

Similarly, the Nolin River, with a length of around 104 miles, is also known for its ecological importance. It flows through a diverse landscape, including forests, wetlands, and limestone cliffs, providing habitat for numerous plant and animal species. The Nolin River is home to several rare and sensitive species, such as the Eastern Hellbender, a large aquatic salamander. Conservation initiatives have been implemented to safeguard the Nolin River’s natural resources, including the establishment of protected areas and the promotion of responsible recreational activities.

Overall, the conservation status of the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway is relatively positive. However, ongoing efforts are necessary to ensure the long-term preservation of these rivers and their associated ecosystems. Continued monitoring, habitat restoration, and public education are crucial for maintaining the ecological integrity of the Green and Nolin Rivers Blueway and protecting the diverse array of species that depend on these waterways.

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