Visitors Guide to the
River Ferries
of the Middle Mississippi River Valley
 
The Belle of Calhoun
 one of the Brussels Free Ferries
   




Early American ferries consisted of rafts, rowboats and horse boats that could cross rivers where demand for transportation existed but where there weren’t any easy crossings. The advent of railroads and bridges put most ferries out of business and motorized vessels replaced the earlier forms of transportation of those that survived. For modern travelers, the remaining ferries in operation can save time as well as providing scenic river views. The Middle Mississippi River Valley offers six ferries, two of which travelers can cross free of charge. Four of these ferries are located in the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway area and the others cross the Mississippi River between Ste. Genevieve, Missouri and rural Randolph County, Illinois and Canton. Missouri and Adams County, Illinois.

Note: If you are planning a visit to any of the ferries in the Middle Mississippi Valley and believe the ferries might not be operating due to flood conditions or ice please call the numbers below for current information.

Note: If fees and times are an issue please call ahead to confirm details.

Index to Middle Mississippi River Valley Ferries

Calhoun County
Illinois
  Grafton
Illinois
Canton
Missouri
Ste. Genevieve
Missouri
Dorena,Missouri
Hickman,Kentucky
Calhoun County, Illinois
Calhoun County is a 37-mile long, 5-mile wide piece of land that is the tip of the peninsula formed by the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, and with the exception of its northern border, is surrounded by water. Railroads and bridges never made much headway into the region because of its lack of industrial development, rugged hill country, and proximity to steamboat landings. This has allowed Calhoun County to retain a unique historical charm as well as four ferries to prosper. The ferries close down when the river freezes over or floodwaters are very high. The rivers may freeze when the temperature drops below 32 degrees for an extended period of time with the Illinois River freezing before the Mississippi River.
Calhoun County Free Ferries
The Illinois Department of Transportation operates two free ferries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities
Brussels Free Ferry
618-786-3636
  Located about 1 mile west of Grafton and 4 miles east of Pere Marquette State Park, this ferry crosses the Illinois River linking Route 100 to Calhoun County and the village of Brussels. On busy days, such as weekends in the fall, there are two ferries operating to cut down on the waiting times. The ferries help keep the river free of ice during the winter and the action of their propellers stun fish and help bring them to the surface. These fish become easy prey for Bald Eagles making the Brussels Free Ferry Area one of the prime bald eagle watching spots in the region.

GPS Coordinates (Jersey County Landing)
N  38°  58.074'
W 90°  29.712'
  Parking Picnic Facilities
Kampsville Free Ferry
618-653-4518
  The Kampsville Free Ferry allows easy access to and from Jersey and Green Counties and Calhoun County. South of Kampsville near Hardin the Great River Road splits into an Eastern and Western Branch. Travelers taking the Eastern Branch will follow the original Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway route to the village of Eldred and by following Route 108 West will cross the Illinois River by means of the Kampsville Free Ferry into Kampsville where they will reconnect with the main branch of the Great River Road.

This ferry takes cars from IL-108 from Jersey County into the town of Kampsville where it links up with IL-100 (the Great River Road south) and IL-96 (the Great River Road north)

Calhoun County Toll Ferries
There are two ferries operated by the Calhoun Ferry Company.
Toll fees: Car or pickup truck: $8 one-way or $15 round trip. Motorcycles: $5 one-way or $9 round trip. Bicycles: $4. Foot passengers $3.
Schedule:
Monday - Thursday: 5 am - 9 pm
Friday - Saturday: 5 am - 2 am
Sunday: 8 am - 9 pm
Holidays: 8 am - 9 pm
The Golden Eagle is open until 2 am on Friday and Saturday nights.
Rates and hours subject to change.
  Parking Food Service
     
Golden Eagle Ferry
618-535-5759
  This ferry takes vehicles across the Mississippi River between the small town of Golden Eagle in Calhoun County in Illinois and St. Charles County in Missouri. To reach the Golden Eagle Ferry from Pere Marquette State Park or Grafton, cross the Brussels Ferry and continue on County Road 1 until you see the signs directing you to the ferry. From the Missouri side of the Mississippi River take MO-94 to County Road B north of St. Charles. Take CR-B west to Golden Eagle Ferry Road. Take Golden Eagle Ferry Road to the ferry.
     
  Parking
Winfield Ferry
618-535-5759
  This ferry crossed the Mississippi River near the small town of Batchtown into Lincoln County, Missouri connecting with Route 79. The ferry runs right next to the Sandy Island Bald Eagle Sanctuary & Lock and Dam #25 making it an ideal spot to look for Bald Eagles in the winter. Directions from the Missouri side of the river: From Main Street in the northern part of Winfield take CR N east towards the river to Pillsbury Drive and then Eagle’s Landing Drive to the ferry.
   
Grafton, Illinois
Located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, Grafton has been the quintessential river town since its founding in 1832. The town’s main industry today is tourism and features many antique and specialty shops, places to eat, biking, hiking, and annual events.
  Parking Accessible Food Service
  The Grafton Ferry is open for the season: May 1 - October 31 & the first two weekends in November.
The Grafton Ferry is located on the Illinois side at the foot of Illinois Route 3, just upriver of the Grafton public boat ramp. On the Missouri side, it terminates just off of Grafton Ferry Road alongside the St. Charles County Airport. From there it is a short ride to highway 94 and about 10 miles to the St. Charles city line.
Toll Fees: Car or pickup truck: $8 one-way or $15 round trip. Motorcycles: $5 one-way or $9 round trip. Bicycles: $4. Foot passengers $3.
Schedule:
Monday - Thursday: 6 am - 6 pm
Friday: 6 am - 9 pm
Saturdays: 10 am - 10 pm
Sunday: 8 am - 8 pm
The Grafton Ferry runs every day except when river conditions prevent safe operation.
For more information visit www.thegraftonferry.com
Rates and hours subject to change.
The Grafton Ferry will operate only on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday for the remainder of the 2014 season.

GPS Coordinates
N  38°  57.460'
W 90°  26.145'
   

Location Map for the
Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway Area Ferries
   
Other Ferries operating in the Middle Mississippi River Valley
Canton, Missouri
The ferry at Canton, Missouri is the only means of crossing the Mississippi River between Keokuk, Iowa and Quincy, Illinois.
  Gravel Parking Lot
Canton Ferry
Canton Riverfront
Canton, MO
573-288-3230
  The Canton Ferry is the longest continually operating ferry on the Mississippi having been in service since 1853. The ferry operates south of Lock and Dam #20 between the landing on the Canton Riverfront in Lewis County, Missouri to the landing at Meyer, in Adams County, Illinois. The ferry carries all size vehicles from bicycles to semi trucks. The current ferry was put into operation in 1994. The Canton Ferry runs from 8 am -5 pm during the winter months and 8 am - 7 pm during the summer months. The Canton Ferry is a toll ferry.
    The Missouri Audubon Society maintains a checklist for birds that can be seen near the Canton Ferry.
Ste. Genevieve, Missouri
Ste. Genevieve is in the heart of the French Colonial Country of the Middle Mississippi River Valley. Situated about an hours drive south of St. Louis. Ste. Genevieve offers its visitors a glimpse into the past with the largest concentration of French Colonial architecture in the North America, many of which are open to the public.
  Gravel Parking Lot
Ste. Genevieve-Modoc Ferry
N. Main Street
Ste. Genevieve, MO
  Follow N. Main Street about 1 1/2 miles from the Historic District of Ste. Genevieve to the Little Rock Landing on the Mississippi River. The Modoc Landing is accessible from IL-3 and IL-155 in Randolph County on the Illinois side. The ferry runs during daylight hours approximately every fifteen minutes and a fee is charged. Unsuitable water levels or freezing may cause ferry crossing interruptions. A good way to check the ferry’s status without going to the landing is to visit its website.

GPS Coordinates for the Sainte Genevieve landing
N  38°  00.246'
W 90°  03.554'
Dorena, Missouri - Hickman, Kentucky
The ferry crossing the Mississippi River near the small town of Dorena in southeast Missouri and Hickman Kentucky neat the Kentucky and state of Mississippi border is the only means of crossing the Mississippi River between Cairo, Illinois and New Madrid, Missouri.
  Gravel Parking Lot
Dorena-Hickman Ferry
Hickman, KY
731-693-0210
  The Dorena-Hickman Toll Ferry is one of the few remaining riverboat ferries in the United States and the only operating ferry crossing the Mississippi River between Missouri and Kentucky. A ride on the ferry provides a unique opportunity to experience the wonder and beauty of the Mighty Mississippi. The Dorena-Hickman Toll Ferry can be accessed at the end of State Highway A near Dorena, MO or Hickman Ferry Crossing off Kentucky State Highway 1354. The ferry operates during daylight hours seven days a week year round except Christmas Day.
   
FEATURED ATTRACTIONS ALONG THE GREAT RIVER ROAD
Mastodon
State Historic Site
U.S. Grant
National Historic Site
Pere Marquette
State Park
Lewis and Clark
State Historic Site
       

North America's Inland Auto-Ferries
Extensive listing of many inland ferries throughout the United States

 
  Regional Guides
to the Middle Mississippi River Valley
 
       
  Meeting of the Great Rivers
National Scenic Byway
Ste. Genevieve &
French Colonial Country
Gateway to the West
St. Louis & St. Louis County
        
 
   Meeting the Missouri
Historic St. Charles County
The Lincoln Hills Region
Northeast Missouri
   
 
  The Tri-States Area
Iowa, Illinois & Missouri
The Mississippi River
Meets the Ohio River
   
  greatriverroad.com Home Page
Your index to over 800 informative pages covering the Middle Mississippi River Valley.
  At greatriverroad.com we strive for accuracy.
If you have any corrections, suggestions or information
you would like to see contact the webmaster.
For advertising information contact marketing.
Copyright 2001-2011
greatriverroad.com - Elsah, Illinois