A pleasant Sunday kayaking trip down the Blue River in southern Indiana had us pushing off into sunny morning weather and taking out in a light summer storm.
We utilized public access sites for our access to the river, so there were no costs (other than gasoline). The public access site located in Milltown, Indiana next to Cave Country Canoes livery has parking for a transport vehicle and is the ideal site for putting in. The site is located below the dam in Milltown so there is no worry about dealing with portages.
The trip follows the Cave Country Canoes 14-mile trip, so there is a potential for encountering other boaters, and good weather can bring small crowds; a majority of visitors ride the 7-mile trip provided by Cave Country, but there are occasionally groups that take the longer trip. The beneficial side to this parallel is that Cave Country has maps (although rustic) of the 14-mile trip available.
The weather is a large factor for this trip, as the large rocks/boulders and fallen trees in the water become problematic if the water is too low or if the current is too strong. The route has several rapid areas, but they are not difficult to navigate. Additionally, there are several nice gravel banks to picnic on or beach the boats for a swim in the river.
After navigating 14 miles of peaceful river, the trip comes to an end at Rothrock Mill, the same location the ends the Cave Country trip. A rusty bridge over the river signifies the end of the trip and a sign instructs boaters to the pull out site, about 400 feet on the left bank. A second transport vehicle left in the parking lot prevents paying a pick-up fee to Cave Country, and a long ride on the bumpy bus. While the Cave Country transportation is not bad, it is nice to use your own vehicles to make your own schedule and not rush to catch the scheduled Cave Country pick-up times.
The pull out site is gravel, so there is not an issue with muddy conditions or getting the boat slimmed. Drivers are advised to watch out for neighborhood dogs as they move their vehicles; they are extremely nice dogs, but like to nap under cars.
Public access sites and parking are available at both Milltown and Rothrock Mill to boaters transporting themselves, and boaters requiring transportation are advised to contract with Milltown's Cave Country Canoes. Rustic restrooms are available at both put in and pull out sites, and nature is available in between.
No permits are required. There are no parking fees or access fees. There is a transport fee if the boater is utilizing the Cave Country Canoes transportation (see their website for up to date cost).
Milltown, Indiana and Rothrock Mill Road are located off of State Road 64 and 66.
Cave Country Canoes is located at 112 Main Street, Milltown, IN 47145.
Cave Country Canoes has a rustic map of the route available in their main office.