We are closed for 2020.

The ferry takes you to your dream spot

For over 70 years, this family owned business has served the public by providing a very needed service: namely, the saving of a lot of hiking effort!

Many of the ferry passengers are backpackers heading up to the Pacific Crest Trail (the John Muir Trail portion of the PCT is near here). Others are headed in for a lot of fun at the Muir Trail Ranch. And still others are campers looking for the ideal getaway spot somewhere near the lake.

We operate two boats. One, the venerable Sierra Queen, has been in operation since 1969. A newer, smaller boat can get you into the tight spaces when the water is low. Both boats are running on the best schedule you’ll find anywhere in these parts: Five runs a day, seven days a week.

Ferry Schedule • Every Day of the Week

From the Store end of the lake: 8:30 10:30 12:30 2:30 4:30

From the Trail end of the lake: 9:00 11:00 1:00 3:00 5:00

Times may vary due to severe weather or heavy traffic.
We strive to maintain a schedule that meets your needs.

On Saturdays we will have additional ferry runs to accommodate traffic.
Unless you have a very large group of people (30 or more), reservations are not necessary. We can accommodate about 30 people and their packs in a single ferry run, and will make whatever additional runs are necessary.

When you arrive at Florence Lake via the Kaiser Pass Road, you can park in the large paved parking lot above the store. (The store parking lot is for short-term use only.) Purchase your ticket in the Store.

If you are approaching Florence Lake from the trail, use the radiotelephone at the end of the lake to call the Store. We’ll send a boat for you at the next scheduled time. You can purchase your ticket when you arrive at the Store end of the lake.

Ferry Rates

Adults One Way $15.00 Round Trip $28.00

Kids (12 and under) One Way $7.00 Round Trip $13.00

Dogs (all ages) One Way $1.00 and Round Trip, $2.00 *
(When you arrive at the store, check the special rates for bad dogs and lap dogs)

These rates include your backpack. Additional baggage (such as camping equipment like stoves, boxes of food, tents and so on) will be assessed a charge of $.10 per pound one way.

*So how come we charge for dogs? Well, when we didn’t, a lot of unscrupulous people dressed up as dogs and rode for free till we caught on!

Season Duration
Our operating season generally goes from mid June until late September. Snow conditions can change this, since the access route goes over Kaiser Pass, which has to be plowed free of snow in the spring. If early autumn snow closes the Pass or if Florence Lake is drained, we have to end the season. If you are approaching Florence Lake from another trailhead, we will have a sign on the main trail telling you when the ferry service will be closing for the season so you won’t have to backtrack to the trail in order to walk around the lake.

Save Money. Skip the Ferry.
It is not necessary to take the ferry to get to the Muir Trail. There is a trail around the west side of Florence Lake, and a bridge across the South Fork of the San Joaquin River. Taking the ferry saves about 4 miles of hiking, which comes to about one-and-a-half hours (depending on whether you are acclimated and not carrying too heavy a pack). Some people will walk around the lake from the Store end and take the ferry on their return trip as a kind of luxury indulgence, saving their energy for the drive out the one-lane Kaiser Pass Road.

Of course, the money you save could be spent in the store for a genuine Florence Lake T-shirt, baseball cap, hat, lapel pin or other spiffy souvenir.

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch