The Peel Ferry is the last publicly operated ferry boat in the state of Arkansas. It crosses a section of Bull Shoals Lake because there is no bridge connecting the two sections of AR Highway 125. This is something you should see if you are in the area. It operates on Highway 125 crossing Bull Shoals Lake between the 125 Recreation Area and The Buck Creek Recreation Area. This is the last remaining operating ferry in Arkansas.
According to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, there were 17 ferry boats operating in Arkansas in 1968. They go on to say that only 4 were operating in the state in 1986.
In fact, one of the 4 operating at that time was in south Arkansas County across the White River on Arkansas Highway 1. I still remember riding that one. It was a much shorter ride than the ride across Bull Shoals Lake on the Peel Ferry.
The Peel Ferry was put into place when the dam was built on the White River to create Bull Shoals Lake. Without a bridge, the people on either side of the lake would have to make an almost 100-mile trip through either Branson, MO or Mountain Home, AR. So, in addition to being a unique attraction for the ride across the lake, the ferry also serves a valuable function for the people who live in the area.
360° Photos From The Peel Ferry.
Use Your Mouse or Move Your Phone to Look Around.
Here is a link to an old article from AR Highways magazine from 2014. You can read the article here. This is a PDF file of the magazine, so you need to give it a minute to load.
Many motorcycle riders take the loop on Highway 125 for the scenery and to experience riding the ferry. For motorcycle riders, you can check this article from Explore Harrison. Although the article is aimed toward motorcycle riders, cars and even some trucks below the weight limit are welcome to take the ferry too. There are also many out of state cars on the ferry, as was evidenced when we rode the ferry to shoot the video for this post.
How To Get There
From either Mountain Home or Harrison, take AR Highway 62/US Highway 412 to Yellville. In Yellville you will turn onto Highway 14 to Lead Hill. This road is scenic, but it is also a steep and winding road. There are deer to contend with at times when traveling Highway 14, so be on the lookout. You’ll see a sign on your right for the junction of Highway 125. Turn right onto Highway 125 and follow it to the ferry. There is also an Army Corps of Engineers campground just before you reach the ferry landing.
Depending on when you arrive, you may have to wait for a while for the ride across the lake. According to the article linked above, the ferry is a 40-minute round trip. If you were to arrive just after the ferry has left the dock, you might have a wait. But I assure you the scenic ride across the lake is worth the wait.
The other great thing about the ferry is that it is operated by the state and there is no fee to ride the ferry. So this is a unique thing you can do on a scenic drive through Arkansas and Missouri which doesn’t cost a thing other than the fuel you burn.