Three river ferries operate on the Upper Missouri River, the Carter ferry, Virgelle ferry and Stafford-McClelland ferry near Winifred. Typical season is April through November and they are free. Each ferry can carry 2 passenger cars at a time.
The Carter Ferry was established by Chouteau County in 1917 at an original cost of $850 and followed Montana State Highway Department specifications. The Carter Ferry was replaced in 1945 and replaced again in 2004. Vehicles can use the ferry stop at the boat ramp at either side of the river. The driver honks his horn or can call from a phone located near each ramp to alert the ferry operator of need for service. The operator than using an engine and cable system pulls the double-hulled boats across the Missouri between two towers anchored on the shore.
Carter Ferry is also state fishing and public access site on the Missouri River in north central Montana. It is a day use only site with a boat launch and toilets available. There is a gravel ramp is next to county operated ferry.