The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

Beginner's Options

While the Lower Mississippi River should only be run by advanced paddlers, there are several isolated opportunities for beginner paddlers, the list of which is below.  These are places where you can park at a landing, push out and paddle in (normally) calm waters, practice your skills, view the big river from the safety of protected waters, and then return to your vehicle.  During high water some of the below will become moderate challenges only for intermediate or expert paddlers.  Read notes.  In general beginners should avoid the challenges of the main channel until they are comfortable and capable with the extremes of big volume waters and towboat activity.

 

[CLICK HERE: Options for Moderate Paddlers]

 

663 RBD

Helena Harbor

450 acre harbor.  Always flat water.  Safe paddling for beginners at all water levels.   Excellent place to practice and hone your skills.  Access from one of two ramps located in harbor.  One grain elevator.  Little towboat activity.  Infrequently used as overnight spot for US Coast Guard.  Active fishing boat landing.

 

RBD 634

 

Modoc Old River Lake

Two-mile long lake bounded by levee on one side and surrounded by woods on the other.  Always flat water.  Safe paddling for beginners at all water levels.   Unmarked landing.  Remote access from AR 44.  Follow gravel road to levee.

 

Rosedale Harbor

Three-mile long flat water harbor that remains unaffected by high water, but is fairly busy with small tows that service a number of grain elevators, docking facilities and dry-docking.  Home base of Jantran Tow lines. 

 

Arkansas City Boat Ramp (Low Water)

Low water only for beginner paddlers, below 10 on the Arkansas City Gage.  Above 10 the water speed increases and snags, sawyers, boils, eddies and whirlpools appear.  Put in using concrete ramp, paddle upstream as far as you feel like and return back to landing with gentle flow.  Or paddle upstream and ferry cross over to the beautiful sands  and steep muddy banks of Choctaw Island.