The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

Moss Island WMA

Moss Island WMA (State Wildlife Management Area) inhabits a lowlands created by a former channel of the Mississippi River.  The Obion river has follows the outside of this ancient bend, while the Forked Deer enters at its southern edge. 


LBD 817.7 Tamm’s Landing and Ed Jones Boat Ramp

The Ed Jones is an excellent ramp built at downstream angle over rip-rap.  Best access to this remote stretch of river.  Good at all water levels up to flood stage.  Parking lot at top of ramp, but don’t leave vehicle overnight.  Very long walk to reach any support or services.  Closest town: Halls, Tennessee.  17 miles.  Tamm’s Landing is located within the Lower Mississippi Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge (see below for description).


LBD 817.7-801.8 Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge

Bounded by the Mississippi on one side and the Tennessee Loess Bluffs on the other, Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge encompasses the single largest block of bottomland hardwood forest in Tennessee at 25,006 acres. Chickasaw NWR and adjacent lands are known to be important wintering and stop-over areas for a large portion of the Mississippi Flyway mallard population. Under optimum conditions, peak waterfowl numbers may exceed 250,000 including black ducks, gadwall, pintail, teal, wigeon, wood duck, ring-necked duck, and hooded merganser.  


Waterfowl and Bald eagle populations typically peak during January especially if temperatures drop below freezing and open water is limited to the sanctuary area. More than 200 species of birds use the refuge throughout the year with interior least terns and Cerulean warblers topping the list of birds to see. Wild turkeys and white-tailed deer are also numerous and popular for viewing. Chickasaw NWR has 3 active bald eagle nests and Wood ducks are year-round residents and depend on the habitat for nesting and brood rearing. The refuge also provides habitat for swamp rabbit, deer, fox and grey squirrel, and raccoon.  Wildlife is abundant on the refuge.


No Levee?

Below the Obion there is no mainline levee on the Tennessee side of the river, due to the slightly higher ground created by the four Chickasaw Bluffs, thus forming the only extended stretch without a mainline levee in the Lower Mississippi River Valley (until you hit the loess bluffs below Vicksburg).  As a result, all of Southwestern Tennessee is subject to the natural process of backwater flooding by the river in its constant ebb and flow response to high water and low water, at times a 50 foot fluctuation.  The floodplain and all of the tributary rivers along the way are freely influenced by the constant rising and falling of the Mississippi River and the rewards of sedimentation, fertilization, rejuvenation of phytoplankton, fish and amphibians, as well as the negative effects of flood ravaged fields, farm houses, hunting lodges, and any humans or animals caught during high waters.  Farmers in the end benefit from the layers of rich nutrients laid with every flood at no charge, although it of course comes on the river’s schedule, not the farmers, and is not always laid exactly where he thinks he should be laid.  Vice versa, the river benefits from this open door relationship through the responding back wash of freshened water re-entering the river having been cleaned of its surplus of phosphates and nitrates, heavy metals, and some of its toxins and dioxins, with young fish and amphibians now able to freely migrate, birds of prey and mammalian predators benefitting from the constant traffic back and forth, with fishermen and hunters at the top of the pyramid enjoying the result of all!


This levee-free landscape includes the Obion, the Hatchie, the Loosahatchie and Wolf Rivers, the Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge, the Anderson Tully State WMA, the Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge, Meeman Shelby Forest State Park, Memphis Mud Island Harbor, Noncannah Creek, and all of the towns and farm fields in between.

LBD 773.5

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Middle Mississippi & Bluegrass Hills / Bootheel 195-0, 954-850 ST. LOUIS TO CARUTHERSVILLE
Chickasaw Bluffs 850 – 737 CARUTHERSVILLE TO MEMPHIS
Caruthersville to Osceola
850 – 737 LBD Options for Paddlers in the Caruthersville Stretch
Above Caruthersville  
Below Caruthersville  
850 RBD Caruthersville Harbor Boat Ramp (1/2 Mile Up Harbor)
849 RBD Mouth of the Carutherville Harbor
849 RBD Trinity Barge Fabrication Plant
847 RBD Blaker Towhead
846.5 Caruthersville
846 RBD Isle of Capri/Lady Luck Casino and Casino Inn Suites
845 – 840 LBD Caruthersville – Linwood Bend
850 RBD – 840 LBD Day Trip: Caruthersville to Booth’s Point
840 LBD Linwood Bend Boat Ramp
839 Caruthersville Bridge
Bridges and Mud: How Deep is the Mississippi Mud  
Several Routes Around Islands 18, 20 and 21  
838 – 835 LBD Island 18 Towhead
829 – 832 RBD Island 20 Dikes and Towhead
823 – 829 LBD Island 21
Routes for the Paddler Around Tamm/Barfield Bends  
820 – 815 RBD Wright’s Point – Tamm Bend
819.3 LBD Mouth of the Obion River
Moss Island WMA  
817.7 LBD Tamm’s Landing and Ed Jones Boat Ramp
817.7 – 801.8 LBD Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge
No Levee?  
814 LBD Nebraska Landing
815 – 805 LBD Barfield Bend
809.3 RBD Barfield Boat Ramp
806 RBD Tomato Arkansas
805 – 801 RBD Island 25
Paddler’s Options in the Island 30 – Osceola Area  
800 – 796.5 RBD Island 26 and Forked Deer Island 27
803 – 787 RBD Ashport-Keyes Gold Dust
796 – 791 RBD Ashport Gold Dust Dikes
797 LBD Shoaf Landing
797 LBD Lower Forked Deer River
796 LBD Ashport-Keyes Boat Ramp
793 – 785 RBD Island 30
796 LBD Ashport-Keyes Boat Ramp
Neark (Jacksonville) Landing  
786.5 LBD Back Channel Island 30
785 RBD Osceola Arkansas
783.5 RBD Sans Souci Boat Ramp
Osceola to Shelby Forest
785 RBD Osceola Arkansas
783.5 RBD Sans Souci Boat Ramp
782 LBD Driver Island
779.8 LBD Old Mouth of the Forked Deer
779 – 778 LBD First Chickasaw Bluff
Alternate Paddler’s Route Around Hatchie River & 2nd Chickasaw Bluff  
778 – 773 RBD Sunrise Towhead – Island 34
777 – 773.5 LBD Hatchie Towhead
773.5 LBD Mouth of the Hatchie River
773.5 LBD Lower Hatchie National Wildlife Refugee
771 – 772 LBD Angelo Towhead
771 LBD Randolph Landing
771 – 769 LBD The Second Chickasaw Bluff (Richardson Bluff)
768.9 LBD Richardson’s Landing
768 LBD Randolph’s Landing/Duvall’s Boat Ramp
766 – 763 LBD Below Richardson’s Landing Dikes and Bar
Dyess Arkansas, Birthplace of Johnny Cash’s Five Feet High and Rising  
Five Feet High and Rising  
767.6 – 761.5 RBD Island 35
767 RBD Island 35 Boat Ramp
Back Channels of Island 35  
767.6 RBD Entrance
761.5 RBD Exit Behind Dean Isand
Memphis Gage  
Dikes and Water Levels  
Reading Google Maps  
761.5 – 757 RBD Dean Isand
761.5 – 757 RBD Back Channel of Dean Isand
Third Chickasaw Bluff  
758 – 754 LBD Denseford Bar and Dikes/Hen and Chicks
752.7 LBD Shelby Forest Boat Ramp
Shelby Forest to Memphis
Memphis Gage  
Dikes and Water Levels  
752.7 LBD Shelby Forest Boat Ramp
Hen & Chicks Round Trip  
754 – 745 LBD Meeman Shelby Forest State Park
754 – 747.5 RBD Back Channel of Brandywine Island
Buoys and Dikes  
Paddling Into Memphis: Three Distinct Routes  
749 – 742 LBD Hickman Bar
Picknicking and Camping on Hickman  
746 LBD Upper Hickman
745 LBD Middle Hickman
744 LBD Lower Hickman
743 LBD Below Lower Hickman
740.6 LBD Loosahatchie River
743.5 – 740 LBD Redman Point Bar
Memphis Upper Waswater Treatment Plant  
M.C. Stiles Waterwater Treatment Facility  
739 LBD Conoco Lucy-Woodstock Memphis Chemical Terminal Dock
740.6 LBD Wolf River
738.4 LBD Mud Island Upper Boat Ramp
740 – 737.5 Loosahatchie Bar
737.5 Ferry Crossing to Memphis From the Bottom of Loosahatchie Bar
737 Memphis “M” Bridge (Hernando De Soto Bridge)
736 LBD 4th Chickasaw Bluff: Memphis
736 LBD Memphis Mud Island Harbor
Mud Island Riverpark & Museum  
Memphis Yatch Club Marina & Boat Ramp  
Coast Guard Boat Ramp  
Memphis Conveniences Useful to Paddlers  
Several Challenging Round-trips From Memphis  
The Lossahatchie Redman Figure-Eight  
The Loosahatchie Roundtrip  
Hickman Bar Roundtrip  
Upper Delta 737 – 663 MEMPHIS TO HELENA
Middle Delta 663 – 537 HELENA TO GREENVILLE
Loess Bluffs 437 – 225 VICKSBURG TO BATON ROUGE
Atchafalaya River 159 – 0 SIMMESPORT TO MORGAN CITY
Louisiana Delta 229 – 10 BATON ROUGE TO VENICE
Birdsfoot Delta 10 – 0 VENICE TO GULF OF MEXICO