The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

LBD 814 Nebraska Landing

During the 2011 flood the waters surging around Wrights Point tried to bust a new channel open for the Mississippi River behind the club-shaped Nebraska Point which would have turned this area into a large island.  Fortunately for the small community and country church at Nebraska Point the waters receded before much damage was done.  But two enormous blue holes were left behind.  Blue holes are carved into the mud or sand during high water when the river cascades over some obstruction, in this case the river bank itself.  After being lifted turbulently over the obstruction, the waters cascade down the other side in powerful propulsive forces that gnaw away at the earth until it yields and a cavity is formed.  When the high waters recede a deep lake is left behind, some of which remain for decades on end.  The two giant blue holes at Mounds Crevasse, Mississippi, for instance, are still a mile long and 100 feet deep.  They were created during the Great Flood of 1927.     


The US Army Corps has since stabilized the break at Nebraska Landing with a large scale rip-rap plateau artfully placed into the trees with such care that you have to look close before you realize this is man placed rock, and not sand or gravel washed into a forest.  At the same time the USACE engineers memorialized the giant blue holes by surrounding them also with rip-rap, inadvertently creating swim holes for paddlers on a hot summer day! 


815-805 Barfield Bend

You might spend several hours completely circumnavigating Barfield Bend during low water.  The main channel here measures ten miles long and wraps completely around Nebraska Point. If you are struggling through a head wind, don’t worry too much, it will soon become a tail wind!  After leaving similarly shaped Tamm Bend above the downstream paddler enters Barfield riding the current in a northwesterly direction.  The waters get thrust first southward, and the southeasterly, and you will at long last exit the bend flying east through the narrows at Tomato Arkansas.  During high water you can shave significant mileage off this bend with good current by hugging the LBD.  Good low and medium water camping can be found throughout this bend, everything goes under well before flood stage.  Like the bend at island 21 your campsite here will be spoiled by the industrious doings at Nucor Yamamato, which is poorly located in between the best two sandbars along the way.  Too bad state planners can’t keep industry all concentrated in one place, and leave the wild places wild.


rbd 809.3 Barfield Boat Ramp

Rough ramp pocked by holes and cracks and placed on the riverbank in a high industry traffic location amidst the docks and cranes of Nucor Yamamato.  Concrete disappears into muddy/sandy eddy bar at low water.  No nearby services of any sort.  Our recommendation: avoid completely.  For emergency use only.


rbd 806 Tomato Arkansas

Flood Prone landscape, as evidenced by several giant blue holes vestiges of the 1937 flood, all three right bank descending, one near 808 (35.860638,-89.772718), one near the light at 807.7 (35.854587,-89.760039), and the last a mile further near 807  (35.852744,-89.759674).


“Tomato, Arkansas, is one of the few communities on the Lower Mississippi that lies outside the protection of the mainline levee system. It was established as a shipping point for produce from truck farms in the area, and was said at one time to have the smallest post office in the world.  A man named Jones was postmaster at the time, and when his house burned down, he moved into Tomato’s post office – whereupon the post office moved into a tiny smokehouse that Jones owned.” (From Marion Bragg’s Historic Names and Places on the Lower Mississippi)

Leave A Comment

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