The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

803-787 Ashport-Keyes Gold Dust

Now comes the payback for all the fun river loops!  After exiting the wonderful looping river bends of Tamm’s, Barfield, and Island 25, the river makes a dreadfully long run with no bends, all the way down to Plum Point/Osceola, and the downstream paddler is confronted with a mind and body numbing sixteen-mile long straight shot river run to the southwest.  The channel can be a mile wide, even at low water, and up to two miles during high water.  During low water, you must stay main channel.  But during high water you can opt for one or more of the back channels found in this stretch.


The bad news for the paddler intent on making time is that you will just have to dig in and paddle with all the towboats down the main channel.  Maybe you won’t have too many tows to contend with, and hopefully the wind won’t be in in your face.  But If it is windy why not take a break?  Find a couple of trees in a shady protected location and read a book.   Seriously, if it’s going to be a day with SW wind 15-20 gusting to 30 mph you would do good finding a good protected bluff of sand somewhere along one of the many islands peppering this stretch, and enjoy a day of rest while the wind blows itself out.  Otherwise, be prepared for big waves and endless wind.  Many paddlers have pushed themselves to their limits on windy days with disastrous results.  This stretch is notorious for creating a wind tunnel effect, maybe because of the nearby Chickasaw Bluffs. which are oriented in the same SW axis.  The trees, the bluffs, and the open face of the river all combine to create a very challenging stretch in a SW wind.  


The good news at low water is that the giant sandbars that emerge in this area force the river to and fro and create a meandering channel with fascinating landscapes of sand, gravel and mud, big trees washed ashore, piles of exotic driftwood, infinite possibilities for camping, castle-wall sized dikes thick with fossils and petrified mud, great swimming at the edges of the giant bars, and a wide spectrum of ever fluctuating blue holes carved deep into the muddy and sandy landscapes.


Great camping and picnicking is found throughout this section of river, paddle until you need a rest or it is approaching the time of day to make a camp, and head for the nearest bar.  You will surely be rewarded with locations that anyone you share pictures with will swear is more similar to beach scenes from Mexico than the muddy Mississippi!


rbd 796-791 Ashport Gold Dust Dikes

Extensive sandbars at medium and low water levels extending from a long chain of willow-topped island.  At high water you can cut behind these islands through any number of openings, the first found at the base of Island 27.   Follow your paddler’s bliss into a half-mile channel with smooth boiling bubbling laminar flow over a series of dikes and past clumps of forested bank sides and secluded sandbars and woody harbors.


LBD 797 Shoaf Landing

Primitive Gravel/Sand/Mud Landing at the mouth of the Lower Forked Deer.  Good for paddlers who can easily lift canoes, kayaks or paddleboards up and over any muddy patches or other obstacles.  Limited Parking.

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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