The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

LBD 797 Lower Forked Deer River

For an close-up view of the woods, wildlife, and agricultural fields of Western Tennessee paddle 4.5 miles up the Lower Forked Deer into Chickasaw National Wildlife Refuge.  Only possible above 10 CuG.  Be ready for blockages, fallen trees, beaver dams, and other obstacles.  Watch for snakes in trees and jumping Asian Carp!  9 miles round trip. If it’s too overgrown, too rough, or too low to make progress, paddle as far as you feel like, then turn around.  Your time won’t be wasted for all of the wildlife and interesting vegetation you will see.


LBD 796 Ashport-Keyes Boat Ramp

Well built concrete ramp good at all water levels and year-round access from paved road (Tennessee 19) in between Ashport and Gold Dust.  16 miles east on TN 19 to reach Ripley, home of the famous Ripley tomato.


rbd 793-785 Island 30

WARNING: There are two significant falls at low/medium waters, one at top end and one at bottom end of Island 30.  See below for more description.


Island 30 creates an intriguing back door entrance to Osceola.  If the water is high enough (above 25 on the Caruthersville Gauge) and you want to make an Osceola landing, or even if you just want more back channel exploration, you can enter the back channel of Island 30 for a wonderful tree-lined meandering eight mile paddle.  Highly recommended (if the water is high enough).   If Osceola is your destination, riding the back channel makes things easier: you won’t have to paddle back upstream against the current of the Osceola Harbor to reach the landing!


To get into the back channel of Island No 30 you will first have to get behind the Ashport Gold Dust Dikes, as described above.  It’s best to enter at the very top end, from the base of Island 27 near Daniel’s Point Landing RBD 796.5.  Stay hard bank right several miles and then follow the opening near 793 over a sometimes turbulent falls (a submerged dike).  There are tall trees on either bank and it feels like you are passing through the gates into a magical kingdom.  Warning: turbulent waters sometimes found at top entrance to Island 30 Back Channel.  Most water flows through tongue center stream.  This can be a significant falls around 20-25 CuG, so scout first and make sure you are capable of safely handling.  At 30 most of the drop has been submerged and you will only see turbulence and powerful boils and eddies.  Once you get through there are no more dikes until the final miles (1.5 miles – see warning below).


You might encounter a fisherman or two, but others otherwise it will be nothing but you, the bottomland hardwood forests, the wildlife along the bank, and the birds in the air — a welcome change from the sometimes sterile monotony of the main channel!   This back channel flows along for miles and miles — eight miles in all.  The Arkansas levee closes in eventually, and you will pass by a primitive muddy landing with a good concrete ramp near the town of Luxora.  If you need to resupply keep going, Osceola will be your best stop.  Near flood stage other side channels off the back channel will open up.  Follow at your own discretion.  You might hear highway traffic after Luxora.  This is the legendary blues Highway 61 now close by the river and found just over the levee.  Highway 61 runs north to south like the great river herself, out of the North woods right down to the Gulf of Mexico (ending in New Orleans).

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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