The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

846.5 Caruthersville

Originally settled in 1794 as the town of La Petite Prairie by Fench fur trapper Joseph Le Sieur, Caruthersville survived the 1811/12 New Madrid Earthquake, the floods of 1927 and 1937, the depression, and the Civil Rights era.  Even though it was threatened by its highest waters ever during the great flood of 2011, its sturdy sea-wall held.  To this day it remains a sho-nuff river town.  By the result hard work and a lot of luck the charming city is still located directly on the main channel of the big river, a distinction not shared by other unlucky river towns where the river stayed for a while and then left town dry (or worse, was eaten by flood and destroyed completely).


Canoeists, Kayakers and surfers (stand-up-paddleboarders) should make a stop.  Caruthersville might be the most paddler-friendly resupply and the best rest stop in between Cape Girardeau and Memphis.  Not far downstream the river leaves the Missouri Bootheel and your right bank becomes Arkansas.


Look for the tall grey Bunge Grain elevator which towers above the center of the city.  The S.P. Reynolds Park and boat launch is directly below downstream of Bunge.  You can easily pull your canoe or kayak up to a small delightful river park and enjoy the grassy field punctuated with park benches and large cottonwoods, elms, mulberries and other shady trees.   Thanks to a stubby sea-wall built in 1917 downtown restaurants and businesses are a short walk away.  Main street (Ward Avenue) ends at the wall opening.  As you walk through the gates you will see a painted plaque.  The highest river stages are recorded from 1913 to 1997, including what used to be the record high 46.0 in 1937.  2011 shattered that record when the great river rose seven-tenths of a foot higher, to 46.7, on April 16th.  At Rivergator publication date this record has not been added to the sea-wall.


Secure your vessel or portage it into town with you.  Several blocks down Ward Ave  you’ll find a pizza place, a BBQ joint, a sporting goods store (Grizzly Jig Co), a drug store, banks, the post office and office supplies.  The library is a mile further (limited hours) and grocery stores even further.  Refill water bottles at the closest business you encounter to avoid lugging around town.  Caruthersville is a classic good-feeling river town full of friendly residents and interesting architecture.   Those needing groceries might try catching a ride with someone, or be prepared for a several mile walk round trip.  If you want to read more about the history of the town locate a copy of Caruthersville, Missouri: 150 Years (2007, Teresa Tidwell) which can be found at the library, or purchased from the writer’s son, who operates the Office Supply across from the historic Post Office building.  (A lively read.  Much of the information about the town presented here was gleaned from this book.)


If staying overnight you might want to make the half-mile walk to the Round Restaurant at 820 W 3rd Street, a popular eatery in a perfectly round building which one google reviewer rated 5 stars “Best fried chicken tenders EVER. Food was home-cooked, served hot and fresh, wonderful staff, would definitely go there again…”

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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