The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

RBD 514-512 Worthington Cutoff, Matthews Bend, Grand Lake, Island 88

The river concentrates around the bottom end of Kentucky Bend and slams directly into the Arkansas shoreline opposite with such force that it tore up all the fields and almost busted the levee in 1997 and in 2011, and a series of blue holes were formed around the edge of Matthews Bend and over the fields towards Grand Lake.  It seems like it was trying to break through the levee and regain the disconnected lake.  Matthews Bend/Grand Lake opens up off the main channel RBD 513 inhabiting what remains of the Old Matthews Bend, with a public boat launch one mile off the main channel.   Matthews Bend/Grand Lake is worthy of exploration for any adventuresome paddlers ready to get off the main channel.  Depending on river level the lake extends far back into the woods and completes the turn around old Matthews Bend, which was cut off in 1933.  At low and medium waters this area is dead water due to a low road built part way up the back channel.  But at higher water levels, above 40GG the river starts pouring over the low road with noticeable flow.   At higher water levels you could enter the top end of Matthews Bend behind Kentucky Island and swirl around the entire perimeter of Island 88 and bounce back out here at its base.  Approximately ten miles from the top end of Kentucky Island.


From Historic Names: “Early travelers on the Lower Mississippi commented that geese, swans, ducks, pelicans, and sandhill cranes could be seen ‘by the millions’ around Island No. 88. This may have been an exaggeration, but Zadok Cramer complained in 1814 that he had spent a night on the island and had been unable to sleep because of the horrible clatter that the birds made all night long. A couple of Army engineers who mapped the area in 1821 were more impressed by the number of insects than by the birds. They called Island No. 88 Mosquito Island.


RBD 512 (and up back channel) Grand Lake landing Boat Ramp


Narrow public boat ramp laid over the muddy bank bottoms of Grand Lake into Matthew’s Bend.  Composed of broken slabs of concrete and cramped parking.  This rotted concrete ramp reaches Grand Lake even at the lowest of water levels, but you might not be able to always paddle from the Lake into the main channel of the river because of a shallows at river entrance.


RBD 510-506 Cracraft Bar


A series of sandy islands have formed around the Cracraft Lower Dikes affording beautiful campsites, picnic sites, and endless exploration at all water levels.  At low water you must stay main channel of course, but you can canoe or kayak into any of the many inlets that cut into the four mile long mass of sand, mud and willows.  Deep inlets form below the 2nd and 3rd dikes creating wonderful picnic spots with pools of deep water that clears out slightly as it comes to rest in these places.    As the water rises so do the avenues for exploration, but beware of strong flows and possible waterfalls which form over the dikes in the back channel.  Water starts flowing around 21-22 on the 

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Middle Mississippi & Bluegrass Hills / Bootheel 195-0, 954-850 ST. LOUIS TO CARUTHERSVILLE
Chickasaw Bluffs 850 – 737 CARUTHERSVILLE TO MEMPHIS
Upper Delta 737 – 663 MEMPHIS TO HELENA
Middle Delta 663 – 537 HELENA TO GREENVILLE
Greenville to Lake Providence
Greenville, Mississippi  
Greenville Accomodations and Restaurants  
Greenville Blues Festivals  
Greenville Boat Ramp  
Greenville Harbor  
537 LBD Warfield Point Park
537 LBD Old Warfield Point Boat Ramp
537 LBD New Warfield Point Boat Ramp
537 LBD New Warfield Point Boat Ramp
534 LBD Vaucluse Landing
531.5 RBD Sunny Side Landing
530.7 LBD Greenville Bridge
529 – 525.5 LBD Lakeport Towhead / American Bar
525 LBD American Cut-Off / Lake Lee
Lake Lee Public Boat Ramp  
Options for Paddlers Below Greenville Bridge Near American Bar and Lake Lee  
Lake Washington  
523 – 520 RBD Island 68
519 – 515 RBD Kentucky Bend
515 – 512 LBD Leota Bar / Cracraft Chute
514 – 512 RBD Worthington Cutoff, Matthews Bend, Grand Lake, Island 88
512 RBD (And Up Back Channel) Grand Lake Landing Boat Ramp
510 – 506 RBD Cracraft Bar
Paddler’s Choices Through Cracraft Chute & Sarah’s Cutoff  
Entering Louisiana  
503.5 RBD Bunch’s Cutoff
503 RBD Chute of Old River Lake
505 – 502 LBD Corregidor Bar
500 – 495 RBD Wilson Point Bar
496 LBD Tennis Court Landing
Vicksburg Gage  
Water Levels and Dikes  
494 – 487 LBD Baleshead / Stack Island / Ben Lamond
Two Stack Islands?  
Lake Providence  
Lake Providence Landings  
Paddler’s Choices in the Mayersville – Lake Providence Area  
487 – 481 LBD Shipland Wildlife Management Area
Lake Providence to Vicksburg
Vicksburg Gage  
Water Levels and Dikes  
Water Levels and Dikes  
Lake Providence  
Lake Providence Landing  
Paddler’s Choices in the Mayersville – Lake Providence Area  
487 – 481 LBD Shipland Wildlife Management Area
480 – 474 Fitler Bend
471 – 465 Arcadia Point Bar / Cottonwood Bar
Paddler’s Routes Arcadia Point Bar / Cottonwood Bar  
462 – 459 RBD Willow Island
461 LBD Chotard Lake Terrapin Neck Cutoff
Laney’s Landing  
459 LBD 2010 F-4 Tallulah – Yazoo Tornado
458.8 LBD Eagle Lake Pass
458 LBD Tara Landing
457 RBD Madison Parish Port and Public Boat Launch
Bluz Cruz Kayak and Canoe Race  
Willow Island, Chotard Lake, and Eagle Lake: Paddler’s Routes  
458 – 449 Milliken Bend
449 – 445 RBD Sparta Island
449 – 445 RBD Marshall Cutoff
446.5 LBD Paw Paw Chute
The “Heart of the Darkness” Tour  
Around Paw Paw to Forest Home Chute  
Paw Paw to Vicksburg Via the Yazoo  
Steele Bayou Control Structure  
What Are the Paw Paws  
Paw Paw Chute / Sparta / Brown’s Point: Paddler’s Routes  
445 – 442 Brown’s Point
444 Brown’s Point Fault Line
441 – 438.5 RBD Delta Point Bar
Habitat Restoration on the Lower Miss  
438 RBD King’s Point / Secret Entrance Into Lake Centennia
437.7 LBD Mouth of the Yazoo River
Vicksburg Services and Accommodations  
Vicksburg Services, Accommodations, and Restaurants  
Looking Downstream  
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