The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail
For the adventurous only! Paw Paw Chute opens around 10VG but best explored when the river is 20VG or higher. Enter opening LBD 446.5 and follow gentle bend five miles upstream as far as you feel like going. Starts out northeasterly, becoming northerly, then northwesterly, finally westerly.
Forest Home Chute
Forest Home Chute is another old river channel. Forest Home continues another four to five miles (depending on stage), with two more road portages at low river.
The “Heart of Darkness” Tour
From its confluence with Paw Paw, the Old Yazoo runs due west ½ mile to a wall of trees, where it makes a 90 degree sharp bend to the North. This area is locally known as the Graveyard. When the Mississippi River rises and the Yazoo is low, the Mississippi flows into Paw Paw and through the Old Yazoo, piling river flotsam and jetsam into the Graveyard. Due to the isolation of the river to cities and towns of the Mississippi alluvial plain by levees, this consists primarily of logs (whole trees, actually) along with red and green channel markers. This and two other channel constrictions further along are (well, should be) easily passed at river stages >20 ft VG. From the Graveyard, as stated above, the channel turns abruptly to the North running straight for about 1.5 mi. At this point, it divides into 3 channels; the middle channel will take you straight into a large oxbow, while the other two get there eventually, but you’ll have to deal with trees, strainers, diminishing currents, and other backswamp obstacles. The oxbow seems to end in a wall of willows and a large log jam after about 1.5 miles of lentic paddling, but don’t be dismayed! If you look through the trees, you can see a body of water: the present day Yazoo River, with the Vicksburg Riverfront about 8 miles downstream.
Usptream the Yazoo to Steele Bayou
1.5 mi paddle upstream will bring you to the mouth of Steele Bayou. Just upstream is the Steele Bayou backwater drainage structure. When water is being released through this structure, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of gar (spotted, long-nose, alligator) school in the currents…quite a sight to see!
Downstream the Yazoo to Vicksburg
After leaving the Old Yazoo follow the New Yazoo a little over eight miles downstream to the Gibraltar of the South, Vicksburg.
LBD 437.7 Mouth of the Yazoo River
Red channel marker LBD 437.3 It’s best to cut the corner tight when entering the Yazoo. Watch for Towboats. Paddle approximately one and a half miles up the Yazoo to reach the public boat launch at the foot of Clay Street.
Warning: Turn left for Vicksburg!
There is no public access on the main channel of the river below here. You must enter the Yazoo to reach downtown. Paddler’s intending to meet their shuttles or resupply in Vicksburg will need to turn left!