The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

and the jacuzzi was full of muddy water.  A wide screen television was located on the porch wall behind.  We couldn’t resist.  We tied the canoe off and jumped into the muddy jacuzzi and enjoyed a few minutes of relaxation!  Three days previous and almost three hundred miles upstream in Memphis we had paddled past the Mud Island Riverpark where the same muddy river water had gotten so high it had been flowing through the scale model of the Mississippi (which previous to then had been filled with clear Memphis tap water!)


471-465 Arcadia Point Bar/Cottonwood Bar


The main channel runs southwestward several miles out of Fitler and then without turning one way or the other slides in between two big sandbar towheads Arcadia Point Bar and Cottonwood Bar so smoothly and perfectly you would think it had been drawn  that way on a design pad.  Well, it had been planned that way, and then carved that way.  Much to the consternation of the natural impulses of the river, a canal was carved right through the center of Cottonwood Bar to remove a troubling bend eastward (right bank descending) around its backside that had always been a difficult navigation challenge for the 1/2 mile long towboats.  Also it seemed like the river was trying to dig further and further into Louisiana in its tendency to eat away at the outsides of its bends and form new meanders.  Something had to be done.  Instead of letting the river have its way, the US Army Corps Engineers carved a slightly curved canyon through Cottonwood that begins southwesterly and then turns ever so gently to the south.  It’s the most perfect low-angle curve on the Lower Mississippi.  A protractor couldn’t draw a better circumference.  And the river hates it!  So much so that several million yards of large limestone boulders, rock and rip-rap have been required to maintain this beautiful channel through Cottonwood.  During the 2011 flood the big waters did extensive damage to the backsides of Cottonwood and now the damage is being mitigated with several more millions of yards of rip-rap.  Soon all of Cottonwood will be a monument to rip-rap having been completely encircled by it.  Like any moving waters, the biggest river in North America is always looking for weak places to explore with insatiable appetite, and it requires the constant attention of the most ambitious plumbers in history, the US Army Corps Engineers, to maintain it!


1262 acre Cottonwood is for sale (at date of Rivergator website publication).  I wish we could save it as a public place for paddlers, fishermen, and hunters.  At present there are only four public islands on the approximately 1,000 miles of the Lower Mississippi River.  That’s one public island per 250 miles.  You can count them on one hand: Hickman Bar, Loosahatchie Bar, Buck Island and Choctaw Island.  Two in Tennessee and two in Arkansas.  While paddlers typically end up camping in remote sandy places far below the average highwater mark (hence beyond the legal reach of any landowners) it can get a little lonely having to always feel like you are shunned, unwanted, maybe even feared.  Paddler and author Eddie Harris, a black man, reported being harassed and then shot at while camping in the woods one night somewhere below Greenville in his 1988 Mississippi Solo.  It’s kind of like a backpacker walking through a gated community.  We need more public places on the Lower Mississippi, not 

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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