The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail
less. Opportunities like Cottonwood are rare and should be favored upon by conservation agencies like Mississippi Game and Fish and protectors of our wild lands like the Nature Conservancy. At $2,000/acre we’re looking at $2.5 million dollars. But some people drop $100 million into a yacht. $2.5 million is nothing when you consider all the boy scouts, girl scouts, church groups, anglers and sports lovers who could be enjoy a lifetime of outdoor recreation on a Mississippi River Island!
At low water canoeists and kayakers must stay main channel through Arcadia Point Bar/Cottonwood Bar, but watch for upcoming tows which favor the slow water below Arcadia and might be out of sight until you are deep within the bend. Monitor VHF channel 13 and watch carefully downstream for any emerging tows. The channel is narrow here and its turbulent waters and hard edges can produce large waves with the passage of upstream tows. Of course, be equally vigilant for down-streamers which come plowing from above around Fitler and need the width of Cottonwood Chute to make their turn.
As the water rises the side channels and back channels open up behind Arcadia and Cottonwood. Be careful of violent waterfalls flowing over back channel dikes at medium water (around 25VG). There is a notorious whirlpool that forms behind Cottonwood at this water level as the water sluices through a notched dike. At high water you can go far right behind Cottonwood Bar for a foray into Transylvania, Louisiana, or you can stay left amongst the wild archipelago of Arcadia Bar. Arcadia splits into a dozen or more islands at high water. Paddlers can choose any number of routes to follow. You could easily spend a day or more paddling in around all of these islands and enjoying the prolific wildlife found there. In fact this could be a beautiful round trip from the Madison Parish Boat Ramp. This section is for experts only, with many challenging upstream paddling and aggressive ferry crossings.
Paddler’s Routes Arcadia Point Bar/Cottonwood Bar
Canoeists, kayakers and stand up paddle-boarders must stay main channel during low water, but in high water can follow any number of routes behind Arcadia Bar, or the back channel of Cottonwood. Cottonwood is always open with some water, but best run at medium water or above, say around 25 or above on the Vicksburg Gauge.
Coming out of Fitler stay mid channel and then slide right bank as you enter in between Cottonwood Island and Arcadia Bar. Exit into big channel below island following the strongest flow outwards RBD towards Goodrich, Dogtail and Willow Island further down.
Cottonwood Bar Back Channel