The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

LBD 641-635 Island 62

[CLICK HERE: Map of Islands 62 & 63 Circumnavigation]

Beautiful remote towhead island with long stretches of willow broken by stands of cottonwood and other hardwoods, all surrounded by a sea of big-grained yellow sand. Good camping or possible break stop, great animal tracking, birding, and fossil finding.  Island 62 is bisected by a swamp which empties into a chute on the Arkansas side.


The best camping in the area can be found on Island 62 which boasts an expansive sandy high ground surrounded by wide sandbars on all sides except the south, from several thousands of acres of sand at low water, to maybe one thousand at medium water and hundreds of acres of beautiful snowy sand right up to 40HG.  Above 42 water starts filling the low places between dunes on the high ground and by 47HG all is completely submerged.


Best campsites are found on the east bank during low water, and on the and the west bank during medium water (west bank accessible when the back channel starts flowing good around 18HG).  During periods of high water, above 35, good camping can be located in spectacular locations around the entire perimeter of the top end of this island east, north and west.   The bottom end of the island (south side) is much lower than the top end, hence it’s more muddy, and in general overgrown with scrubby stands of privet, mulberries and gnarly stands of willow.  The beaver of course love the latter, and during all periods of the year cleaned beaver sticks leave ample evidence of the presence.  In 1999 I happened upon a beaver lodge in these overgrown willow forests. This lodge became a monument to the brave beavers who constructed it, and I would visit anytime I was in the area.  High water 2008 removed it completely and I haven’t seen any signs of reconstruction since.


There are blue holes on island 62, in particular a lake-sized blue hole near the high ground west bank along the back channel.  Blue holes are formed during a raging flooding river when the current drops over an obstruction such as a pile of driftwood and carves out a hole on the downstream side.  When the river drops it leaves an isolated kettle hole in which the muddy water eventually clears and becomes an isolated swim pool.  They are the very best swimming in the Mississippi Delta and yet most Deltans have never seen one, much less swam in one.


Blue holes created in the middle of sandbars quickly drain & dry as the river drops.  But this creates the setting for the ideal blue hole.  Best scenario with blue holes occurs when the river returns to higher water levels and the water seeps through the sandbar, becoming filtered as it does, and fills the hole with a delightful crystal clear blue water.  I’ve heard some old timers say that it’s actually a blew hole, as in the scouring water blew the hole out of the mud.  Either way, blue holes are seasonal events (that is the seasonal advance and fall of river level).  They fill up with water during rises, but you have to catch them before the muddy water overtops their sides and spills in and ruins the clear water.  


The middle high ground of Island 62 is composed of lines of willows, elders, maples and  cottonwoods growing atop a series of parallel dunes with low hollows in between, some of which become blue holes when the conditions are right.  Above 40 HG these dunes become the only remaining dry ground on the island.  You will have to paddle hard and search carefully over the foamy river surface to locate them as you come around Old Town Bend above the wide open channel above Is 62.  At high water it’s well over a mile wide, and sometimes feels like you are entering a broad bay leading to one of the seven seas.  Mulberries and dewberries thrive on Island 62.  If the conditions are right April is mulberry month and May is dewberry.  You can pick ripe mulberries by the mouthful right out your canoe or kayak, or save them to add to pancakes or other camp delights.  I’ve been warned not to eat mulberries growing out of flooded forests during high water for fear of contamination by pollutants, but I’ve never experienced any detrimental effects, and never heard of anyone else the same.  What I have noticed highwater or not is that each mulberry tree produces fruit of distinct flavor.  Like wines from different regions of Napa Valley, the mulberry seems to be highly variable.


The Great Flood of 2011 completely raked the top end of Island 62 of its deep sands and exposed a strange landscape of big-sized gravel and other large objects.  Most highwaters deposit sand on the beach.  Sandbars depend on flooding events for the regeneration.  But the superflood of 2011 was so violent instead of building up the sandbar it tore it away.  Most big island sandbars are intact.  But what used to be the low bar at the very top end of Island 62 has been scraped clean of sand and left a skeleton of mud, tree trunks & the biggest odd chunks of mud rock & etc I’ve ever seen.  A moonscape.  Campers, not to worry: at higher water levels the water once again reaches the pristine sand above.

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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
St. Francis to Helena
652.5 LBD Friars Point Landing (Unimproved)
652 – 650 LBD Friars Point Island
671 – 673 LBD St. Francis Bar
670 LBD St. Francis Dikes
669 LBD Flower Lake Dikes
668 RBD (A View Of) Crowley’s Ridge
668 – 663 RBD Buck Island (Prairie Point Towhead)
665.5 LBD Trotter’s Pass
663 RBD Helena Harbor
Helena Boat Ramps  
663 RBD Helena-West Helena
Quapaw Canoe Company – Helena Outpost  
661 Helena Bridge (Hernando De Soto Bridge – US HWY 49)
657 Yazoo Pass
Helena to Island 63
663 LBD Leaving Helena Harbor
Fleeted Barges  
Small Towns in Harbors  
Buoys and Other Stationary Objects  
Highlights of Civilizations  
Wild Miles  
Pollution Within the Helena Industrial Reach  
661.6 Helena Bridge (Hernando De Soto Bridge – US HWY 49)
657 LBD Yazoo Pass
How to Get Into the Old Entrance of the Yazoo Pass  
LBD Alternate Route to Vicksburg: Yazoo Pass
Yazoo Pass Mileage  
Rivers & Robert Johnson  
656 LBD East Motezuma Bar
657 – 654 RBD Montezuma Towhead
654.7 LBD Montezuma Landing
Shuttle Route Montezuma to Clarksdale  
652 LBD Friars Point
652.5 LBD Friars Point Landing (Unimproved)
652 – 650 LBD Friars Point Island
Beavers on the Lower Mississippi River  
652.2 RBD Kangaroo Point
648 LBD Horseshoe
646 – 649 RBD Dewberry Island 61
646 – 642 Old Town Bend
641 – 635 LBD Island 62
640.5 – 637 LBD Island 63
640.5 LBD Entrance to Top End of Island 63 Chute
637.5 LBD Entrance Into Bottom End of Island 63 Chute
637 LBD Back Channel Island 63
Quapaw Landing  
Island 63 to Hurricane
Muddy Waters Wilderness  
637 LBD Back Channel Island 63
Quapaw Landing  
Old Levee at Quapaw  
Levee Break Below Quapaw Landing  
Great Flood of 2011  
637.5 LBD Island 63 Chute
636 LBD Burke’s Point
The Flanking Maneuver  
634 RBD Modoc Old River Lake
632 LBD Robson Towhead
632.5 RBD Fair Landing
Jackson Cutoff  
Sunflower Cutoff  
625.6 RBD Mouth of the Mellwood Lake
624 – 627 LBD Sunflower Dikes
Diving Duck  
624.5 LBD Mouth of De Soto Lake
621 – 624 LBD Jug Harris Towhead
620.8 RBD Mouth of the Chute of Island 68
619 – 621 LBD Island 68
619 – 621 LBD Island 67
619.6 BD Wood Cottage
620 – 617 RBD Old Levee at Knowlton
616 LBD Knowlton Crevasse
619 – 609 RBD Island 69
615.5 RBD Island 69 Old Back Channel
616 – 614 LBD Cession’s Towhead
610 LBD Hurricane Pint (Dennis Landing)
Hurricane to Rosedale
605 – 610 LBD Island 70
The River Mirage Effect  
604 – 601 LBD Henrico Sandbar
603 – 597 Scrubgrass Bend
601.5 – 598 LBD Smith Point Sandbar
600.5 LBD Entrance
598 LBD Exit
Secret Channel Behind Smith Point Sandbar  
599 RBD Mouth of the White River
The White River  
Montgomery Point Lock & Dam  
At the Mouth of the White River  
How Does a Lock Work?  
Arkansas River: Little Rock, Fort Smith, Tulsa  
White River National Wildlife Refuge  
597.5 – 580 RBD Big Island
596 – 594 Victoria Bend
592.1 LBD Terrence Landing
597.5 RBD Entrance
591 LBD Exit
RBD Near Mile 3 of the Old Channel of the White  
Wreck of the Victor?  
Old Channel of the White  
Arkansas City Gage (AG)  
591 – 587 LBD Great River Road State Park
587 – 584.5 LBD Malone Field (Barge Fleeting Area)
594.5 LBD Mouth of the Rosedale Harbor
Rosedale Harbor  
Rosedale, Mississippi  
Rosedale to Arkansas City
Arkansas City Gage  
585 – 580 RBD Arkansas Bar
580 RBD Arkansas River
Paddling Past the Mouth of the Arkansas  
A Detour Up & Down the Arkansas  
Island Hopping  
The Floating Sensation  
Circumnavigation of the Big Island (52 Miles; 5-7 Days)  
Below the Arkansas Confluence  
581 – 576 LBD Prentiss Sandbar
578.4 RBD Napoleon Light
574.5 LBD Mouth of Lake Whittington
575.8 RBD Caulk Eddy
575 – 572.5 RBD Caulk Neck Bar
576 – 572 Caulk Neck Cutoff
572 – 567 Cypress Bend
Cypress Bend – Pallid Sturgeon  
571 – 567 Catfish Point Bar
568 RBD Chicot Landing
Reading Google Maps  
Approaching Choctaw Island  
Choctaw Island Geomorphology  
564 – 558 Chocktaw Bar Island
Note on Low-Water Camping  
Arkansas City Boat Ramp  
561.7 LBD Easton Landing – Mounds Boat Ramp
560.5 LBD Mounds Landing
Addendum: Take-Out in Greenville or Lake Village  
Best Campsites Along the Lower Mississippi Water Trail  
End of Trail  
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