The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

RBD 632.5 Fair Landing


Big eddy found RBD at the base of the bend, good sheltered place within eddy to pull into for quick exit from river, good place to seek quick respite from passing tow or approaching storms out of the north.  Oftentimes big billowing boils and side-line whirlpools erupting from along eddy line.  Follow eddy outwards and then jump into swirling curve of the eddy as opportunity allows.  Follow eddy back into landing.  Often muddy.  NOT a good campsite.  Midnight visitors.  Unkept Public Landing, accessible by vehicles only in higher water levels.  Always a possible portage exit however and should be employed as emergency exit if needed.  Access by vehicle from Arkansas 44 via Helena, south through Elaine, get on levee one mile beyond and follow levee south to Fair Landing (N34.257784,W-90.838223).  Check google maps for more details or inquire locally.


Continuing on downstream past Fair Landing the paddler is rewarded with an interesting view of two small willow islands situated above the sprawling beaches of Island 64, which can be seen behind, and is probably the finest camping in the area.  At low water levels you must maintain main channel to reach Is 64 due to a series of wing dams that reach out from RBD to keep the water flow focused for towboat navigation.  However above 20 HG you can ride the current bank right and find passage through the smaller splinter islands and then ferry cross over to the top end of Island 64.


RBD 630-627.5 Island 64

[CLICK HERE: Map of Island 64, Mellwood Lake, DeSoto Lake]

Best Camping in the area, but also a beautiful picnic site, or a convenient place to stop and stretch your legs.  A wide back channel opens up around 10HG and runs strong at any water levels above HG 20. Giant sandbars sprawl down either channel from the top end of this Island, at low water you might look for a sheltered spot following the sand down to the treeline, at medium water back channel boasts the best camping.  At higher water levels (above 35HG) spectacular campsites are located throughout the stands of willows and cottonwoods atop the highest plateau of sand mid island top end.  Sketchy campsites at flood stage, the entire Island goes under water at HG48.  As with any of the big islands on the Lower Mississippi be sure to set camp well above expected water line during your stay and be sure to account for possible waves from passing tows.  Listen to NOAA forecasts and choose your campsite according to any incoming storms or prevailing winds.  There has been many a sandbar camp upset by the violent front line winds preceding severe storm systems.  [CLICK HERE: Picking a good Campsite]


The writer Sean Rowe rafted the Mississippi River on a 12×24 foot raft in 1982/83.  He died and his ashes were spread in the river near island 64 in 2010 and a giant wooden monument is hung in a cottonwood tree near the top end of island 64 bearing the words UTRAM BIBIS?  ANDAM UN ANDAM? which translates of which do you drink?  the water or the wave? — a question all paddlers could ask themselves as they camp here or paddle on by for destinations downstream.


Island 64 is worthy of exploration.  If you set up a base camp it would make a fascinating circumnavigation which would take you around the island through its various land forms and habitats including: broad beaches & sandbars, wind-sculpted dunes, muddy banks, flood-prone willow forests and bottomland hardwood forests, the latter are all situated atop a long ridge running the length of the wooded section of the island along its East bank.  Watch for and avoid the nesting Least Tern during late spring & summer.  You will also want to avoid large clumps of poison ivy which festoon certain parts of the island, but seem to be especially prolific around all of the woody places at the top end of the island, around the bases of most if not all of the stands of cottonwoods, and have managed to make their own bushy hotspots in a series of clumps throughout.   A modern day Brer Rabbit might seek to be thrown into one of these bushes.  [CLICK HERE: Poison Ivy].  On full moon nights the sandbar glows like an alpine snowfield.  On moonless nights the stars glisten and the Milky Way can be clearly seen like a stain of spilt milk across the center of the sky.  You are on the edge of  one of the deepest roadless areas in the mid south and the night skies are almost as dark as Western skies.  Wood fires are okay on the Mississippi River, but practice Leave No Trace principals by removing all evidence of your camp and your fire, packing your trash, and burying all human waste at least 200 feet away from the water’s edge and in a hole at least one foot deep.  Other Leave No Trace principals you’ll want to practice include Leave What You Find, Respect Wildlife and Be Considerate of Other Visitors.  [CLICK HERE: Leave No Trace]

Leave A Comment

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