The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

LBD 624.5 Mouth of DeSoto Lake

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

Similar to the mouth of Mellwood Lake but longer, almost a mile from the river to the open lake.    Any paddler intending to enter DeSoto Lake (possible take-out) will have to begin planning miles upstream, inspect maps and start your route as you leave the bottom end of Island 64 before the first of the Sunflower Dikes.  At medium and high water levels the main channel of the river will thrust you outwards to the Arkansas side.  As result you will have to either hug the Mississippi side and make a run over the sometimes turbulent Sunflower Dikes, or you will be required to make a very strong ferry crossing below the last dike (opposite Mellwood at 625.6).  At low water you will have to paddle beyond the last of the sandy islands growing around the Sunflower Dikes (see above) and then cut back upstream into the becalmed waters behind.  Like all river connections the Mouth of DeSoto Lake remains hidden until you are right on it or are approaching from just the right angle.  There are several public use boat ramps (and many private ones) on DeSoto Lake, most easily accessed is Hillhouse Landing.  Viable start place or end place for any paddler.  Stillwater paddling across lake, but if you want to see wildlife, especially birds, turtles and deer, the effort will be rewarded.


LBD 621-624 Jug Harris Towhead

Following the main channel past Mellwood Lake the river is thrust outwards by a prominent point below the 624.8 light for a crossing back to the Mississippi side.  If you maintain this channel you will enjoy a fast ride on a boiling tongue of water past an eddy below this point and you can make a run down the (green) buoy line alongside the Ludlow Dikes.  Jug Harris Towhead is found RBD a low island, submerged above 30HG, excellent low water camping, gravel bar emerges top end below 15HG.  There is a line of trees growing atop a ridge center island that is bisected by a low spot near mile 622 which can make an excellent low-water camp, but the area is backed by a hunting camp so don’t be surprised if you have visitors on 4-wheel drive.  At higher water levels you can paddle over the topmost Ludlow Dikes and enjoy the back channel of Jug Harris.


RBD 620.8 Mouth of the Chute of Island 68

Island 68 is completely enveloped by the forests surrounding Jug Harris, but its mouth can be accessed at all but low water levels.  Adventurous paddlers will enjoy a glimpse into a primeval world through this narrow chute which opens up into a lake beyond.  I’ve seen many poisonous snakes here (primarily copperheads) and gators in the shallow lake beyond.  Also, I’ve found Bear tracks in the mud.


LBD 619-621 Island 67

Designated Left Bank only because the center line of the river crowds the Arkansas shore around Wood Cottage (619.6).  This resplendent sun-drenched island sits middle river with big flowing channels on either side, a very deep main channel that gets crushed towards the shore and a shallower back channel that is open until lower water levels, shuts completely off around 10HG.


As you approach from up river Island 67 seems to dance on the top of the river mid channel equidistant from either bank.  In the full sun it shimmers like a sail boat viewed over the sea.  In cloudy weather it reminds one of a moody scene from Ireland or the Aleutian Peninsula.  This is a place filled with endless light and the colors of the sky and the water.  The island is mostly sand with a few muddy patches that come and go according to the fluctuations of the river currents and water level.  Outdoor artists like Walter Anderson would have loved Island 67.  It sits somewhere between heaven and earth perched on the face of the biggest river in North America. 


Island 67 sits far enough away from forests on either side that there are less mosquitoes and few predators.  But also no deer or other mammals.  At low water coyotes sometimes cross the sandbars in search of midnight snacks washed up by the river.  The nesting Least Tern loves the remoteness of this island, and its also the favorite nesting site for Canada Geese.  Paddlers ought to avoid camping here during Goose nesting season (April-June).  If you make landing and find goose eggs, please don’t camp.  Their preferred nesting is under the willows straddling the highest dunes.  The sensitive Canada geese will easily abandon nesting sites — and your conscience will have to bear the weight of dozens of unborn goslings.


Of course this openness leaves Island 67 subject to storms, wind and any severe weather.  Choose landings accordingly, and make campsites only when necessary.  Always tie down your vessel in any landing subject to wind, waves, and changing water levels.  You will have a very long swim if you lose your vessel here!

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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