The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

665.5 LBD Trotter’s Pass

A beautiful side trip into a primeval world where you can paddle as far as you feel comfortable doing so.  Round Trip: paddle into Trotter’s Pass and then turn around and paddle back and continue your journey downstream the main channel. 


How to find Trotters: As you are coming downstream around the outside edge of Buck Island keep to the far outside edge of the Flower Lake Bend and watch carefully as you paddle for the tiny slot opening at approximately mile 665.5.  You probably won’t see it until you’re right on top of it.  At low water it’s just a narrow muddy inlet that the local beavers maintain for their use.  During low water make landing and inspect by foot.  The water starts flowing inwards (on a rising river) at around 12HG.  At 16HG there will be a twenty to thirty foot wide channel through which you can easily paddle up into Trotter Lake, although sometimes this channel is blocked by massive piles of driftwood.  Almost always the persistent paddler can find a way around these rafts of driftwood, but be prepared for adventure if you proceed! 


Also known as Old River Chute and Trotter’s Landing.  This is an old channel of the Mississippi, now cut off by levees, which winds its way parallel to the current main channel up to Trotter’s Lake.  During high water levels access all the way north to Tunica Lake could be afforded more adventurous paddlers via Nail’s Bayou, which would take you in a deep woods route behind the now land-locked Helena island.  Bring your machete and GPS.


For more description about the phenomena of the River Pass:

[CLICK HERE: River Passes]


663 RBD Helena Harbor

[CLICK HERE: Map of the Helena Harbor]


Paddler’s Note: the most prominent landmark in the Helena area is the Helena Bridge, but don’t go there (yet)!  The Helena Harbor is almost two miles above the bridge.  If you’re looking to make a landing for access to boat ramps & downtown Helena, be sure to turn into the harbor!  (Also, this is the Old Helena Harbor — not to be confused with the more recently constructed Helena Slackwater Harbor, which is in the middle of nowhere 15 miles downstream)


You may not see the Harbor opening until you are right on top of it, but you will see the signs of civilization rising above the treeline with radio towers, cell towers, docking facilities, grain elevators and such.  Closer up look for the Mile 663 Green Mile Marker (Green Square).  The harbor opening is 200 yards downstream on the right bank descending.  You will see a flat parkland, and a road, and then a boardwalk reaching out to the river’s edge.  This is the Helena River Park.  You can camp in the willows here during low water.  Low water results in a rocky climb over the rip-rap to get there, but bank full (35HG) you can sail into the trees and pick out the best spots.  During King Biscuit Festival hundreds of campers fill the park and enjoy live blues — annually held during the 2nd full weekend of October.   The Helena River Park was recently upgraded with a series of interpretive panels designed and implemented under the oversight of the National Audubon Society.


Helena Boat Ramps 

[CLICK HERE: Map of the Helena Harbor]


There are two landings in the Helena Harbor.  Both are located near the top end of the harbor, one on each side.  You can use either one, but in general the one to the West is more usable at low-med water levels.  It’s less muddy, better maintained, less steep — and much wider.  But it is also further away from town and sometimes busy with unfriendly fishermen and other motorized vessels who aren’t always courteous to paddlers.  Also the East Ramp goes completely underwater and the access road is closed at 40 HG.   At high water levels you will have to make landing on the West Ramp.


If you are making a short foray into downtown Helena you might want to pull over to the East Ramp, the one closest to the downtown levee.  It’s narrow, short, steep and often gooey with the famous sticky & stinky mud of the Lower Miss, but at least you won’t have to elbow your way in through motorized traffic, and it’s a quick walk over the levee to town.  There is talk in Helena about expanding this ramp specifically to accommodate paddlers.  Helena’s Strategic Plan identifies the need to become better oriented towards eco-tourists like hikers, bikers and paddlers.  With some simple implementation Helena could become the paddler’s destination on the Lower Mississippi, and improving this ramp would be a giant step in the right direction.  Historic Cherry Street runs north to south parallel and directly behind the levee, and the Delta Cultural Center is the first building you’ll see and want to visit.  Be sure to hide or safeguard your canoe or kayak!  Carry any valuables with you!


On the other hand the best vehicle access is the West Ramp.  If you are starting or ending your journey here and someone is dropping you off (or picking you up), drive to the West Ramp (via Perry street through the Helena River Park).  If you plan to stay longer and camp, or are concerned about over-night security, the local police are directed to close a security gate to the access road (for cars) after mid-night.  Call (870) 338-5555.

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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