The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

Pickett Dikes Back Channel

Only possible during high water.  Good route to follow in high water for landing at Tunica Riverpark Museum.  Stay LBD below Cat Island and follow bankside trees as close as possible for wildlife and scenic interest.


Tunica Riverpark Museum Boat Ramp

LBD 699.5

Wide well maintained boat ramp.  Best access in North Mississippi.  Best year-round boat ramp between Memphis and Helena.  Besides the Memphis Yacht Club this is the only place on the Lower Mississippi that you could possibly leave your vehicle overnight without fear of it being broken into.  Check with museum security first.  Possible ramp fee.


Tunica Riverpark Museum

Must-stop for any paddlers passing through this area.  Interpretive exhibits designed by author John Barry (Rising Tide), aquarium, gift shop, snacks and wetlands trail.  Contact: 866-517-4837


Basket Bar Dikes/Porter Lake Dikes

If you’re not making a landing at the Tunica Riverpark Museum you can stay RBD and jump behind a long series of beautiful islands along the Porter Lake Dikes and Basket Bar Dikes, with creamy sandbars throughout and thriving colonies of redwing blackbirds, terns and many waterfowl species (in season).  Wilderness camping here is partially ruined by the proximity of the casinos, but only at night time when their stabbing lights flood the skies.   During the daytime you hardly notice their presence, and when on the backsides of the islands you won’t see or hear them.


Lost Lake Pass

RBD 693.8

Just below the Basket Bar light you can duck into a steep-walled ravine leading to Lost Lake.  Lost Lake is the all that remains today of the Commerce Cut-Off (see below).  Deep swampy forests full of vines and exotic flowers fill this ravine making it feel like the land of the lost.  Intermittent connection to Lost Lake through a narrow drainage, steep and muddy at low water, passable by canoe/kayak in higher water levels.


703 Buck Island (No. 53)

Not to be confused with the other Buck Island (Prairie Point Towhead) located at mile 660 above Helena, Arkansas.   This Buck Island has migrated from right bank to left bank, and although it is firmly planted amidst all of the Tunica County casinos, it is considered Arkansas.   Marion Bragg reported in Historic Names and Places: “John James Audubon wandered over Buck Island in December, 1820, marveling over the large number of ducks, geese, and seagulls he saw in the area.  During the Civil War, Buck Island was the scene of a clever little smuggling operation. Although Union gunboats were constantly patrolling the area, the rebels somehow managed to quietly ferry across 12 wagonloads of arms and ammunition at Buck Island in 1864. By the time Union forces became aware of what was going on, rebels and supplies had all vanished.  In June, 1866 the steamer City of Memphis exploded and burned opposite Buck Island. On her last trip up the river, the big boat had run aground just above Vicksburg, but a high wind and heavy rains had dislodged her from the sandbar and she had hurried on upstream to her doom. Newspapers reported that about 60 people lost their lives in the explosion and fire. The City of Memphis was an old boat at the time of her demise. She had been well-known and extremely popular in her day. In 1858, she had carried so many passengers that a daily newspaper published on board proved to be a successful and lucrative venture.”

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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
Memphis to Tunica
736 LBD Memphis, Tennessee, Mud Island Harbor
Buoys and Docks  
Floating Underneath a Bridge  
734.7 Lower Bridges/Engineer’s Bar
734.7 The Frisco Bridge
734.7 The Harahan Bridge
734.7 The Ghost Bunker
734.7 The Old Bridge (Memphis & Arkansas Bridge)
733 President’s Island
Fleeted Barges  
732 LBD Hole in the Wall ##2
727.3 TVA Transmission Lines
727.3 RBD The Wreck of the Raft
Tennessee Valley Authority  
725.5 LBD Entrance to McKellar Lake
7 Miles Up harbor Riverside Park Marina On McKellar Lake  
724 T.E. Maxon Wastewater Treatement Facility
Paddler’s Routes Below Memphis  
727 – 712 Dismal Point/Ensley Bar/Cow Island Bend Area
726 – 717 Armstrong/Dismal Point/Ensley Bar
720 Josie Harry Bar
718 – 713 Cow Island Bend
Goodbye Tennessee, Hullo Mississippi  
The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta and the Blues  
711 – 705 Cat Island No.50
710.8 LBD Starr Landing
712 – 695 Paddler’s Routes Around Cat Island and the Casinos
Pickett Dikes Back Channel  
639.8 RBD Tunica Riverpark Museum Boat Ramp
Tunica Riverpark Museum  
Basket Bar Dikes/Porter lake Dikes  
693.8 RBD Lost Lake Pass
703 Buck Island (No. 53)
701 Gold Strike Casino
700 Fitzgerald’s Casino
Tunica to Helena
700 Basket Bar
Paddler’s Routes Through Commerce and Mhoon Bends  
695 – 690 Commerce Bend
692.5 RBD Peter’s Boat Ramp
690 Rabbit Island
Switching to thhe Helena Gage  
Dikes and Water Levels  
687.5 Mhoon Landing
689 – 685 Mhoon Bar
690 – 683 Mhoon Bend
682 – 679 Whiskey Chute/Walnut Bend
680 Whitehall Crevasse
Paddler’s Routes Below Walnut Bend  
Stumpy Island, Shoo Fly Bar and Tunica Lake  
Main Channel  
677.4 LBD Tunica Runout
Behind Shoo Fly Bar  
Stumpy Island  
Walnut Bend Boat Ramp  
Tunica Lake Boat Ramp  
679 RBD Walnut Bend Boat Ramp
679 – 677 Hardin Cut-Off
677.4 LBD Pass Into Tunica Lake
677 – 676 Shoo Fly Bar
677 – 674 Stumpy Island
674.5 Harbert Point
672 RBD Mouth of the St. Francis River
Primitive Landing at the Mouth of the St. Francis Rive – Conditions  
RBD 3 Miles up St. Francis River Three Mile Ramp
Daytrip: St. Francis to Helena  
St. Francis to Helena: Paddler’s Descriptions  
For Intermedite Paddlers: Right Bank Route  
For Expert Paddlers: Left Bank Route  
St. Francis River  
671 – 673 LBD St. Francis Bar
669 LBD Flower Lake Dikes
668 RBD (A View of) Crowley’s Ridge D
668-663 RBD Buck Island (Prairie Point Towhead)
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  
Helena’s “Low Road” Into St. Francis National Forest  
King Biscuit Blues Festival (2nd Week of October)  
Helena to Friars
661.6 Helena Bridge (Hernando De Soto Bridge – US HWY 49)
663 RBD Leaving Helena Harbor
Fleeted Barges  
Small Towns in Harbors  
Buoys and Other Stationary Objects  
Highlights of Civilization  
Pollution Within the Helena Industrial Reach  
661.6 Helena Bridge (Hernando De Soto Bridge – US HWY 49)
657 LBD  
How to Get Into the Old Entrance of the Yazoo Pass  
LBD: Alternate Route to Vicksburg: Yazoo Pass  
Yazoo Pass Milage  
Rivers & Robert Johnson  
656 LBD East Montezuma Bar
657 – 654 RBD Montezuma Towhead
654.7 LBD Montezuma Landing
Shuttle Route Montezuma to Clarksdale  
652 LBD Friars Point
652.2 LBD Friars Point Landing (Unimproved)
What’s to Come Further Downstream  
Middle Delta 663 – 537 HELENA TO GREENVILLE
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