The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

669 LBD Flower Lake Dikes

Above 20HG (medium water) you can paddle behind several narrow islands found on the Mississippi shoreline left bank descending which are formed over the St. Francis and Flower Lake Dikes.  Stay LBD and paddle hard to cut into the narrow openings leading behind these islands for reprieve from the wind and towboat traffic and gain some relief from the vast & sometimes overwhelming “hugeness” of the main channel.  Simultaneously enjoy some close up views of wildlife and the forests found in this area.  Possible camping on dunes which accumulate on these islands, especially at the bottom end of the Flower Lake Dikes Island, near Mile 668.  Only accessible during Medium to High Water.  During Low Water a tall rip-rap rock dike emerges which forms a solid wall almost a mile long, and this prevents paddlers from reaching the Mississippi LBD shore.  However, at the end of this long rock wall you can eddy around the backside and gain landing in a completely protected harbor formed by the same wall.  Landing here is possible for a picnic, rest, or a creative campsite within this strange & inspiring river-scape.


668 RB (a view of) Crowley’s Ridge D

As you are approaching the top end of Buck Island you will be welcomed to the area with a grand view of Crowley’s Ridge.  Helena is located at the Southern end of Crowley’s Ridge, “Where the Ridge meets the River” (still 7 miles downstream).  Crowley’s Ridge is something of a geographic anomaly in an otherwise pancake flat floodplain.  In geologic history the Mississippi once flowed on the other side of the ridge, the western side, and the Ohio commanded the eastern.  They didn’t meet until downstream somewhere near present-day Vicksburg.  St. Francis National Forest, the smallest forest in the National Forest system, straddles the last 30 miles of the ridge, and protects this strange landscape of steep ridges and viney tangled bottoms.  Crowley’s Ridge runs north all the way up to the Missouri Ozarks, and provides high ground for the cities Marianna, Forest City and Jonesboro; and for the paddler  significantly so at its southern terminus where sits the happy & dry city of Helena (as described more in full below)


668-663 RBD Buck Island (Prairie Point Towhead)

Buck Island was saved from auction block by the American Land Conservancy in 2008 and is now protected by a permanent wetlands easement through the NRCS, which means that it will never be forested again, and our children will one day enjoy the big woods that used to predominate in the Mississippi Valley.  Now managed by Arkansas Game & Fish, you can camp or picnic here, and fish and (in season).

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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