The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail


Mile 1.2 Upper Vicksburg Harbor


Watch for industrial and commercial traffic coming in and out of this harbor which includes oil and chemical refineries and Anderson Tully lumber operations.  Ergon Refinery dock at mouth of harbor.


Mile 2.8 Centennial Lake Entrance

32.373972, 90.89059

Approx. 2.8 miles downstream from the King’s Ferry Landing, you’ll see the entrance to Centennial Lake on your right.  When less than 20NG, the Yazoo River typically has a nice white sandbar here that is exposed; good for camping or a nice break point for a snack and/or relax.  If the river is higher than 13NG, it is possible to go into beautiful Centennial Lake through the chute that connects to the Yazoo River.  The chute winds 0.8 miles in a narrow channel (30 feet wide low water / 100 feet wide high water) surrounded the trees.  It is quiet, full of wildlife and the occasional alligator can be seen here.


Centennial Lake


Centennial Lake is 1.5 miles long and 0.4 miles wide and known for great fishing and calm waters.   An occasional Jet Ski or ski boat will come to the lake to play.  The state boundary of Louisiana and Mississippi runs right down the middle of the lake.  During periods of high water you can cut east through the trees over to DeSoto Lake.


DeSoto Lake Cutoff

32.350174, 90.887597


Secret Cutoff through DeSoto Lake from Centennial Lake to reach downtown.  Only possible when the Mississippi River is higher than 33 on the Vicksburg Gage.  Approximate route shown on custom google map  Follow your own intuition and the current state of vegetation and piles of driftwood for actual route. 

Vicksburg National Military Park


Fort Hill and the Vicksburg National Military Park are directly downstream and in full view from the Centennial Lake chute confluence.  You are 1.2 miles to the Fort Hill cannons as the crow flies, and so you are paddling exactly where Union gunboats would have been nervously steaming through this area in 1863.   Paddlers can’t help but imagine the anxiety the ship’s crew felt as cannon balls rained down upon them from the high strategic Vicksburg bluff in the Civil War.  Note: The 1861 ironclad U.S.S. Cairo gunboat was found 2 miles above the King’s Ferry Landing during low water, and was moved to the Military Park where an exhibit has been built about it.  There are still some 29 sunken boats from the Civil War known to be in the Yazoo River.


Mile 3.7 Fort Hill Bend


The Yazoo River takes a 90 degree right turn at the base of Fort Hill as it slams into the Loess bluffs of Vicksburg.  Left bank opening is the entrance to the Vicksburg Harbor which is full of industries, tows and barges.  You should keep a careful eye out for towboats, workboats and crewboats from here to the takeout.

Mile 4.5 Downtown Vicksburg


The city of Vicksburg rises out of the trees bank left in the last 400 yards of the route.  The Old (Train) Depot Museum is first to make appearance, and is one of the few buildings here that is not protected by the flood walls.   High up the bluff, you’ll see the 1859 Old Courthouse Museum with its clock tower visible like a lighthouse.

Mile 5.1 The Vicksburg City Front Boat Ramp

32.350836, 90.885032

(Latitude: 32°21'2.97N, Longitude: 90°53'6.15W)


Left bank descending.   Concrete boat ramp and in good condition.  Often used by fishing boats and workboats.  But plenty of space for paddlers who can take out anywhere along the cobblestones or the mud below.   There is plenty of parking on the concrete slabs and the Vicksburg Police Department patrols through here regularly. There are steel chain links embedded in the parking area concrete slabs, which allow big boats to anchor via steel cables.  These also allow canoeists and kayakers to lock up boats in the parking lot without fear of theft -- if you wanted to leave it alone while you retrieve your vehicle or go sightseeing past the flood walls.  The flood walls on the side that face the city have beautiful murals painted on it.


After a long hot day of paddling, go across the street from the boat ramp to the Catfish Row Water Park and rinse off in the water fountains.  …A refreshing ending to a great day!


Centennial Lake Roundtrip


This is a 5 to 7 mile paddle, easy for beginners and takes 2-4 hours to complete.  One of the best features about this paddle trail is the Put-In and Take-Out is the same location, where you parked at the Vicksburg City Front Boat Ramp!  This route is only possible if the river is above 33 feet on the Vicksburg Gage.   After leaving the boat ramp, paddle directly across the Yazoo and downstream approx. 500 feet.   There will be a small opening on the right in the woods.   32.350174, 90.887597.  On Google Earth (Image date: 10-28-2012), the shortcut (dirt path) is easy to see in this low water picture.  This shortcut will take you to DeSoto Lake.  In less than 5 minutes, you can leave the city and be surrounded by nature.    Paddle to the far Southwest corner of DeSoto Lake and you’ll find the shortcut to Centennial Lake.  Paddle 1 mile to the Northeast corner of Centennial lake and you’ll come to the chute that connects the lake to the Yazoo River.  0.8 mile long chute winds down a narrow channel (30 feet wide low water / 100 feet wide high water) through the trees.  It is quiet, full of wildlife and the occasional alligator can be seen here.  When you get to the Yazoo take a right and return downstream 2.2 miles back to where you started at the Vicksburg City Front Boat Ramp.