The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

241 – 239 LBD Thomas Point (Mallet Bend)

Warning: Hairpin Bend!  Blind Corner!  As you enter Mallet Bend around Thomas Point pay special attention to any signs of upstream traffic.  Ride the inside of the curve LBD as tightly as possible so that you can run to the shore quickly if needed.  You could also ride the far outside of the bend, but that would add another mile at least to your progress.


Upstream tows appear fast here — and they will be furious if they find a canoe or kayak blocking their passage, and probably run over a paddler caught in the wrong situation.  Usually the tow pilots have little margin for error in tight places like this, so give them wide berth.  Downstream tows also present paddlers an equally precarious predicament around Thomas Point, they have to make a complete turnabout within a 2 mile stretch of river.  They will be equally enraged if you get in their way.  The big tows, 42 barges or more, have to go into the flanking maneuver at Thomas Point.  If you see a tow coming to a standstill, backing up, stopping, backing some more, and then sitting in the water for long minutes, even a half hour or more, that is a tow making a flanking maneuver.  If you happen to get there simultaneous with them, you could easily pass them at the bend.  However, if they are completing the maneuver, you had better watch out.  Once they have swung the nose of the tow around and picked out the direction downstream, their big 3200 hp engines x 3 eight-foot brass propellers = 9600hp total propulsion will suddenly fire up and start edging downstream like a herd of buffalos.  You can tell when this point is reached when a cloud storm of thick black diesel smoke suddenly billows out of its smokestacks.


Thomas Point is a hairpin curve that makes good instruction for the bends to come downstream which will be swarming in towboats and work boats, but also be populated with fast-moving freighters.  For some geologic or hydrologic reason not understood, the bends of the SoLa river from here on downstream do not make smooth rounded curves like they do above here.  The bends come to sharp points, blind corners.  The river enters full throttle going one direction, say to the west, makes some chaotic swirly changes, and then exits in entirely the opposite direction, in this case going east-northeast.


239 – 235 Allendale Reach (Thomas Point to Wilkerson Point)

After zig-zagging through the hairpin corner Thomas Point the paddler comes around like a billiard ball into the final run downstream into the top end of the busiest port in North America (the port of greater Baton Rouge/New Orleans).  The river flows in a straight channel due east between Devil’s Swamp on the left and Pot Allen on the right, in a scene that looks like something you’d expect in Manaus Brazil, or some other industrial stretch along the Amazon.  There is nothing sophisticated about big industry here.  Rusty barges are scattered about in various states of use and ruin, and noisy worksites litter the banks, laid out with no particular grace or elegance.  Nothing but economy and access are in consideration here.  Same as any trashy river industry anywhere.  Fortunately the port activity begins calmly.  In this four mile stretch you can easily stay right bank and avoid the fleeted barges left bank.  Best line of travel: keep a healthy few hundred yards out from a couple of right bank construction sites and docking areas, the first being a barge repair facility at RBD 236.5 (TT Barge Services).


239 – 235 LBD Allendale Reach: Fleeted Barges

Stay with the faster water right bank, and avoid the fleeting petro and grain barges left bank descending 238 -235.  In other words, three miles of fleeted barges, or places that tows might getting ready to pull over and detach or re-attach barges for transport elsewhere.  Don’t be surprised if you see a tow/barge packet come to stop mid channel, float a long time, and then swing around end for end.  They are turning themselves around to come in for landing, and the fleeting along this stretch of river.


235.8 LBD Devil’s Swamp Bayou

The main entrance to Devil’s Swamp is through a deep steep muddy canyon (at low water) cut into the left bank shore, below and behind all of the fleeted barges near mile 235.8 LBD.   If you are interested in seeing Devil’s Swamp this access is easily accessible to any paddlers of any ability.  With an ever-vigilant eye out for approaching tows, go middle river and then paddle over towards the left shoreline, and watch for the opening.  It will be immediately recognizable when you spot a decrepit swamp-rat cabin that is falling into disrepair on the upstream side of the bayou.  Dive in below the fleeted barges wherever you get a safe opportunity, and paddle back upstream (sometimes behind the fleeted barges) to reach Devil’s Swamp opening.


The mouth of Devil’s Swamp Bayou (Bayou Baton Rouge) is usually obscured by rafts of barges. A small hunting camp on the upriver side is a good landmark to look for when searching for the small bayou. Devil’s Swamp Bayou (Bayou Baton Rouge) leads into Devil’s swamp with multiple branches for the paddler to explore. Devil’s Swamp is a prime example of “the very bottom,” in that you see the vitality of life growing directly above and off the dregs of life.


A hazardous waste disposal facility called Rollin’s Environmental Services (now Clean Harbors) was located adjacent to Devil’s Swamp in 1971 near the North end of Baton Rouge Harbor (also called the Baton Rouge Barge Canal). Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) were found to have moved off of the Rollin’s site and into Devil’s Swamp and Devil’s Swamp Lake, a small oxbow lake just North of the North end of Baton Rouge Harbor. EPA Region 6 has found concentrations of PCBs in the Rollins outfall ditch, Devil’s Swamp Lake, southern Devil’s Swamp, and southern Devil’s Swamp Bayou (Bayou Baton Rouge) ranging from 76 to 13,200 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg). The maximum allowable level in drinking water is 0. Other hazardous substances were also detected in the sediments and fish tissues. The most distant sediment sample was located 2.09 miles downstream of the Rollins outfall ditch, the downstream extent – beyond 2.09 miles – of PCB contamination attributable to Rollins has not been determined. Devil’s Swamp Lake is now a Superfund Site and possible cleanup measures are being examined by the EPA. Paddlers should not consume any fish caught in Devil’s Swamp Lake, Devil’s Swamp Bayou (Bayou Baton Rouge), Baton Rouge Harbor, or the Mississippi River in the area around where Bayou Baton Rouge and Baton Rouge Harbor enters the Mississippi River. (LMRK)


Despite its unpleasant past Devil’s swamp is still a beautiful area and can make for an interesting detour for paddlers.  The eastern fork of the bayou flows through a nice bottomland hardwood forest and the western fork flows through a more open swamp with a number of large old gnarly cypress trees.


Devil’s Swamp is a prime example of life at “the very bottom,” in that you witness the vitality of life growing directly above and literally off the dregs of life.   Devil’s Swamp was the dumping site for a Baton Rouge hazardous waste incinerator, and is at present being considered as a US Superfund site for the resulting radical mix of crazy carbon compounds, heavy metals, and everything else nasty and toxic to living creatures buried in its mud.  Take appropriate precautions within this basin.   Do you see two-headed frogs and pink cypress trees?  No, but don’t drink or swim in the water, and don’t eat any of the many edibles found here.   You do see all kinds of warty toads and frogs and fantastic foliage.  Swamp irises grace some of the man-made mounds of land in springtime.  Rare orchids have been found, and also bromeliads.  Some beautiful old cypress trees in some of the upper reaches of the bayou and its tributaries.    All old cypress trees look other-worldly regardless of where they are growing.

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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
Loess Bluffs 437 – 225 VICKSBURG TO BATON ROUGE
Vicksburg to Natchez
USFW and the LMRCC  
Bluz Cruz  
Vicksburg Services and Accommodations  
Putting In: Clay Street Landing / Yazoo River  
Down the Yazoo to the Mississippi  
437 Entering the Mississippi
437 Delta Point
437 Centennial Cutoff
434.5 LBD Ergon General Store (Tow Boat Supply)
437 – 435 LBD Walnut Hills (Mississippi Loess Bluff ##1)
Greatest Dust Storm Ever  
Bluff Beat  
The Nice Mississippi Loess Bluffs  
No Levees  
436.5 LBD City of Vicksburg Riverfront Park
435.7 LBD Vicksburg Bridges: US 80 and I-20
The Zen od Paddling the Big River  
Paddler’s Choices Below Vicksburg  
Crossing Over to Delta Point  
Vicksburg Bridge  
Main Channel LBD  
Main Channel RBD  
LBD Private Boat Ramp  
433.2 LBD Baxter Wilson Steam Plant
432 – 430 RBD Racetrack Towhead Back Channel
432 – 430 RBD Racetrack Towhead Main Channel
431 – 424 LBD Below Racetrack Dikes / Towhead
430 – 427 RBD Reid Bedford Bend
427.3 RBD Reid Bedford Point
426 LBD Letourneau Public Boat Launch
426.5 LBD Hennessey’s Bayou
426 LBD Letourneau
Palmyra / Togo / Middle Ground Island  
Paddling in the Port Gibson Area  
Main Channel Route  
425 LBD Entrance to Palmyra Lake Back Channel
Palmyra Lake Back Channel  
Hazard: Low Bridge Palmyra Lake  
416 RBD Togo Island Back Channel
414 RBD The Crossroads
408.5 LBD Big Black River
HWY 61 Boat Ramp  
407.8 LBD Grand Gulf State Park
Middle Ground Island Back Channel  
404 RBD Yucatan Ditch
405 – 401 RBD Coffee Point Dikes
423 RBD Diamond Cut-Off
421 – 419 RBD Newtown Bend Sandbar
419.6 LBD Lake Karnac
417 – 414 RBD Togo Island
416.5 LBD “Big Momma” Dike
418 – 413 RBD Big Black Island
417 – 414 RBD Togo Island Bend & Dikes
Mississippi River Dead End?  
414 RBD Palmyra – Togo Island Crossroads
Big Black Bluff, The Grand Gulp (Mississippi Loess Bluff ##2)  
410 RBD Middle Ground Island
Honeymoon Island  
404.8 RBD Port of Claiborne County
Phatwater Mississippi River Challenge Rip  
404.2 RBD Yucatan Ditch
399 LBD High Bluffs
395 LBD Bayou Pierre
Mississippi Water Levels  
Natchez Gage (NG)  
Water Levels and Dikes  
Using the Natchez Gage  
Louisiana Daytrip: St. Joseph to Waterproof  
396.4 RBD St. Joseph Boat Ramp
396.4 RBD Lake Bruin State Park
396.4 RBD Fish Tale Grill / Lake Bruin Lodge & Country Store
395 LBD Mouth of Bayou Pierre
Main Channel St. Jo to Waterproof  
RBD Med / High Water Route – Back Channel  
LBD Med / High Water Route – Back Channel  
392 RBD Bondurant Towhead
389 LBD Rodney Chute
384 LBD Spithead Towhead
Petit Gulf Hills – Mississippi Loess Bluff ##3  
394 LBD Bruinsburg Landing
392 LBD Rodney (Ghost Town)
390 – 389.5 RBD Brown’s Field Island
385.9 LBD Below Brown’s Field Wetlands
389 – 387 LBD Cottage Bend Islands
389 LBD Rodney Lake Side Trip
381 Waterproof Landing
381 – 374 RBD Waterproof Island
373 – 371 LBD Fairchild (Skull) Island
Natchez Bluffs  
The Great Sun – The Natchez People  
Adam Elliott, Natchez Outpost of the Quapaw Canoe Company  
370 LBD Greens Bayou
369 Highline
370 – 368 LBD Opposite Rifle Point
369 – 367.5 RBD Rifle Point
368 – 366 LBD Bluff Bars
367 LBD Devil’s Punchbowl
367.5 RBD Opening to Old River – Top End (Marengo Bend Lake)
367 – 365 LBD Remnants of Cypress Forest
365 LBD Opening to Old River – Bottom End (Merengo Bend Lake)
363.5 LBD Natchez-Under-The-Hill
Some Natchez Stories  
The Natchez Bluff – Mississippi Loess Bluff ##4  
Natchez to St. Francisville
363 Natchez Bridge
363 RBD Vidalia Boat Ramp
362.8 RBD Vidalia Boat Ramp (Lower)
361 LBD St. Catherine Creek(New Mouth)
360 – 356.5 RBD Natchez Islands
355 LBD Carthage Point
358 – 355 LBD Carthage Point Towhead
356.5 – 360 RBD Morville / Jeffries Landing
352.5 LBD St. Catherine National Wildlife Refuge
Wood Storks  
Wintering Waterfowl  
Alligator Gar  
Bottomland Harwood Forests  
352.5 – 346.5 LBD Opposite Warnicotte / Esperance Archipelago
348.6 RBD Esperance Landing
348 – 344 RBD Esperance Point
347.2 LBD Old Mouth of St. Catherine Creek
348 – 345 LBD Ellis Cliffs (Mississippi Loess Bluff ##5)
344 RBD Esperance Bottom
341.3 RBD Fairview / Old River
The Mamie S Barret  
346 – 341 Glasscock Cut-Off
341.1 LBD Washout Bayou / Homochitto River
340.1 RBD Oil Well & Boat Ramp
340 – 338 LBD Buck Island
338.5 – 334 RBD Fritz Island
340 – 332 Dead Man’s Bend
332 – 328 Jackson Point / Widow Graham Bend
326 RBD Union Point
325.5 – 322.5 RBD Palmetto Island
325 – 320 Three Rivers WMA and Red River NWR
323 LBD Artonish Boat Ramp
323 – 321 RBD Black Hawk Island
321 – 319 LBD Palmetto Bend
Alternate Route to the Gulf of Mexico: The Atchafalaya River  
The Atchafalaya  
316.3 RBD Hydro Intake – Old River Control Structure
Short History of the Old River Control Structure  
314.6 RBD Main Intake – Old River Control Structure
313 LBD Buffalo River (Old Mouth of the Homochito River)
Clark Creek Natural Area  
313.7 RBD Knox Landing
311.7 RBD Auxiliary Intake — Old River Control Structure
311.7 LBD Clark Creek
311.7 – 310 LBD Tunica Hills Below Clark Creek (Mississippi Loess Bluff ##6)
311 – 309 RBD Point Breeze
310.2 LBD Wilkinson Creek
306 LBD Welcome to Louisiana!
306 – 294 LBD Angola State Penitentiary
306 LBD Angola Ferry
304.5 – 303 LBD Shreve’s Bar
303.7 Old River Lock and Dam: Entrance to the Atchafalaya River
The Atchafalaya River: Best Rout to the Gulf  
306 – 302 Back Channel of Shreve’s Bar
306 – 302 RBD Main Channel of Shreve’s Bar
304 RBD Carr Point
302.8 RBD Torras Landing
302.5 – 298 LBD Hog Point Sandbar
299 – 298 LBD Hog Point Towhead
300.2 – 298 RBD Miles Bar Towhead
297 RBD Raccourci Runout / Monday Lake
295.5 RBD Leatherman Point
294.7 LBD Sugar Lake Bayou
293 LBD Tunica Bayou
293 – 291.5 LBD Tunica Hills (Mississippi Loess Bluffs ##7)
Tunica Hills WMA  
293 – 290 RBD Tunica Bar Towhead
291.9 LBD Little Hollywood
291.8 LBD Como Bayou
289.8 LBD Polly Creek
289.5 – 289 RBD Greewood Bar
287.5 LBD Greewood Dune
287.5 – 284 LBD Little Island
283.3 LBD Sebastopol
281.5 RBD Below Burnette Point
281.5 – 280.5 RBD New Tex Landing
281 – 278 LBD Morgan’s Bend (Iowa Point)
278.5 – 277.8 LBD Iowa Point Bottom End of Morgan’s Bar
279.6 – 279 RBD Morganza Spillway Entrance
278.8 RBD Cement Silo
277.2 RBD Morganza Crevasse
276.6 RBD Protected Dune
275.5 RBD Before Boies Point “Hidey Hole”
276 – 275 LBD Collapsing Muddy Banks
275 – 270 LBD Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge
Cypress-Tupelo Swamp  
Bottomland Harwood Forests  
Wading Birds  
Wintering Waterfowl  
273 – 270 RBD St. Maurice Island
274.4 LBD Hardwick’s Ditch / Access to the Co-Champion Cypress Tree
270 LBD Double Silo Hunting Club “Cajun Condo”
268.5 – 268 RBD Graveyard Landing
266.2 LBD Bayou Sara
266 LBD Old St. Francisville Ferry Landing
St. Francisville, LA  
St. Francisville History  
265.5 LBD Army Corps Work Ramp
265.5 LBD St. Francisville Mat Casting Field
264.8 LBD St. Francisville Boat Ramp
St. Francisville to Baton Rouge
Paddling Through the Narrows Below St. Francisville  
264.7 LBD Small Bayou
263 – 261 LBD Sandy Dunes Dugan Landing
263 RBD Big Cajun Power Plant I and II
261.8 John James Audubon (New Roads) Bridge
260.1 LBD Crown Vantage Outflow
259.9 LBD Transmontaigne Docking
259 RBD Big Cajun I Power Plant
259 – 256 LBD Fancy Point Towhead
257 RBD Hermitage Dune
256 – 255.5 LBD Fancy Point Sandbar
255.5 – 253.8 RBD Point Menoir
255.5 LBD Thompson Creek
255 LBD Georgia Pacific Port Hudson Paper Mill
257 RBD Hermitage Dune
Water Quality  
The Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper  
Environmental Reporting Phone Numbers  
255 – 254.2 LBD Thompson Creek Bluffs (Mississippi Loess Bluff ##8)
253.6 LBD Amoco Pipelnie Dock
252.2 – 246.5 LBD Profit Island
252.8 – 252.2 LBD Profit Island Chute (Entrance)
Profit Island Chute Weir  
Profit Island Chute (Industrial Area)  
250.3 RBD Bald Eagle Nest
250.2 RBD Wreckage of Crane Boat
247.2 RBD Smithfield Boat Ramp
246.5 – 246 LBD Profit Island Chute (Exit)
The Monmouth Disaster  
246.2 RBD Small Dune
246.5 – 245.8 LBD Sandbar at Bottom of Profit Chute
First Sighting of Baton Rouge (Still 12 Miles Downstream)  
245 LBD Devil’s Swamp Bayou
“The Very Bottom”  
Baton Rouge Crossroads  
241 – 239 LBD Thomas Point (Mallet Bend)
239 – 235 LBD Allendale Reach (Thomas Point to Wilkerson Point)
239 – 235 LBD Allendale Reach: Fleeted Barges
235.8 LBD Devil’s Swamp Bayou
235.8 LBD Bayou Baton Rouge
235.2 LBD Baton Rouge Harbor
235.2 LBD Baton Rouge North Wastewater Treatment Plant Outfall
236 233 LBD Mulatto Bend (Wilkerson Point)
235 RBD Point Place Landing (Wilkerson Point)
234.2 RBD Wilkerson Landing Boat Ramp
235 – 234.7 LBD Southern Univ., Istrouma (Scott’s) Bluff, Mississippi Loess Bluff ##9
233.9 RBD US 190 and Railroad Bridge (Old Bridge)
Navigating Baton Rouge Harbor  
233.7 LBD Monte Sano Bayou
Supertankers? Welcome to Chemical Corridor Monte Sano Bayou
232.9 RBD CSS Arkansas
233.8 LBD Formosa Plastics Corp., Baton Rouge North Wharf
233 LBD Kinder Morgan (Exxon Petroleum Coke)
232.2 LBD ExxonMobil
232.2 LBD ExxonMobil Graffiti Wall
231.8 RBD Placid Refining
231.9 LBD Sunrise, Louisiana
230 LBD Welcome to Baton Rouge: Downtown Riverfront
Baton Rouge Sites and Services of Interest to Paddlers  
230.1 RBD West Baton Rouge Tourist Commission, Court Street Landing
229.6 LBD City Excursion Wharf AKA “The Paperclips”
229.6 LBD USS Kidd
229.4 LBD Argosy Casino
229.3 LBD I-10 Highway Bridge “New Bridge”
229.1 LBD Glass Beach (Baton Rouge Boat Ramp)
229 LBD Old Municipal Dock
229.1 RBD Greater Baton Rouge Dock No.1 Wharf: Community Coffee
How to Brew a Great-Tasting Pot of River-Rat Coffee  
228.3 RBD Intercostal Waterway (Port Allen Lock & Dam)
Resupply from Intercostal Waterway Boat Ramp (Under HWY 1)  
227.4 LBD LSU
Baton Rouge Gage (BG)  
Water Levels According to the Baton Rouge Gage (BG)  
Leaving Baton Rouge and Heading Downstream  
Welcome to Sola (South Louisiana)!  
Baton Rouge to New Orleans to Venice  
Venice to the Gulf  
About “Cancer Alley”  
Possible Campsites Along the Lower Mississippi River  
Baton Rouge to New Orleans  
220 LBD Duncan Point
214 – 215 RBD Manchac Point
210 LBD Bar Above Plaquemines LBD > 20
209 LBD Plaquemines LBD > 30
195 LBD Bayou Goula Sandbar LBD > 25
194 LBD Point Claire LBD > 35
177 LBD Eighty-One Mile Point LBD > 30
171 LBD Point Houmas > 30
154 LBD College Point > 30?
149 LBD Pauline Bar (Magnolia Landing) LBD > 30
143 LBD Belle Point LBD > 30?
132 RBD Bonnet Carre Island > 25?
130 LBD Thirty-Five Mile Point LBD > 30
129 LBD Bonnet Carre Upper LBD > 40
127 LBD Bonne Carre Lower LBD > 40
109 LBD Opposite Twelve Mile Point RBD > 35?
95 LBD Algier’s Point
94.7 LBD The Moonwalk — French Quarter and French Market
11 LBD Mouth of Baptiste Collette Bayou
10 RBD Mouth of Grand Pass
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