The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail
433.2 LBD Baxter Wilson Steam Plant
Several miles downstream of the bridge the Vicksburg Power Plant rises monolithically and dominates the sky from all angles as you’re paddling through the area. Like all coal fired plants, its distinguishing features are a large blocky power plant industrial latticework with smokestacks (in this case one) standing tall to the side. And as with all power plants, the smokestacks create striking reflections across the river which entertain the paddler with an endless array of images and reflections, changing with the light in the sky and the wind disturbances across the face of the water.
432-430 RBD Racetrack Towhead Back Channel
Opens up in a shallow trickle around 20VG. Best to run 25VG and higher. Good flow at 30VG. Strong flow at 35 and above. After descending below bridge make your crossing to the RBD and enter back channel. Beautiful picnic and campsites found throughout until 30VG. Top end goes under around 30VG. Sand in trees up to flood stage in middle island, and replete with wildlife viewing such as beaver, snowy egrets, and the ubiquitous great blue heron.
432-430 RBD Racetrack Towhead Main Channel
Luxurious Sandbars and harbors found along length of Racetrack, paddlers looking for a campsite will have plenty of good choices, but the proximity of the power plant will mean it will not be a quiet night. Top end goes under around 30VG, but dry sandy landings can be made further down in the willows and cottonwoods up until flood stage 43VG. At medium water (around 25VG) the Racetrack Towhead Dikes 430.1 RBD can be dangerous. Local kayaker Layne Logue reported that “It was pretty darn turbulent when I hit it at 25.5 VG (kinda scared me a little). I thought I could make it to the main channel before the dike. Nope, didn’t make it!”
431-424 LBD Below Racetrack Dikes/Towhead
You can stay Left Bank Descending and cut behind a small island that has formed around one of the dikes for variety of paddling and wildlife viewing. Opens around 25VG, island goes under around 40VG. Good campsites all around a high ridge of willows and cottonwoods. A long bay forms in low water and be approached from below around mile 428 through a water channel only visible when you get to the bottom of the island. In good weather you can find open bar campsites along entire length during low/medium water (below 30VG).
430 – 427 RBD Reid Bedford Bend
A series of small sandbars are found along the main channel side of Reid Bedford Bend, making good shelter from westerly winds. Avoid a cluster of hunting camps below a giant hunting lodge RBD 429.5 (marked by an equally large white cross erected in front). Best stop places for a picnic or shelter from wind/storms would be within the mile above Reid Bedford Point.
427.3 RBD Reid Bedford Point
Sandy bluff thrown against the right bank in dramatic cut-out below Reid Bedford Point. Possible emergency camp alongside the vigorous eddy here formed. Good protection form northerlies, northwesterlies and westerlies, but open to the south. Hunting camps not far downstream in the woods, and hunting roads not far over the bank. We found good protection here in one time with the river at 15.2 VG. We dove into the calm water and harbor out of a windstorm which slammed us out of the northeast. The winds were gusting to 30mph causing massive dust storms on the Racetrack Sandbar, from my notes: “We’re camped out under the full moon with the wind howling through the trees above us, found a great protected shelter from the wind in a keyhole behind the end of a rip rap bank at the outside of Reid Bedford Bend 427.5 RBD. Steep bank with a nice collection of driftwood and a giant eddy pool below us. An island of sand on the opposite side being sand-blasted in high winds out of the north.
426 LBD LeTourneau Public Boat Launch
A rough concrete boat ramp can be accessed at LeTourneau, which makes for an easy day trip 12 miles below Vicksburg. There are two concrete ramps here. Low water and high water ramps. The lower ramp is concrete and has limestone parking lot and roads. The upper ramp is concrete and has asphalt parking. Lower parking lot goes under water around 35VG, and the higher lot at flood stage VG 43. Don’t leave vehicle overnight.
426.5 LBD Hennessey’s Bayou
For close-up viewing of birds, amphibians, mammals, trees and flowers, paddlers can make a short detour up Hennessey’s Bayou. Popular fishing spot. Possible alligator sightings. Quick left bank exit out of the wind, but not recommended for camping for all of the hunting camps strung out along its banks. Large sandbar forms below mouth in low water (starts emerging around 20VG).