Expeditions - Daytrips & Overnights
The following sections of the Lower Mississippi can be paddled as a daytrip or an overnight, all picnicking and camping is done on remote mid-channel river islands. The river will do most of the work, but be prepared to paddle when necessary (we will teach you to paddle if you’ve never done it before). Great wildlife viewing, in particular songbirds and waterfowl. Bring your binoculars and birding field guides. Also, great tracking during island stops, and fossil-finding at various gravel bars.
- Shelby Forest to Memphis – put in from the base of the 3rd Chickasaw Bluff (Shelby Forest) and paddle 12 miles into Memphis with possible exploration behind Redman Bar, Hickman Bar and Loosahatchie Bar (depends on river level). You’ve never seen downtown Memphis until you’ve seen it from the River!
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- Memphis to Tunica Riverpark Museum – long day paddle but easy overnight (38 miles) out of Memphis under all four bridges, past Mud Island, Tom Lee Park and around President’s Island. Quickly leave the noise and smell of the city behind as you paddle around Josie Harry Bar and rough-and-tumble Cat Island (great fossil hunting at low water). Take-out at the Tunica Riverpark (save some time for the River Museum: its exhibits and aquariums will greatly enhance your understanding of the “Mysterious Mississippi”) (#2 Museum option: visit Mud Island Park before departing Memphis where you can actually walk along a scale model of the same bends of the river you will be paddling around!)
- Mhoon Landing to Helena– Swift & turbulent water around Mhoon Bend and Walnut Bend, pass the Tunica Cut-off and paddle into the floodplain forests at the mouth of the St. Francis River and follow Crowley’s Ridge into Helena. Take-out below Prairie Point Towhead, the most recent acquisition in the Mississippi River Water Trail being established by the American Land Conservancy. The coolest way to get to Helena for the Arkansas Heritage Festival, formerly the King Biscuit Blues Festival. (25 miles)
- Helena to Friars Point 8 miles on the river. Leave the Helena Harbor and slide under the Hernando de Soto US Hwy 49 Bridge, and into Montezuma Bend. Possible exploration of the entrance to Yazoo Pass, and the archipelago of islands made by the wreckage of the steamboat Montezuma (1837).
- Montezuma to Quapaw (18 miles) – the river meanders around three big bends, with each bend the land becomes wilder & wilder, you are entering what National Geographic Adventure Magazine called “The Lost River” in its August 2007 issue. Beautiful camping and/or swimming off Islands 61 and 62. Paddle into the recently opened back channel of Island 63 and take-out at our name-sake (and favorite) river access, Quapaw Landing.
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- Quapaw to Hurricane– 27 miles through some of the most remote and best paddling & camping in the mid-South. No sign of mankind save a couple of hunting camps and of course the tugboats. Big beaches & “blue holes” will remind you more of the Caribbean than the muddy Mississippi! We’ve seen everything from Black Bears to Bald Eagles in this section, and there are always lots of beautiful moths & butterflies, and striking songbirds such as the Indigo Bunting and Pileated Woodpecker.
- Hurricane to Terrene – around Smith Point past the Mouth of the White River, take out below the always boiling & whirlpooling waters of Victoria Bend. Endless selection of picnicking & isolated camp sites. Nothing but you & flocks of White Pelicans!
- Vicksburg to Grand Gulf - great wildlife viewing, songbirds and waterfowl, bring your binoculars and birding field guides. Also, great tracking during on island stop. Float out of downtown Vicksburg on the river that drains the Mississippi Delta, the Yazoo “the River of Death,” and enter the main channel with the best views you’ll ever have of the I-20 Bridge and the scenery around Centennial Bend. Unparalleled views of the Vicksburg Bluffs, the Bluffs at LeTorneau, Grand Gulf Bluff and the islands and back channels along the way including Sargent Point, Togo Island, Yucatan Bend, and the mysterious mouth of the Big Black River. 33 miles total downstream.
- Grand Gulf to Natchez - Enter channel opposite ecologically-diverse Yucatan Lake with views of Grand Gulf, the tallest bluff between Baton Rouge and Memphis. Paddle around Hardscrabble Bend past the mouth of Bayou Pierre and Civil War site Bondurant (Petit Gulf Hills). At Waterproof, Louisiana, the river meanders mostly south 12 miles with spectacular views of the Natchez Bluffs, an ever-changing scene of unending skies, jungle forests, Victorian mansions and moody riverscapes. Take out at the notorious Natchez-Under-the-Hill (now a “happening” bar, live music during the weekend, reserve rooms with a view of the river at the bed & breakfast above). 40 miles total downstream.
- Natchez to Ft. Adams – (Overnight only -- 43 miles) leave from Natchez-Under-the-Hill and ease on downstream under the big bridges at Ferriday, past St. Catherine’s Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Get lost in ever deepening degrees of sub-tropical solitude as the river reaches the end of its journey along the Western border of the state of Mississippi and enters the no-man’s land along the Louisiana state line at Angola.