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Expeditions - Mississippi Loess Bluffs

Vicksburg/Grand Gulf/Natchez/Fort Adams/St. Francisville



Narrative:
"Citadel of the South", Vicksburg sits on the first bluff found along the river south of Memphis -- not only important to Civil War historians, but to paddlers as well. The Yazoo River confluences with the Mississippi adjacent downtown Vicksburg, and the bluffs continue on the Mississippi side of the river downstream from here all the way to St. Francisville, Louisiana, broken only by the floodplains of various tributaries such as the Big Black, Bayou Pierre, and the Homichitto River. Grand Gulf towers above the mouth of the Big Black River and is reported to be the highest Loess Bluff in the region. Meanwhile down the Louisiana shore the sweeping Lower Mississippi Alluvial Floodplain continues unbroken, and its huge oxbow lakes envelope rich bottomland hardwood forests, sandbars, gravel bars and mudbars. At Old River the Mississippi splits off to form the Atchaflaya River, an alternate route to the Gulf of Mexico.

Leave from the landing at the foot of Clay Street and float out of downtown Vicksburg on the river that drains the Mississippi Delta, the Yazoo “the River of Death.” Enter the main channel of the Mississippi 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, and the mysterious mouth of the Big Black River. Sweeping views of Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Plant. Float past ecologically-diverse Yucatan Lake, a rich habitat for everything from songbirds to alligators! Paddle around Hardscrabble Bend past the mouth of Bayou Pierre and Civil War site Bondurant (Petit Gulf Hills), and continue downstream in the strong current of the Mississippi as it winds between islands and sandbars, back channels and bayous (accessible depending on river level). Below Waterproof, Louisiana, the river meanders along 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). 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 gravel bars. Gator habitat. Black Bear and Cougar habitat. Osprey. Island Exploration, journaling, photography, painting, reading, swimming, beach-combing, sand castles, treasure hunts, whatever you feel like doing. 73 miles total downstream. The river will do most of the work, but be prepared to paddle when necessary. Note: Shuttles can be arranged to Vicksburg if you want to park your car in Port Gibson, Natchez, or Fort Adams

Day I - Vicksburg

Meet in Vicksburg. Cast off down Yazoo River, enter the Main Channel of the Mississippi River and pass under I-20 Bridge. Racetrack Towhead. Set up camp, supper at sunset.

Day II - Grand Gulf / Port Gibson

Breakfast and continue downstream. Explore mouth of Oak Bend, Togo Island and the mouth of Palmyra Lake. Set up 2 night camp on Middle Ground Island. Explore Island.

Day III - Waterproof

Break camp and push off downstream with possible side trips to mouth of Yucatan Lake, mouth of Bayou Pierre, Cottage Bend, Coles Creek, camp at Waterproof.
 

Day IV - Natchez

Leave Waterproof and enjoy the ethereal journey 12 miles downstream of an unbroken view of the Natchez Bluffs. Possible side trip into Old River (Giles Island). Explore Natchez-Under-the-Hill.

Day V - Mouth of the Homichitto River


Day VI - Ft. Adams


Day VII - Old River


Day VIII - St. Francisville


Mileage:
(Measured from the head of Passes, 90 miles south of New Orleans, the center of the birdsfoot of the Mississippi Delta, where all the major channels split and drain into the Gulf of Mexico, South Pass, Pass La’Outre, Main Pass and Southwest Pass)

437 (Vicksburg) Yazoo – Mississippi Confluence
432 Racetrack Towhead
425 Oak Bend
420 Newton Bend
415 Togo Island
410 (Grand Gulf/Port Gibson) Middle Ground Island
408 Mouth of the Big Black
405 Mouth of Yucatan Lake
402 Coffee Point
395 Bondurant/Mouth of Bayou Pierre
391 Goldbottom
390 Cottage Bend
385 Spithead Towhead
380 Top end of Waterproof
377 Coles Creek
375 Bottom end of Waterproof
367 Giles Island
364 Natchez-Under-the-Hill
341 Washout Bayou
323 Artonish/3 Rivers WMA
317 Palmetto Point (Fort Adams)
304 Old River (Mouth of the Atchaflaya River)
300 Angola Ferry & State Penitentiary
292 Tunica Bayou/Tunica Bluff
280 Iowa Point/New Texas
265 St.Francisville

All expeditions are outfitted with first-aid kits, rescue ropes, life preservers, cellular communication, and VHF marine radio.  Please remember itinerary is dependent on river level and prevailing weather.
When on the river, there is no time but “River Time.”
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 Open Date
 
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