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Helena - Buck Island

Possible paddling scenarios
involving Helena & Buck Island



Click here for Map & Description of Buck Island

For the paddler Buck Island is an ideal location for a picnic, an overnight camp, a base camp, or a voyageur’s camp (if you’re traveling long distance down the river). It can be approached easily from Helena via the boat ramp at the Helena Harbor (upstream paddling), or from above by putting in at the mouth of the St. Francis River. You can paddle to the sandbars, or into the forest. At low water there are huge sandbars to hike with limitless possibilities for tracking birds & animals, and an enormous gravel bar at the head of the island with great fossil-finding, rock hounding and beach combing. At med water you can sneak through hidden channels that bisect the island. At high water you can paddle into the forest and wander through the woods in your canoe or kayak. Infrequently, at the very highest of flood stages, the entire island goes underwater.

You can make landings in deserted alcoves, and swim in blue holes. You can paddle all the way around the island (circumnavigation) or make a simple approach, a quick landing, and then keep going.

Above the Island on the West bank (Arkansas shore) is a series of small islands to explore, as well as East bank (so called “Helena Islands” – Mississippi shore). You can enter a mature willow forest following old river at Trotter’s (East shore), at higher waters it is possible to work your way through the woods all the way up to Tunica Lake.

Warning: Do not attempt any paddling anywhere on the Lower Mississippi unless you are proficient with canoe or kayak Self-Rescue Technique. Experienced paddlers only, or hire a guide familiar with the big waters of the big river (such as Quapaw Canoe Company). See below for more info.

Click on the following selections for more detailed information about the paddling opportunities involving Helena:

Whole day or Half-Day Round Trip from Helena
Day trip or Overnight into Helena
Multi-Day into Helena
Multi-Day downstream of Helena
Helena, Buck Island & River Expeditions: Paddling the entire Mississippi River

For more information about the preservation of Buck Island & other islands in the Lower Mississippi River Water Trail, please visit:
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