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Helena Outpost - Day trip or Overnight into Helena

St. Francis to Helena

The 475 mile-long St. Francis River drains 8,400 square miles of the Missouri Ozarks & Boot Heel, and is the biggest Mississippi tributary (on its west bank) in between the Missouri River (St. Louis) and the White River. Its muddy bottoms render secrets unearthed from the last ice age. Its confluence creates one of the wildest bottomland floodplains in the region, and nearby is the dynamic St. Francis National Forest. Not far beyond is found the “Big Woods,” where the Ivory Billed Woodpecker was recently sighted after being considered extinct since the 1920s. Opposite the mouth of the St. Francis is Tunica Lake where Mart Twain’s brother, Henry, met his demise after the explosion & sinking of the steamboat the Pennsylvania.

Put in at the St. Francis confluence and canoe downstream alongside the variegated woods that parallel Crowley’s Ridge into Helena. Side-channels and secret waterways to explore depending on river level. Great fossil hunting and bird watching from the gravel bars at the top end of Buck Island. Becoming a habitat for Bald Eagle. Or go further upstream for a longer journey into Helena: put in at Walnut Bend (difficult access), Mhoon Landing or Tunica Lake.

St. Francis River - Helena - 9 miles
St. Francis River – Friars Point - 18 miles
Tunica Lake – Helena - 27 miles (12 miles flat-water)
Walnut Bend - Helena - 17.5 miles
Mhoon Landing – Helena - 24.5 miles
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