Helena, Buck Island & River Expeditions:
Paddling the entire Mississippi River
Putting in at the Main Boat Ramp of the Helena Harbor
Buck Island makes an obvious overnight camp or picnic stop for anyone paddling long distance through sections of the Lower Mississippi below Memphis – this derives from its proximity to Helena. For the expeditionary paddler Helena is the only place to make an easy resupply in between Memphis & Vicksburg (300 miles of river) – for the simple fact that is indeed the only city that actually sits on the banks of the main channel. Downtown Helena is bounded by the levee on one side and Crowley’s Ridge on the other. If you’re coming into Helena from the river you need a good camp from which you can get to town and get back without too much effort. It’s a good rest stop, you can walk to restaurants with great southern cooking, to the public library and the post office. You can do your laundry and take a hot shower. You can find a bookstore, a good cup of hot coffee, a place for a wifi connection and a 6-pack of beer. These are important considerations for the expeditionary paddler! If they so choose, the paddlers can secure their canoes or kayaks and splurge on a hot bath & overnight lodging in the Edwardian Inn and several other Victorian B&Bs found within walking distance of the river. You can visit an important regional museum, the Delta Cultural Center, with the opportunity to experience live Delta blues as well as other Arkansas cultural traditions. You can sit in with Sonny Payne, the longest continuous running DJ in America, every weekday 11:45-12:15 during his live broadcast “King Biscuit Time” radio program on KFFA 1360am. Sonny will interview you live as he mixes old-school blues numbers with his home-spun tales and folksy Arkansas Delta wisdom. An exceptional festival is held the 2nd weekend of October, the annual Arkansas Blues & Heritage festival (formerly known as King Biscuit). You can camp in the Helena River Park or stay on Buck Island and enjoy the Mississippi River and the best of the Delta blues & southern gospel music. Let us know if we can help you in any with making your dream adventure of a lifetime come to reality – with maps, shuttles, equipment or advice. If you are paddling into Helena and need a re-supply we can help out. If want to come into town for an extended stay we can provide safe storage for your vessels & gear. Please note: camping is permitted on the peninsula between the Helena Harbor & the river, which affords easy walking access to downtown Helena.