Quapaw Canoe Company provides wilderness adventures by canoe, kayak or paddle board on any section of the last 954 miles of the Mississippi River, from Cairo Illinois down to the Gulf of Mexico. We also serve the Atchafalaya “River of Trees”, and many other tributary feeder rivers, such as the Lower Arkansas, the Yazoo, the Sunflower, the Loosahatchie, the Big Black, and the St. Francis.
Quapaw Canoe Company provides wilderness adventures by canoe, kayak or paddle board on any section of the last 954 miles of the Mississippi River, from Cairo Illinois down to the Gulf of Mexico. We also serve the Atchafalaya “River of Trees”, and many other tributary feeder rivers, such as the Arkansas.
The Lower Mississippi River creates one of America’s greatest wildernesses – and wildest – a land subject to chaotic weather and the unpredictable character of Old Man River. It is a landscape of water and sky, broken only by a horizon of willow and mixed deciduous forests. Everything is big about it. Imagine floating a bend of the river that takes twenty miles of delta mud to complete, skirting around swirling eddies the size of several city blocks, camping on a sand bar that stretches to the horizon, and swimming in pristine blue holes. It is America’s major waterfowl flyway, and central artery of barge shipping. Three-screw tugboats pushing tows a half-mile long are common. Deer, coyote, beaver and possum abound, and bears still inhabit the bottomlands. The flood plain is the second largest in the world, and water levels might fluctuate fifty feet from Spring high to Summer low. As such, each adventure is slightly different, and itinerary is dependent on river conditions and prevailing weather.
Quapaw Canoe Company offers wilderness adventures and expeditions on the Lower Mississippi River, its back waters, bayous, oxbows, and the prolific floodplain in between the levees. Adventures can be arranged by the day or the week, and trips available on any section between Cairo (Illinois) and the outlet of the river into the Gulf of Mexico. Also available are explorations of tributaries like the White River, the Arkansas, the Big Sunflower, and the Yazoo. By canoe or kayak or paddleboard. No motor power used. Clients must be willing to paddle and to endure extremes of nature. Storms on the river can be furious at times and may temporarily stall a journey or change itinerary.
In its 25 years of operation (est. 1998) Quapaw Canoe Company has demonstrated the viability of safe canoeing on the Lower Mississippi River with countless expeditions involving churches, schools, boy scouts, girl scouts, families, couples and individuals. Quapaw has successfully guided over 30,000 people on the river. Quapaw Canoe Company is underwritten by Lloyd’s of London through Worldwide Outfitters & Guides Association. All expeditions are outfitted with first-aid kits, rescue ropes, life preservers, cellular communication, and VHF marine radio. Life Jackets are best quality US Coast Guard approved type III Life Jackets. Guides stringently practice safe canoeing and are knowledgeable in all aspects of wilderness survival and canoe rescue. Please remember that river travel is always somewhat dependent on river level and prevailing weather.
Guides undergo rigorous training in learning the ins and outs of safely navigating the biggest river in North America and the tradition of the voyageur canoe. Founder/Owner John Ruskey
has been paddling the river since 1982, and is probably its most knowledgeable guide. Quapaw Canoe Company provides custom-guided canoe & kayak expeditions, day floats and other paddling adventures along the Lower Mississippi River from Cairo Illinois to St.
Francisville, Louisiana. Spectacular reaches include the Kentucky Bluffs, Bessie”s Bend (20 mile bend of the river to go one mile), the 4 Chickasaw Bluffs, Memphis to Vicksburg (300 miles of remote river, only 2 bridges, only one town), Confluence of the Arkansas River & surrounding wilderness areas (rich habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear), Vicksburg to Natchez-Under-the- Hill, Natchez to St. Francisville. Long stretches of river, almost no industry or point-source polluters, few towns, few bridges, big islands, big forests, most varied inland fishery in North America, 60% of America”s songbirds, 40% of its migrating waterfowl. Longest free-flowing River (1160 miles). No dams. No schedule: we go whenever our clients are ready.
Apprenticeship program for Clarksdale youth, the Mighty Quapaws. Friends of the Sunflower River established 2005.
Meet place for most trips is Quapaw Canoe Company, 291 Sunflower Avenue, Clarksdale, MS. Park your vehicle. Pack your gear in our waterproof dry bags, board our shuttle. And head off to an adventure on the biggest and wildest river in North America!