Mississippi River headwaters to mouth

Hey guys! First time poster here. Seems like quite the community!

I’m planning to paddle the entire Mississippi this fall into the winter. I’m wondering if anyone has experience with the river and camping along it. I’m concerned about the water levels in the early stages, and the availability of camping during more populated stretches.

I’m working to scout and document the feasibility of the river as a potential expansion program for WarriorHike.com. WarriorHike offers returning vets the time and resources to reacclimate to normal, healthy and happy lifestyles, while raising awareness and money for disabled vets.

Any help or suggestions would be great! Thanks in advance.

Check out Face Book Groups “Mississippi River Paddlers” and “Lower Mississippi River Padders”…and JOIN…there are about half a dozen people doing the whole Miss right now…links to their blogs and websites there and ask them “live” from the river.


PS, ever consider doing North Americas longest river system? the Missouri??? Check out “missouri River Paddlers” group on facebook

You should check out a set of maps put out by riverlorian google it and you can find it. They are a good addition to the corps maps, helped me a lot. I only have experience with the lower miss, and the best advice I can give you is carry extra water. Watch out for the wing dams during high water, they can be sketchy. Cell phone reception was actually pretty good so a smart phone is a great asset. I loved to get on google earth to check progress and see what is ahead. I mounted my solar panels on the center thwart so they were always charging. One more piece of advice, get a tent that the rainfly touches the ground the sand will blow right in if there is any space AT ALL!!! Good luck you will have the time of your life.

this web site for the MN DNR. Just click on the maps for routes, shows water campsites, river levels etc… You can also get hard copies of maps from them free (last time I picked some up they were free)http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/watertrails/mississippiriver/index.html This is just for Mn, but a good start.

more paddlers here
Heres some right now on the Miss:





Did you ever make the trip? If so how was it? I’m thinking august 2015. My research tells me getting out of Minn is tuff to do, depending on water level.

I started…
I made it to Memphis this past fall! The levels were too low in the headwaters, so I started in Bemidji. One night past Memphis, my canoe blew 25 ft or so from my camp site into the river and floated off while I was sleeping. I’m planning to finish the last 700 miles this summer. John Ruskey, of Quapaw Canoe Company and RiverGator.com, rescued my boat and is holding it for my return.

The most important resources for me were the MN DNR’s maps, the US Army Corp of Engineers nav charts, and RiverGator.com.

I can’t put into words the effect the Big Muddy had on me. It is truly a magical river and a great way to connect with the heart of our country!

There is a river trail from Hannibal MO
to the Ohio River. www.greatriverwatertrail.org/‎

We’ve been working with the Corps of Engineers but the last few years of flooding have undone a lot of it.

If you email or ask on our Yahoo group, https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/stlouiscanoekayakclub/conversations/messages some of us could possibly help with logistics in the St Louis area and may even paddle with you for a day.

I’ve paddled everything from Hannibal to Cape Girardieu and it is impressive.



first rule of boating
Never ever ever leave your boat untied. Never. Good lesson to learn. There were several people/expeditions that started at Itasca so there was plenty of water.

Way to go. What time of year did you leave? If you had to do it all over again, what time of year would you leave? What would you do different??? From my research, sounds like Minn is hard to get out of because of water level. I have received the maps from the Minn DNR. This has been fun to research.

When you say they left do you mean now? I thought the lakes and water ways are all frozen through April/May. When would be the best time to start on this trip?

Miss R
All of the commercial boat traffic and dams would give me pause. I like the suggestion of paddling the Missouri R instead. I did 151 miles and it was grand.

Check out
No better source of paddling the entire Missouri than the huge Facebook groups called Mississippi River Paddlers & Lower Mississippi River paddlers… Dozens of people in both groups have gone the whole way and have more planning info than you will ever need. Plus blogs, first hand accounts, map info, river angel info, resupplies, gear…dont waste your time go there.