mississippi river

I might have posted this before, but I can’t find it or any responses. Has anybody heard about it being safe to canoe the big river in 2006? That was going to be my adventure for next summer.

I don’t understand the question
Safe in what way? What section of the river? The main channel? Upper, lower, both? I guess you could say, it has never been safe to paddle the Mississippi (or anywhere for that matter). The big boats. The big currents. Locks and dams. Pollution.

Do people do it? Yep.

In my area (western WI) there is a lot of canoeing – backwaters mostly, off the main channel. In fact there are designated canoe trails in a couple of State Parks, county parks, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife properties.

Read This Book
"Mississippi Solo" by Eddie Harris. It’s a good book on what you can expect to encounter. I grew up on the river at Cape Girardeau, MO and spent many a day on or in that river. I just deleted much of my post, as being too negative. I, personally, wouldn’t paddle the Mississippi below St. Louis. I’m certain many do it safely every year. BTW, this book’s a good read whether you intend to paddle the Mississippi or not. Good luck! WW

Mississippi Rv. in La.

If you’re asking about post-hurricane conditions, you’ll find the lower Mississippi as safely navigable as it was before.

Here’s a link to a very popular photographer from down here. He traversed the entire Mississippi and compiled his work in a very nice coffee table book.


There are a few personal accounts…
…of people who paddled/rowed/motored the whole length. Check w/your public library.

I paddled her in 02 and 04… dont think you will have any different problems…

just follow the edge of the channel to stay away from traffic and wing-dams… and have the common sence to know when its best to stay wind-bound…

i recommend a radio to talk with the lockmasters at the dams… and dont forget, first one to the lock has right of way, could save you a several hour wait bobbin around in your canoe waitin for lock to clear out… exception is a commercial passenger vessel…

Just remembered…
…one was “Old Glory” by Jonathan Raban, a Brit. He used a small motorboat, however.

Watch out for Chain of Rocks
Just North of St Louis about mile 188. The signs direct all boats left into the C.O.R. Canal but I wouldn’t want to be there in a small boat when barges pass each other. If you stay in the river the C.O.R. can be portaged river left with a carry of 200 yds or so. Depending on river stage you might be able to line through.

River charts are avail from Corps of Engineers.

Contact me if you need a supply drop near Winfield Mo.



Good luck

chain of rocks
the chain of rocks is no big deal… there is plenty of room and time to manouver around with the barges…

Still have nightmares…really!
When I was fifteen my Mom and Dad allowed my friend Mike and I to put on the Mississippi at Grand Tower, IL on a Friday afternoon in May in a 17ft Grumman Alum. Canoe. They picked us up on Sunday at Cairo, IL (the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers).

It was this same weekend that I realized that my folks didn’t love me, and were secretly trying to kill me.

Barges: These things make cabin cruisers nervous. A canoe is a toothpick in comparison. Very scary.

Snakes: Everywhere.

Eddies: the kind that spin 40ft logs around in circles.

Whirlpools: Yes! Whirlpools. They kinda go hand in hand with the Eddies from hell.

Alligator Gar: These prehistoric monsters like to come up and bump the boat to check you out. Saw some that seemed 5-6ft long.

That was 32 years ago and I still have a nightmare now and then about that weekend. Now bear in mind that I am relating my story from my area. There may be wonderful parts of the Mississippi. Just not here.

If you are going to spend all of that time and energy, go somewhere great. I mean heck, if you are going to try and kill yourself, it might as well be some place pretty.

Good luck with that.


Jay, Looks Like My Original Post…
…before I edited it! I’ll never forget a close call with a towboat in a johnboat whose motor quit, and the whirpool that almost sucked me away when I was a teen, and the big honkin cottonmouths, and… Well, you get the picture! WW


– Last Updated: Dec-12-05 10:03 AM EST –


Mississippi by Canoe with pictures.....


100 Days down river.....

Nice Links
Enjoyed reading both accounts. WW

Around Blytheville AR
The river is dangerous for small boats.

I was stationed there (Blytheville AFB) in early 80’s. It would suck a small boat under.