Paddling the Mississippi

Hi there,

A friend and I will be canoeing the Mississippi river from Lake Itasca in northern MN down to New Orleans in June of this year. We have been researching this for quite some time, but I thought I would join this forum to see if anyone has some additional information for us that might be beneficial.

We are still unsure on which canoe we will be purchasing. I have found the most widely suggested for the Mississippi would be Wenonah, however would be more interested in purchasing a cheaper Grumman in good condition. Any insight into these, or other versatile canoes (at least 32" wide") would be appreciated.

If anyone has personally experienced the various rapids on the Mississippi, I would be interested in hearing of your experiences as well. While I understand they can change quickly, a first hand account of what you experienced is always helpful.

Finally, any lock/dam techniques or additional gear we should consider. We are pretty set with our gear, and will obviously be limiting how much we bring on a 3 month canoe trip, but if you know of something that we wouldn’t have already thought of it would be great to hear.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear some tips and tricks from some of you soon!

Tell us about your shakedown cruises.
We stay with my daughter below New Orleans, right by the levee, frequently. I would not do what you are doing without some multi-night shakedown cruises. There are parts of that river where planning where you will camp and resupply will be difficult. And what you’re saying about a canoe to select might suggest that you haven’t been on one of the biggest rivers in the world on a windy, wavy day.

And apart from the possible symbolic significance of doing a great river from top to bottom, this is not the best way to invest a huge amount of paddling time when you don’t claim to have done a lot of rivers elsewhere.

For me, two nights on the Dolores and six nights on the San Juan were more quality paddling time than I could possibly devise on the Mississippi, mighty river that it is. I’d spend most of my time on the Mississippi headwaters, and then go driving down along the river, sampling the best parts, rather than slog all the way.

Guys on this board like paddletothesea specialize in such trips, but they do it based on immense experience with shorter ventures.

Lincoln did it twice, in a raft. He made a little money.

lower mississippi
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. There are tons of people that completed the trip in aluminum canoes.

Paddling the Mississippi
Check out Facebook pages Mississippi River Paddlers and Lower Mississippi Paddlers, many experienced members and a wealth of expertise there.

Yeah Ditto FaceBook group most info

– Last Updated: Apr-16-14 2:31 PM EST –

The most information you will find is on Facebook...Two groups:
"Mississippi River Paddlers" and "Lower Mississippi River paddlers"
Dozens of paddlers on each group who have gone all 2340 miles including several headed out in a few weeks.
There are blogs of past paddlers,
map and navigational info
river angel contacts for resupply, a hot shower or cold beer,
Locks/portage and info.
current river conditions.
Many in the group followed about 6 paddlers last year that went all the way.
No better info.