St Louis to Atlantic Ocean Question

What are the (kayaking) options of getting from the Missouri/Mississippi confluence to the east coast?

I can see the Ohio, Allegheny, Mohawk and Hudson Rivers on the map that lead to New York City but have no idea if that is a navigable route.

I’m currently in trip planning mode and would appreciate any advice/assistance.

Thank you


Perth, Australia

What is your planned trip route?

If it is simply fron St Louis to East coast, it really isn’t that bad.

Following up the Mohawk, etc, could be a challenge.

Where are your start/finish points?

St Louis to Atlantic Ocean Question
Having kayaked down the Missouri to the confluence I plan to get to the east coast, the final destination is not critical as long as its the Atlantic.

This is stage 2 of a planned trip across the US by kayak.

so it is St louis to Atlantic
I can’t speak much for the Gulf portion of that trip.

You really shouldn’t have much problems until the Everglades. I would strongly suggest you read the “watertribe” forums, and maybe you can post some questions about specific areas to them. Many tribers paddle the Gulf/Florida Region regularily.

St Louis to Atlantic Ocean Question
I hadn’t planned on going down the Mississippi to the gulf.

I want to find a river/canal route to the east coast hence my query about the Ohio, Allegheny River etc.

St louis up then
so you intend to traverse from St louis northward through the great lakes to the gulf?

The upriver portion on the Mississippi would brobably be your hardest.

st Louis to Atlantic Ocean Question
I thought there might be another option than going via the great lakes hence my query regarding the Ohio River.

good route
i had a friend in 06 paddle solo across the county

up the columbia, snake, portage to jefferson& down it to Missouri river to mississip, up ohio just a little ways to

Either the Tennessee or Little Tennessee…thru/up to the other one either the Tenn or Little…and follow it to where you see about a 10 mile portage to the Savannaha river and down that to the Atlantic. He arrived at the mouth of the savannah on xmas day having spent 8-months. If you cant see the route let me know and i will get specifics. that section from st. louis to the atlantic he paddled it in a tandem old town 168 solo.

here is route of friend from st. louis
once he departed st. louis on sept 19th, he paddled the route below solo and arrived at the atlantic ocean on xmas day…so about 95 days etc. ( only a couple days on this before entering the Tennesse river ( look at the small gap between this map and the one below…i.e short portage etc.

Links regarding the Tennessee river:

– Last Updated: Feb-14-11 1:58 PM EST –

As of the fall of 2010, the Tennessee River and Terrapin creek has been adopted as part of the Alabama Scenic River Trail, bringing the total mileage of the Trail to just about 1000. Tennessee River guidebooks are now available, just in time for planning your spring trips to spectacular north Alabama.

The link above will get you to the Alabama portion of the Tennessee River Guidebook.

The upper Savannah is the Chattooga
and the upper 25 miles are a no-boating area. Usually too low, anyway. Section 4 is class 3-4-5 and not friendly to gear laden craft.

Ascending the Little T through the impoundments is straightforward, but going upstream on the river from Lake Fontana at hwy 74 is probably not feasible. Might be done at the right water level by a skilled poler with a relatively lightly loaded canoe. I couldn’t do it in a kayak. Maybe Scott Shipley could.

Allegheny Mountains ?
I can see you geting upriver to Pittsburgh, but getting up the Allegheny all the way would be probalmatic as it starts in the Allegheny mountains, I think. Even if you got up to the headwaters, its still a long way to get over to the Hudson. Mohawk isn’t any help to you - it comes down out of the North (above Rome) and runs into the NYS Barge Canal - hiting the canal anywhere will take you to Albany on the Hudson. Up the Allegheny and cross over to the West Branch of the Susquehana might work, then upstream to its source at Otsego L near Cooperstown NY , if you could get a shuttle ride - from there to the Barge Canal, your homefree. at least that works “on paper” might be you can find some other canal systems in PA that would take you to the Susq. - once on the Susq, you could go North, or turn downstream and take it to Atlantic via Chesapeake

Alleghany to Susquehanna
You can go upstream on the Alleghany and portage to the Susquehanna River basin via a historic portage route near Emporium PA. Then its down the Susquehanna to the Chesapeake Bay; no need to go upstream. The Susquehanna as you get further downstream becomes almost a mile wide, and almost a foot deep. No commercial boat traffic to worry about and easier to find a place to overnight.

To use your earlier mentioned route of Alleghany to Erie Canal to Mohawk River would require going from the headwaters of the Alleghany to the Genesee River basin, then downstream to the Erie Canal. East on the canal to Albany NY, the Mohawk is part of the Erie Canal route. Then down the Hudson to NYC. The Susquehanna route is much shorter and would have less portages than the Genesee River from its nearest proximity to the Alleghany River basin.

The Alleghany to Susquehanna basin portage is over 10 miles, but it is done on roads and not through the bush.


pretty sure my friend did that section solo in a tandem old town 169 with no spray cover. is that the same river with savannaha at the mouth?

St Louis to Atlantic Ocean - Thanks
Thanks for all the replies, the options have given me plenty of ideas to plan a route to the east coast.


Perth, Australia

I have no idea what your friend did, but
if he was in a Discovery 169 and running the Headwaters, he did a lot of dragging. And if he went through Chattooga Section 4 (the last section above Lake Tugaloo) in that boat, he must have portaged a bunch. The only section of the Chattooga that is fairly easy for a Discovery 169 is Section 2, from hwy 28 down to Earls Ford.

I think you can go to and check river info for Georgia to see some pictures of Sections 2 through 4. Very challenging for canoe campers. Thinking about where a person coming up the Little Tennessee might choose to enter the Chattooga, to start at hwy 28 would be feasible and not too severe a portage. Hwy 28 runs from Franklin up over the mountain, past Highlands, and down to Chattooga Section 2. There would be no point in adding the Headwaters to the problem.

Another option
You could go up the Allegany to the Connowango up it to the cassadega to the Chadiquoin up that into Chitauqua lake and then do the ancient carry into lake Erie,then a short way to Buffalo and then the Erie canal to the Hudson.

I an only faniliar with the Commowango-Chitauqua section and have paddled some or the Erie canal.


Still another option!
I don’t know much about his route, but this paddler went up though the great lakes.

Not quite what you’re doing
But maybe look at some of the “Great Loop” literature out there. Power boaters do it all the time and there is a great deal of information about it.

Cross-Country by Boat
You might be interested in reading River-Horse by William Least Heat-Moon. His primary vessel was powered but had a kayak for short sections. He was trying to emulate the Lewis and Clark expedition. He went up the Hudson and followed the Erie Canal west. I recall he had difficulties when the Erie and other canals were not open to traffic when he arrived. Enjoy.