Sunday, March 24, 2024

Can You Boat The Entire Mississippi River

Can You Boat On The Missouri River

can you sail down the Mississippi River?

Yes, you absolutely can boat on the Missouri River! How much of the river you can boat on is dependant on the time of year and what type of boat you have. As mentioned above, the entire Missouri River is open to boat traffic but portions of it will be too shallow to take larger boats on and only a flat bottom boat or kayak/canoe would work well.

You can boat many different sections in between the dams as well so as long as you arent trying to boat down the entire Missouri River there are many places available to take your boat out.

The time of year can also have some effect on where you can boat as well. Certain cities along the river close off river access when the river is flooding. If you are planning to travel the Missouri River during springtime be sure to check with each city along your route to make sure that the marinas etc. are open or if it is legal for you to boat through.

How Much Of The Missouri River Is Navigable

Considering the above information, the next obvious question is, how far is the Missouri River navigable?

Unfortunately, how much of the MIssouri River is navigable depends entirely on which boat you are using. The upper 1,806 miles of the Missouri are really only navigable by smaller boats like kayaks or canoes assuming you are trying to travel the entire distance.

There are many places along the Missouri River or lakes where you can use a houseboat or powered boat but you cant take those boats all the way down the river for one simple reason, dams!

There are 6 dams spread throughout the upper Missouri River that dont have locks. That means to continue down the Missouri you have to carry your boat around the dam and relaunch it in the water below. With a canoe or kayak this is an inconvenience. With a houseboat or any other type of boat this is impossible .

These dams without locks make traveling down the entire Missouri River impossible except for those smaller boats that you can carry or drag around the dams. There are multiple stretches of the Missouri that are 200+ miles in between dams.

You could certainly use power boats along those stretches but you cant take them to the next section of the river without taking the boat out of the water.

American Queen Steamboat Company Offers Three Itineraries On The Lower Mississippi:

A Taste Of The True South from Memphis to New Orleans, or reverse

This eight or nine day itinerary visits New Orleans, Louisana Nottoway Plantation St. Francisville, Louisana Natchez, Mississippi Vicksburg, Mississippi Greenville, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee.

On this sailing, guests can visit Nottoway Plantation, the Souths largest remaining antebellum mansion the Old Court House Museum in Vicksburg, which hosted speakers including Teddy Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant and a Jewish temple that contains artifacts and memorabilia from World War II.

Jewels Of The Lower Mississippi from Memphis to New Orleans, or reverse

Another nine-day journey, this sailing stops in Memphis, Tennessee Vicksburg, Mississippi Natchez, Mississippi Baton Rouge, Louisana St. Francisville, Louisana Nottoway Plantation and New Orleans, Louisana.

Guests sailing this itinerary can visit Royal Street in St. Francisville, Louisana explore a Fletcher-class Destroyer, USS Kidd, that fought in many US battles and visit the Greenville Writers Exhibit, which showcases writers from Greenville.

Southern Sampler roundtrip from New Orleans

This nine-day journey takes guests to New Orleans, Louisana St. Francisville, Louisana Natchez, Mississippi Vicksburg, Mississippi Baton Rouge, Louisana and Nottoway, Louisana.

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Is The Missouri River Toxic

While the ghosts and ghouls of Halloween costumes disappear after October 31st, the very real and very scary problems facing the Missouri River are not going anywhere. Agricultural runoff, irresponsible development, and industrial waste are all contributing to a river that is filled with toxic chemicals.

Why I Chose Them

The 7 Best River Cruises You Can Only Take In Illinois

After a web search, I called a few rental providers on the Upper Mississippi.

Between the more informative website and my phone experience with Sue at S& S I felt comfortable with them.

My requirements for the boat were a flybridge to drive from, a waterslide, and a private bedroom for MsBoyink and I. S& S were wonderful to work with, accommodating, interested in our story, and didnt make us feel rushed at all. Id highly recommend them if you are looking to rent a Mississippi Houseboat .

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Can You Float The Entire Mississippi River

It is one of the worlds grandest rivers, and its possible to paddle the entire length without serious risk and with very few hassles. Mark Twain put it on the map as an American literary landmark. It passes through diverse physical and cultural landscapes. The economic impact of its barge traffic is enormous.

What I Learned From Paddling The Entire Mississippi River

When my friends asked me to move from Washington, D.C., to Minneapolis to help start an environmental education nonprofit, I said yes. When my friend, turned coworker, proposed that we paddle the length of the Mississippi River as an organization, I did not hesitate. After the Wild River Academys first summer of leading students on canoe trips on rivers near the Twin Cities, paddling the entire Big Muddy seemed like a great way to move out of the student canoe trip season, and forward into the rest of the year.

When we first decided to pursue this adventure, we did not know exactly what we hoped to get out of it. What we did know was that the 2,300-mile Mississippi River was the perfect embodiment of two major themes of our student canoe trips: that our interconnectedness to the land and river occurs in more ways than we can truly understand, and that our well-being as a society is tied up in the health of the river. That seemed like a good place to start.

Staying in line with our mission of experiential education at Wild River Academy, we decided to share our adventure down the Mississippi River in several ways: by exploring how people we encountered related to the river through filmed interviews allowing classrooms across the country to follow our trip online and utilize a K-12 river-focused curriculum and blogging and posting photos and videos as we traveled.

All images courtesy Paddle Forward.

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Where Does The Missouri River Start And End

The Missouri River starts in Browers Spring, Montana and ends at the Mississippi River north of St. Louis. The Missouri flows 2,540 miles until it empties into the Mississippi River.

There is a debate whether the Missouri River is longer than the Mississippi River and it honestly depends on where you think the rivers start. If you search online:

Is the Missouri River longer than the Mississippi river?

You will find a variety of answers to that question. If you go to google right now it says that the Mississippi is longer than the MIssouri! But is that correct?

According to the USGS the Missouri River is 2,540 miles long while the Mississippi River is 2,340. That makes the MISSOURI RIVER the longest river in the United States! So how does the almighty Google get that wrong?

The problem is the answer changes depending on how you measure the start of the rivers but according to the United States Geological Survey the MISSOURI RIVER is longer!

Can You Boat The Entire Missouri River

Mississippi River Boat Tour – LaCrosse Wis. Part 1 of 3

Knowing that you can boat the Missouri River is great but what if you want to boat the entire river, is that possible?

Yes, it is possible to boat the entire Missouri River but you would have to change boats at some point during the journey.

The upper section of the river is only deep enough for a canoe or kayak. There are also six dams that dont have a lock on the top portion of the river so you would have to carry your boat along the shore and then relaunch it once you get to the bottom of the dam.

Once you reach Sioux City you can then use a power boat for the remainder of the trip. You do have to be careful as there are many places that have sand bars or debris that could damage your boat or motors.

The time of year can be a factor as flooding on the river can introduce a lot more debris and some areas can become unnavigable or even be closed to recreational boats and barges.

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What Gets Shipped On The Mississippi River

Barges carry agricultural commodities of cotton, grain, soybeans, wheat, corn, lumber and wood products, as well as fertilizer, coal, construction materials, metals, sand and gravel. Gasoline, petroleum products and other chemicals account for 200 million tons of shipping annually on the Mississippi River.

Where Does The Mississippi River Start In Wisconsin

The Mississippi River runs through or along 10 states, from Minnesota to Louisiana, and is used to define portions of these states borders, with Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi along the east side of the river, and Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas along its west side.

Also, how wide is the Mississippi River in Wisconsin? Along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, the river and its floodplain are between 1 and 3 miles wide.

In this way, where does the Mississippi River start?

Lake Itasca

Which city has the most Mississippi Riverfront?

CityPopulation1Memphis, TN646,8892Minneapolis, MN382,5783New Orleans, LA343,8294St. Louis, MO319,294

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Where Does The Mississippi River End In Tennessee

A Tennessee trip down the Mississippi ends in Memphis, where you could travel through scenic country featuring the Chickasaw Bluffs on the western side of Tennessee past the site of a Civil War battle, an area now called Fort Pillow State Park. In Arkansas, the Mississippi River crosses the Delta region of the South.

Could You Canoe Down The Mississippi River In 18 Days 4 Hours And 51 Minutes


Guest Blog by Joel Ford, Mississippi Speed Record

In early May of 2021, our team will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest team to paddle down the entire Mississippi River, approximately 2,300 miles. The time to beat is 18 days, 4 hours, and 51 minutes.

Our team consists of approximately 17 individuals working together towards the common goal. Our four paddlers are aiming to rotate paddling and resting to maintain forward progress 24 hours per day. To achieve this, we will be eating, sleeping, and living in our 23ft canoe for the duration of the attempt. The paddlers are supported by an outstanding crew both from shore and from boat. The support crew will handle challenges such as managing safety, communication with barges and locks, supplying nourishment, monitoring weather, and much more!

Picture By Joel Ford

Our team has conducted several training trips over the last year. These training trips have taught us how to best prepare for the challenges that await us. We have added a rudder to our canoe, upgraded our safety lights and made many modifications to our canoe cover. Our canoe cover acts like a spray skirt for the bow and stern paddlers and creates a small sleeping tent in the center of the canoe, approximately 2.5 feet wide by 10 feet long. Our training trips have taught us many lessons, especially how to stay safe at night and how best to communicate with locks and barges.

Picture By Joel Ford

Picture By Joel Ford

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Cruising The Upper Mississippi River

Sunset over the Port of Dubuque Marina in Iowa.

Navetta on the road.

This was a new kind of boating for us. We’d owned a 52-foot Viking Sport Cruiser luxurious, spacious, powerful and used Bramasole to travel the East Coast of the U.S., completing the Great Loop in 2007. But living in landlocked Colorado, yearning for the water, we realized that a smaller boat would allow us more freedom to travel to different destinations. Forget the expense and time it took to reach Bramasole in Florida. We’d just hitch the new boat and trailer to our Ford F-350 pickup and take off. Navetta is Italian for “little ship,” an apt name for our reliable 27-foot Monterey cruiser. Though half the size of Bramasole, Navetta proved to be a cozy nest for our adventures.

The journey began with a 14-hour road trip from Denver, Colorado, to Dubuque, Iowa, a historic town that’s recently been transformed into one of the Midwest’s most modern cities. Our goal was to follow the Mississippi from Dubuque as far north as possible to Minneapolis, then return downriver. From Dubuque to Minneapolis, we’d travel 275 nautical miles and go through Locks 11 to 1, plus the two Anthony Falls locks, a manageable distance for our time frame, and one that put us in the heart of Twain’s favorite stretch of the river.

Th And 21st Centuries

The “Big Freeze” of 191819 blocked river traffic north of Memphis, Tennessee, preventing transportation of coal from southern Illinois. This resulted in widespread shortages, high prices, and rationing of coal in January and February.

In the spring of 1927, the river broke out of its banks in 145 places, during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and inundated 27,000 sq mi to a depth of up to 30 feet .

In 1930, Fred Newton was the first person to swim the length of the river, from Minneapolis to New Orleans. The journey took 176 days and covered 1,836 miles.

In 1962 and 1963, industrial accidents spilled 3.5 million US gallons of soybean oil into the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. The oil covered the Mississippi River from St. Paul to Lake Pepin, creating an ecological disaster and a demand to control water pollution.

On October 20, 1976, the automobile ferry, MV George Prince, was struck by a ship traveling upstream as the ferry attempted to cross from Destrehan, Louisiana, to Luling, Louisiana. Seventy-eight passengers and crew died only eighteen survived the accident.

The Great Flood of 1993 was another significant flood, primarily affecting the Mississippi above its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois.

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Can You Float The Missouri River

The Missouri River does a lot of meandering and flows into a variety of lakes in the upper portions which makes simply drifting down the river a VERY slow process. Can it be done? Yes, it certainly can but I personally wouldnt recommend just floating.

Many people canoe or kayak the Upper MIssouri as there are many areas where you can go for 100-150 miles without encountering rough water. That meandering section or lakes would be difficult to float down but with amazing scenery it is excellent to paddle down.

Floating is possible on the lower Missouri River as the current will normally run 3-5mph but there is a lot of barge and large boat traffic so floating that section is an option but avoiding those large boats while simply floating would be difficult to do.

Can You Fish In The Mississippi River


The Mississippi River provides an excellent opportunity for bank angling as well as a float trip. Fishing for smallmouth bass often improves during the summer period at the same time that angling in lakes is less productive. It is not uncommon for anglers to catch 20-30 or more smallmouth in a single fishing trip.

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Can Ships Travel Between The Great Lakes

Lock infrastructure on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway forms an elaborate lift system allowing ships to move across a vast expanse of territory in which water levels fall more than 182 m from Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean. During that journey, a vessel will pass through 16 separate locks.

Is It Safe To Swim In The Mississippi River

There are always unknown hazards in the Mississippi river due to bacteria levels according to Stuart Schmitz, a toxicologist at the Iowa Department of Public Health. He said the bacteria levels are generally higher in a lake. He said the Mississippi is safe to swim and fish in, as long as people are safe about it.

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Why Houseboat On The Mississippi

There are many places to rent houseboats. Websites like will help you find the different destinations.

There was just something attractive about being on the Mississippi River rather than in a lake.

Maybe its my life-long love of the writings of Mark Twain .

Maybe it was the idea of passing by or stopping at different river towns while in the boat.

Maybe it was experiencing the locks & dams that help control the river and still allow boating traffic to go up and down.

Houseboating on the Mississippi just sounded more adventurous than being on a lake, constrained by a circular shoreline. We could actually go somewhere.

So how did it go?

It was definitely an adventure.

How Dirty Is The Missouri River

Aboard a Shrimp Boat in Coastal Mississippi

The Missouri River ranked seventh with nearly 5 million pounds of dumped toxins. Missouris waterways are a polluters paradise right now, said Sarah MacFarland, state field associate for Environment Missouri. These toxic chemicals end up contaminating our drinking water and are absorbed by the fish that we eat.

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American Cruise Lines Also Has Three Itineraries On The Lower Mississippi:

New Orleans roundtrip

This eight-day journey makes stops in New Orleans, Louisana Oak Alley, Louisana Natchez, Mississippi Vicksburg, Mississippi St. Francisville, Louisana Baton Rouge, Louisana and Houmas House, Louisana.

Guests will have the chance to visit the Oak Alley Plantation, Vicksburg National Military Park, and the Longwood house at which construction was halted as the Civil War started, leaving the house unfinished to this day.

Lower Mississippi River Cruise from Memphis to New Orleans, or reverse

This eight-day sailing takes guests to Memphis, Tennessee Vicksburg, Mississippi Natchez, Mississippi St. Francisville, Louisana Baton Rouge, Louisana and Oak Alley, Louisana.

Guests on this sailing can visit Elvis Presleys home, Graceland the Frogmore Plantation and explore Vicksburgs oldest neighborhood where they will visit an authentic antebellum mansion.

Highlights Of The Mississippi River roundtrip from New Orleans

This itinerary is perfect for guests looking for a taste of the Mississippi, as it is a bit shorter than the others on this list. This five-day itinerary takes guests around Louisiana roundtrip from New Orleans, making stops in Houmas House, Baton Rouge, and Oak Alley.

Guests will have a chance to visit the Houmas House & Plantation the Oak Alley Plantation and take a guided tour, highlighting some of New Orleans most famous attractions.

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