The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

Lower Mississippi River Map

Resistance Radio - Guest: John Ruskey - 10.29.17

John Ruskey is worker bee in the colony of his queen, the Lower Mississippi River. He carves canoes, paints, and guides others into the wildest place remaining in the center of North America, the verdant floodplain of the big river, which reaches fullness in her last thousand miles of free-flowing joy to the Gulf of Mexico. He is author of, one million words, photos, paintings, maps and videos describing the Mississippi River for paddlers.


Sustainable Commons: What Goes into Painting a Rivergator Map?

Rivergator: The Wilderness Within

Atchafalaya River: The Best Route to the Gulf

Atchafalaya Final from David Hanson on Vimeo.

Movie Clips

Paddling Past St. louis Sustainable Commons Wilderness Within TAtchafalaya River Paddlers Guide

2017 Featured Expedition:

Rivergator Celebratory Expedition

St. Louis to Gulf of Mexico

March 20 - May 10, 2017

St. Louis Arch

Rivergator Roster. Go to these blogs for more reading and photos live daily from the canoe and campsites along the way.

Introducing Paddlers:

Chris Battaglia - Expedition Film Maker, from Portland, ME, modeled his business after Thoreau's "simple life" - Created web page for photos & videos:

Boyce Upholt - Expedition Chronicler, TFA leader, now turned full-time writer, his current project is called between the levees: which he sub-titles "America's Great, Misbehaving River - and its Walled-In Wild"

John and LaNae Abnet - paddled the Wabash/Mississippi in 2015. LaNae is blogging this trip and already posted at - go check it out!

Andy McLean - Andy is a Kiwi-based adventurer who loves the outdoors and runs a club in London called "Little Paddle" that was inspired by a trip on the Mississippi in 2015. On entire expedition to the Gulf.

Tony Long - A Brit living in Belgium, passionate pro-European, seasoned traveller and life-long environmental campaigner and political activist; on expedition for one week, to Cairo

Introducing Crew:

John Ruskey - QCC founder, Rivergator creator -

Mark "River" Peoples - QCC chief guide and youth leader

Lena Von Machui - QCC secretary and 1st mate

Adam Elliott - QCC Natchez owner - Mike Clark - BMA founder and leader, teacher -

Janet Sullens Moreland - BMA guide, world-class paddler, teacher (check out Janet is first person source to sea on both MO River (2013) and MS River (2016)

Roo Yawitz - BMA General Manager, Senior Guide

This spring (March 20 - May 10, 2017) we are making a 6-week expedition from St. Louis to the Gulf in celebration of the completion of the Rivergator (

The Rivergator is an online paddler's guide to the Mighty Mississippi River. This is the first-ever guide to the biggest river in North America for paddlers. Rivergator is free of charge, we created it as a public service to help diversify and democratize the river. Six years in the making... one million words with thousands of photos, maps and videos. (It's not perfect, but it's the best resource out there - for recreation on the Lower Miss). We are overseen by a non-profit called the Lower Mississippi River Foundation.

The Rivergator is changing the perception of the big river as an industrial canal and superhighway for towboats. There is definitely industry, and it's definitely the most important route for getting grain out of the heartland and oil back up to the refineries.

But it's also the longest stretch of free-flowing river in the continental US (1154 miles), and is in fact mostly "wild" (according to It's big and deep and powerful. Very dangerous. Full of myths and stories. Full of the raw wild exuberance of any free-flowing river. We seek to identify and enjoy the wild places. It's one of the least traveled, least understood, and yet most magnificent wild places left in the country. In 2014 600+ people summited Everest. And more than 700 thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. Meanwhile, 146 paddled the length of the Mississippi River (as recorded by John Sullivan, the Mississippi River Paddlers Group).

Press from Rivergator Celebratory Expedition:
Story in Riverfront Times
Story from CBS news St. Louis

Mississippi River Photos

Maps of the Lower Mississippi River

Plan your river canoeing or kayaking adventure with detailed maps of the Lower Mississippi River? Our Maps page has links to maps of the river from St. Francis to Arkansas City, and the best camping along Lower Mississippi Water Trail.

For tips on how to use Google Maps for planning your trip refer to this excerpt from the River Log, Reading Google Maps...Unlike highways which don't change shape or position with the seasons, the islands of the Mississippi River and their back channels are dramatically affected by water levels. And so the paddler needs to remember that the shapes of low-lying landmarks like the sandbars and wetlands seen on Google Satellite Maps or Google Earth is probably not what they are like on any given day when you are out on the river. more...

Canoe and Kayak Safety

The Mississippi River presents many challenges for paddlers, but when properly approached by experienced paddlers with the right equipment it can be the amongst most rewarding paddling in North America. Rivergator has extensive information about canoe and kayak safety especially on the Mississippi River. Visit Safety under the Paddler's Guide and get prepared for your Mississippi River adventure.

Camping on the Mississippi River

The best camping on the Lower Mississippi River Water Trail is found within one mile perimeter of the locations listed on this Campsite Map. River campers, please be aware that actual sandbar size & shape very greatly with water level. In the River Log you can read detailed accounts of canoeing, kayaking, paddling and camping on the Lower Mississippi River. Select the area of the River where you'll be paddling or camping and there are descriptions to help you plan your paddling adventure.

Essential Links for Paddlers:
Middle/Lower Mississippi River

1) Rivergator: Paddler's Guide to the Lower Mississippi River

6) Quapaw Canoe Company: Guiding & Outfitting on the Lower Mississippi River

7) St. Louis River Gage

8) Arkansas River Gage

11) Mississippi River Paddlers