The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

Introduction

Best Sandbars found below the biggest Points on inside of Big Bends

In general, the best sandbars will be found on the places along the inside of the tightest bends or jogs of the river (Note: usually the best sand is found thrown against the bank just a little downstream of the midpoint of the inside of the bend). The best sandbars included in these bends are Manchac Point (214.5 RBD), Plaquemine Point (209 LBD), Point Clair (194 LBD), Eighty-One Mile Point (178 LBD), Bringier Point (172.5 LBD), Point Houmas (172 RBD), Zen-Noh Point (165 LBD), College Point (156 LBD), Paulina (149 LBD), Fifty Mile Point (144 RBD), Forty-Eight Mile Point/Belle Point (143LBD), Bonnet Carre Point (133RBD), Thirty-Five Mile Point (130LBD), Twenty-Six Mile Point (124.5 LBD), Twelve Mile Point (110-109 LBD), Nine-Mile Point (104 RBD), Algiers Point (94.5 RBD), Poydras Point (85.5 RBD), Twelve Mile Point (81 RBD), Shingle Point (78 LBD), Will’s Point (68 LBD), Poverty Point (60 LBD - difficult shallow bank), Point Celeste (51.5 RBD - muddy), Pointe a la Hache (44.5 LBD - Bohemia Beach), Sixty Mile Point (33 RBD), Point Pleasant (31-28 LBD), Bolivar Point (22 LBD - cattle ranch), and Fort Jackson (19.5-18.5 RBD). Unfortunately for paddlers, many of these ideal sandbars have been pirated by sand and dirt removal operations with bulldozers, track hoes and back hoes. Rivergator will recommend which to camp on and which to avoid. Point Pleasant is especially rich in possibilities, if the water is not too high. Below Point Pleasant paddlers will find several miles of contiguous sites conducive to good camping along the East Bank (LBD) between miles 31 and 28. Stay as near to the Point as you can to keep distance between your camp and possible noise and air pollution erupting from the sprawling 2-mile long petrochemical complex at the Chevron Refinery (downstream 27-25 LBD). Go to entries for these locations further on into the Rivergator for more details about Point Pleasant and all the other points mentioned above.


A couple of unusual sandbars along outside edge of the Bends

Paddlers will discover a few surprising places on the outside of some of the bends where for some reason the river has mounded up high piles of sand on the opposite side from where sand is usually found, strewn around the long circumference of the outside of the bend. Several of these are high enough to be dry at low and medium water levels. Examples of these odd outside bend locations include Romeville Dune (162LBD), Willow Bend (142RBD), Killona Landing (130RBD), Dufresne (123RBD), Kenner (11.5LBD), and lastly at a very notable location next to the New Orleans Water Intake, and the “Batture Houses” which are both found along the outside edge of Carrolton Bend 104-105LBD. There is another very skinny bar in an odd place -- below the old power house at 97LBD. And finally, there are a few skinny sandbars strewn along the outside edge of Algiers Bend (LBD 94-93) below the French Quarter.


Camping at the Bonnet Carre Spillway

Even though there is grassy high ground and a mile-wide opening with no industry at the mouth of the Spillway (in low water), there is no camping allowed at the USACE-maintained Bonnet Carre Spillway. But with some advance planning you could possibly gain permission by calling or writing to the project manager on site. If you do not ask permission and make an illegal camp you might be chased off in the middle of the night by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff Dept, or worse be rudely awaken by the revelry & mayhem of infrequent 4WD midnight trouble-makers. Go on to Rivergator entry for the Bonnet Carre Spillway for more information.


Camping at the mouths of the Passes and other Gulf Outlets

Great campsites on high ground can be located at the mouths of some of the the Passes and other Gulf Outlets, below Poverty Point mile 60. You will discover cleared places perched above the water on muddy shelves that are sometimes freshly covered with sand but more often with hardened mud -- and covered with grasses and backed by thick vegetation. At low water you will find these mouths protected by lines of rip rap with breaks in the rock that allow water flow - and paddlers - to pass through. Pick your entrance through the deepest opening and enter the protected waters behind. These unintentional man-made harbors are a rare luxury after dramatic experiences with crashing waves along the otherwise unprotected shores and beaches. The first such possibility is found at Mardi Gras Pass, but watch out for large changes of water level along this stretch of river. (Note: The big container ships might cause a two foot change, with waves reaching three feet or higher. If your campsite is not over three feet above high tide you had better look elsewhere for better protection! Other possible campsites at the mouths of passes include but are no means limited to: Ostrica Pass (24.5 LBD -- controlled by Lock & Dam), Neptune Pass (three openings between 24-23 LBD), Harvey Pass (20 LBD), St. Phillip’s Bend Pass (20 LBD), St. Anne’s Pass (18 LBD), Olga Pass (three openings near Olga Light 16 LBD), Un-Named Pass at 15.5 LBD, Un-Named Pass at 14.5 LBD, Un-Named Pass at 12.5 LBD, and the mouth of Baptiste Collette Bayou (11.5 LBD). A new Pass opened in 2011 West Bank RBD mile 5 with a beautiful sandy bar and nearby cypress trees (south side of the entrance).


Cubit’s Gap/Main Pass Camp

A wooded high ground is found in Cubit’s Gap at the mouth of Main Pass 3.7LBD with a protected anchorage (in low flow) and good natural ground landings for canoes, kayaks and paddleboards. This site can be identified from the distance by a high lookout tower that was once used at the Old Quarantine Station. More detail in River Log.


Southwest Pass Camp

An unusual and very expansive field of sand (the size of several football fields) sprawls behind the rip-rap on the West Bank at the Head of Passes, RBD at the mouth of the Southwest Pass (-0- RBD). Good low water camping is found here, but the entire bar goes under in high water flows.