Missouri River Water Trail
1101 Riverside Dr, Jefferson City, MO 65101
Overview of paddling level required:
Intermediate to advanced
Best time to paddle for specific weather conditions?
Warm season months
Closest city to fly into or drive from:
For put in locations, maps and campsite information: Visit the website
The Missouri River is one of the longest rivers in North America, traversing an amazing variety of landscapes on its journey to the sea. Every bend in the river is saturated in history. Her waters have offered a spiritual centerpiece for many Native American tribes and have nurtured an astonishing amount of wildlife. The river served as the path for the Lewis and Clark expedition, later evolving into the primary pathway for our countries western expansion. She has witnessed the rise and fall of the steamboat era and gave birth to countless communities that settled near her banks. More than 550 miles of the lower river flow across the state of Missouri. This section of the river is large and fast-flowing, with scenic views and a remote setting and offers a truly unique paddling experience, with opportunities from simple day trips to long multi-day expeditions.
The recent anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition renewed public interest in the rich cultural history associated with the Missouri River, and as a result several communities have revitalized their riverfronts. There are now multiple city parks, access points and viewing areas located along the river. In addition, the lower river is flanked by the longest rail-to-trail system in America, the Katy Trail State Park. More than 150 miles of this hiking and biking trail parallels the river and over the years has spawned a multitude of privately run campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, unique shops, restaurants and many other services along its course - all very close to the river's edge!
The value of this resource was recognized in the fall of 2006, when Missouri Governor Matt Blunt directed a coalition of Missouri agencies - including the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Conservation and the Division of Tourism to formally establish the Lewis and Clark Water Trail on the lower Missouri River.
The strategic goal of this initiative was to use the power of the internet to provide information and resources to paddlers planning a trip on the Missouri River. The Lewis and Clark water trail web site (www.missouririverwatertrail.org
) is designed to provide paddlers with information on the Missouri River's history, river safety, tips on paddling a big river system, interactive maps of the river and a whole range of tools and resources for planning a paddling excursion on the lower Missouri River. The project has established the nations longest river water trail with over 550 miles of river and associated assess points.
The Missouri River offers a truly unique opportunity to paddle through history. Using a canoe or kayak, a paddler can choose to solo camp on a sandbar in an apparent wilderness setting or stay in a bed and breakfast and tour a historic river town.