About the Association

The Mississippi River Water Trail (MRWTA), a National Water Trail since 2012, encompasses 121 miles of the Mississippi River including the confluence of the two longest rivers in the country (the Missouri and Mississippi), 75 sites including 62 rest areas and 17 camping areas, and three locks and dams. The trail spans two states, rural areas, and a large urban area at St Louis, Missouri. The Mississippi flows past the site where Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition and also the world famous St. Louis Arch which attracts people from all over the world. The Mississippi River Water Trail is a magnificent and scenic destination for paddlers that is close to home for millions of people.

Since 2007, MRWTA has coordinated volunteers and events on the river to ensure high quality and affordable recreational and educational opportunities and to promote safe public use of the trail. We collaborate with communities, organizations, and agencies to foster conservation by both developing and supporting the trail.

We lead many activities throughout the year, including a paddling festival, safety classes, guided tours for small groups, and a speaker series. Users of the water trail include a mix of rural, urban, and suburban individuals and families who are geocachers, birders, fishermen, duck hunters, motor boaters, recreational paddlers, racers, and international and national long-distance paddlers. In recent years, we have also taken school-aged children on guided kayak tours on the river’s calm backwaters, including children from many underserved communities.

See our trail on the National Recreational Trails Program website at https://www.nrtapplication.org/trails/mississippi-river-water-trail. Since July 11, 2012, the Mississippi River Water Trail has been registered as a National Water Trail and thereby recognized by the Secretary of Interior for this designation.

US Army Corps Development

The Mississippi River Water Trail was developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers in concert with the American Canoe Association and other organizations in response to public requests for a water trail on the Mississippi River within the St. Louis District boundary. The Corps has developed day use rest areas and primitive camping areas and promotes wildlife watching and interpretive opportunities on the Mississippi River.

Volunteers provide support by maintaining trail rest areas, primitive campsites, and facilities to ensure quality recreational opportunities for paddlers.

The MRWTA also facilitates collaboration with communities, organizations, and agencies to foster sound safety and conservation practices along the river.

What is a Water Trail?

Water trails are recreational waterways on a lake, river, or ocean between specific points. They include access points, day use, and/or primitive camping sites for the boating public. Water trails serve as ribbons of discovery and create educational opportunities and promote a healthy economy and high quality of life while preserving natural and cultural heritage.

Planning a Trip on the Mississippi River?