A link to river gage information as well as a discussion on river levels and how they impact the dynamics of paddling the river can be found here.
Hypothermia risk from cold water is an important factor for paddling and planning a trip. You can access temperature data at the below river gage sites. Even on a warm day, cold water on any large water body can present a real risk factor.
The Missouri river is a wide open body of water and wind and weather can be a significant factor in regards to safety and also how long it may take you to cover a section of the river. A head wind can take 1-2 miles per hour off your speed and can be a factor in planning a trip. Current conditions and both short and long term forecasts can be found at http://www.weather.gov/forecastmaps
GPS Coordinate Information
The following table provides locational information on each of the water trail points of interest. Many GPS units have software that will allow you to organize this data and download it to your handheld GPS unit for use on the river. We are supplying this data in comma delimited CSV format which should open in most generic spreadsheet software.
In addition to the maps that can be viewed using the Missouri River Mapping Tool there are some additional map resources that are of value to paddlers or those who want to learn more about the river.
- Lewis and Clark Bicentennial-Lower Missouri River - A guide to recreation and visitor safety
- Corp of Engineers navigation charts - These maps show where all the wing dikes are on the Missouri River.
- MDNR Interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) Viewer. This site can be used to create user-defined maps featuring a myriad of subjects ranging from aerial photographs of the river to locations of Lewis and Clark campsites. The best way to learn to use the site is simply to jump right in. There are directions for using the site provided on the opening page. You can use the printer icon in the tool bar to save and print your final map.
- Katy Trail State Park is built on the former corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad (better known as the Katy). When the railroad decided to cease operation on its route from Machens in St. Charles County to Sedalia in Pettis County in 1986, it presented the chance to create an extraordinary recreational opportunity -- a long-distance hiking and bicycling trail that would run almost 200 miles across the state. The trail allows users to travel through some of the most scenic areas of the state. The majority of the trail closely follows the route of the Missouri River so hikers and bicyclists often find themselves with the river on one side and towering bluffs on the other.
Places to Stay
The Missouri Division of Tourism offers information on finding places to stay and visit in Missouri. Several bed and breakfasts, wineries and historic communities are located along the Missouri River.
The Bike Katy Trail website is another excellent resource for finding services and a place to stay along the river. The Katy Trail State Park runs down the Missouri River Valley along the river and often services that can assist a cyclist on the Katy Trail are also relevant to a paddler on the river. This website provides information on places to stay near the Katy Trail and sites to visit as well as shuttle services for cyclists who often can also shuttle a canoe or kayak for paddlers.
Missouri Conservation Department
Many of the public lands along the river are conservation areas that are administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the following website offers information on hunting seasons in Missouri. It is a good idea to be aware of these hunting seasons for both safety and planning. During duck hunting season, camping near a wetland hunting area can be less than ideal for both the hunters and your attempts at sleeping in!
Web Camera of Missouri River
This web cam hosted by Big Muddy.net offers a real time view of the river below Herman as well as general information on the Missouri River.
Additional Big River Water Trails
- Upper Missouri River
- South Dakota and Nebraska
- Lower Mississippi River
- Upper Mississippi River
Regional Water Trail Websites
- Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail
- Iowa Water Trails
- Nebraska Canoe Trails
- Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Relevant Guide Books and Websites
- The Complete Paddler: - By David Miller. A Guidebook for Paddling the Missouri River from the Headwaters to St. Louis, Missouri
- Exploring Lewis and Clark's Missouri - By Brett Dufur; Lots of information on the history of river towns along the river and the Lewis and Clark voyage.
- The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook, Updated and Revised 8th Edition- By Brett Dufur; A guide book to America’s Longest Rails-to-Trails Project; the KATY Trail State Park.
- The Big Muddy
- Missouri River 340 Kayak Race and Paddlers Forum.
- National Geographic - Paddle 340 miles of the Mighty Missouri - Nonstop (Article)
The Midwest is Now a Big River Paddling Destination
In addition to the 550 mile Missouri River Water Trail featured on this site, additional large river system water trails have been developed:
- a 59 mile water trail has been established on the Upper Missouri River in the South Dakota area. Missouri National Recreational River Water Trail
- On the Mississippi River, a 300 mile water trail on the Upper Mississippi River has been developed. Mississippi River Water Trail
- A water trail has been developed that will eventually cover the entire Lower Mississippi River. River Gator
Right in the heartland of America
we now have some of the best
large river system paddling
to be found anywhere!