King’s Ferry Landing to Vicksburg
Paddlers using canoes, kayaks or stand-up paddleboards can follow the Yazoo River out of the Mississippi Delta to its end at the Loess Bluffs of Vicksburg. The Yazoo River banks are wooded along the route, and the main channel is free of debris and easy to navigate.
A nice sandbar appears halfway along the route (near the mouth of the Centennial Lake Chute at mile 2.8). This sandbar disappears when the river rises above 20VG. No other sandbars or attractive places are available for paddlers to stop until you reach the Vicksburg waterfront.
Length: 5.1 miles
Description: Perfect for paddlers using canoes, kayaks, or stand-up paddleboards.
Experience Level: Easy day trip for beginners
Time: 2-4 hours
Put-in: King’s Ferry Landing
Take-out: Vicksburg City Front Boat Ramp
Services: Local services available as you near Vicksburg.
During white-tailed deer hunting season (Oct-Jan), there are deer camps on the right bank. Do not venture into the woods during these times. For best protection wear an orange cap or vest over your life jacket.
For the best understanding and appreciation of King’s Ferry Landing to Vicksburg route, use the custom Google map http://goo.gl/maps/kl2mb.
1. King’s Ferry Landing
(Latitude: 32°24’2.06″N, Longitude: 90°55’25.13″W)
Directions from Vicksburg: The King’s Ferry Landing is located off of Old Highway 61 (Business 61) to Haining Road to Long Lake Road and finally to King’s Point Ferry Road. There is a large metal sign on Haining Road that states “King’s Ferry Landing.” King’s Point Ferry Road has 4 miles of good gravel road (cars without 4-wheel drive will have no problem).
The boat ramp/King’s Ferry Landing is in good condition (small rock & dirt), but paddlers will have to time their entry with the King’s Ferry, which operates every day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is fine to park during the ferry’s operating hours, but don’t leave a vehicle overnight.
2. Mile 1.2 Upper Vicksburg Harbor
Warning! Watch for industrial and commercial traffic coming in and out of this harbor which houses oil and chemical refineries and Anderson Tully lumber operations. An Ergon Refinery dock is at the mouth of the harbor.
3. Mile 2.8 Centennial Lake Entrance, RBD
When less than 20VG, a nice white sandbar which is good for camping or relaxing is exposed.If the river is higher than 13VG, it is possible to go into beautiful Centennial Lake through the chute that connects to the Yazoo River. The chute winds 0.8 miles in a narrow channel (30 feet wide low water/100 feet wide high water) and is surrounded by trees.It is quiet and full of wildlife.
4. Centennial Lake
Centennial Lake is 1.5 miles long and 0.4 miles wide and known for great fishing and calm waters.Occasionally a Jet Ski or ski boat will be on the lake. The state boundary line between Louisiana and Mississippi runs right down the middle of the lake. During periods of high water it is possible to cut east through the trees over to DeSoto Lake.
5. DeSoto Lake Cutoff
A secret pathway to reach downtown Vicksburg through DeSoto Lake from Centennial Lake is possible only when the Mississippi River is higher than 33 on the Vicksburg gage. The approximate route is shown on custom Google map http://goo.gl/maps/kl2mb. Paddlers should use their intuition and examine the current state of vegetation and piles of driftwood for the actual route.
6. Vicksburg National Military Park and Fort Hill Bend – Mile 3.7
Fort Hill and the Vicksburg National Military Park are directly downstream and in full view from the Centennial Lake chute confluence. This spot is 1.2 miles (as the crow flies) to the Fort Hill cannons. This is exactly where Union gunboats would have been nervously steaming through in 1863. Paddlers can’t help but imagine the anxiety the ship’s crew felt as cannon balls rained down upon them from the high strategic Vicksburg bluff in the Civil War.
The Yazoo River takes a 90-degree right turn at the base of Fort Hill as it slams into the Loess bluffs of Vicksburg.
Warning! The entrance to the Vicksburg Harbor is left bank opening; the harbor is full of industries, tows, and barges. Paddlers should keep a careful eye out for towboats, workboats, and crew boats from here to the takeout.
7. Mile 4.5 Downtown Vicksburg
The city of Vicksburg rises out of the trees bank left during the last 400 yards of the route.The Old (Train) Depot Museum is the first to make its appearance and is one of the few buildings not protected by the floodwall.The 1859 Old Courthouse Museum with its clock tower is visible high up on the bluff.
8. Mile 5.1 The Vicksburg City Front Boat Ramp, LBD
(Latitude: 32°21’2.97″N, Longitude: 90°53’6.15″W)
The concrete boat ramp is in good condition and is frequently used by fishing boats and workboats. In addition, plenty of space is available for paddlers to take out anywhere along the cobblestones or the mud below. Plenty of parking is available on the concrete slabs and the Vicksburg Police Department patrols here regularly. Steel chain links are embedded in the parking area’s concrete slabs, which allow big boats to anchor via steel cables. These also allow canoeists and kayakers to lock up boats in the parking lot without fear of theft.Paddlers should not miss the beautiful murals painted on the floodwalls facing the city.
After a long hot day of paddling, visiting Catfish Row Water Park across the street and rinsing off in the water fountains is a refreshing ending to a great day!
Centennial Lake Roundtrip
Length: 5 to 7 miles
Description: This route is only possible if the river is above 33 feet on the Vicksburg gage.
Experience level: Easy for beginners
Time: 2-4 hours
Put-in and take-out: Vicksburg City Front Boat Ramp
One of the best features about this paddle trail is that the put-in and take-out is the same location — theVicksburg City Front Boat Ramp! After leaving the boat ramp, paddle directly across the Yazoo and downstream approximately 500 feet. There will be a small opening on the right in the woods at N32.350174, W90.887597. On Google Earth (Image date: 10-28-2012), the shortcut (dirt path) is easy to see in this low water picture. This shortcut leads to DeSoto Lake.
In less than 5 minutes, paddlers leave the city and are surrounded by nature. The shortcut to Centennial Lake is in the far southwest corner of DeSoto Lake. Paddle one mile to the northeast corner of Centennial Lake to get to the chute that connects the lake to the Yazoo River. The 0.8 mile long chute winds down a narrow channel (30 feet wide low water/100 feet wide high water) through the trees. It is quiet and full of wildlife. When the Yazoo appears, paddlers should take a right and return back downstream 2.2 miles to the Vicksburg City Front Boat Ramp.