Biking and Walking Virtually, Mississippi River, Part Five, Missouri & Illinois

Divisions of the River
Divided by river convergences

“River scientists and managers view the 2,320-mile Mississippi as having three distinct reaches: the Upper Mississippi, from the headwaters in Minnesota to the Missouri River confluence at St. Louis; the Middle Mississippi, from St. Louis downstream to the Ohio River confluence at Cairo, Ill.; and the Lower Mississippi, from the Ohio confluence downstream to the Gulf of Mexico.” Lower Mississippi River Conservation Committee

Divided by lock/non-lock sections

“The Mississippi River offers three distinct sections. In the river’s uppermost reaches, the river is narrow and winding … Below Minneapolis/St. Paul, the river becomes a series of pools formed by 33 locks & dams stretching southward … Below the last lock and dam in Granite City, Illinois, (St Louis) the Mississippi River flows dam-free to the Gulf of Mexico. The river is wide at this point and backwaters, sloughs and side channels are plentiful. ” Great River Road: Canoeing & Kayaking

Upper A – Headwaters to St. A Falls, 493 miles. There are dams but no locks.
Upper B – St. P to St. Louis, 664 miles. Series of man-made lakes.
Middle – Confl of MO River @ St. L to Confl of Ohio at Cairo, 190 miles. Free flowing.
Lower – Ohio River to Gulf, 1000 miles. (Which means KY on down.) Wiki: MR

Narrow & winding section = Upper A.
Dam section, almost but not quite same as Upper B. Dams section ends just after MO confluence. Entrance to C of R lock is just below MO confl. Then 3 mile canal.
Freeflowing, almost but not quite Middle + Lower. Middle starts just above last dam.

The Middle MR lies between the northern & southern borders of Missouri. Both systems agree that when the river leaves MO we are on the lower Mississippi.

Another division by lock/non-lock sections

“The river can be divided into three sections. The first section, from Lake Itasca to Minneapolis/St. Paul, has 14 dams that must be portaged around. The second “middle” section of the Mississippi, from St. Paul to St. Louis, has 29 locks and dams. At every lock there is a chance the canoeists will have to wait, up to many hours, for the lock to be ready for them to go through. Finally the “lower” Mississippi, 1,000 miles of free-flowing, fairly “wilderness-y” river but for barges, flows all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.” Two Paddles:  About the Mississippi River


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