America's Great Loop
|Cruising the Upper Mississippi River
|© 1993 - 2017 CaptainJohn.org
|The Illinois River joins the Mississippi River at Grafton. You will need to fill all your tanks (fuel & water) at Grafton.
From Grafton, you will take the Mississippi to the Ohio River and on to the Tennessee or Cumberland rivers, to reach
Kentucky Lake and make your way to the Tennessee-Tombigbee route to Mobile Bay. The fuel range required for this leg
of your journey is 250 miles. You will have to make it from Hoppies Marina to either the Kentucky Dam Marina (mile 22) or
Green Turtle Bay Marina (mile 25) on the Tennessee river.
|Cairo is your decision point. If you haven't made up your
mind to take the Tennessee-Tombigbee by the time you reach
Cairo, well, the river's current may make it up for you.
|"The Water World of America's Heartland"
( Why cruising the Great Loop is much-much more than just a great loop. )
|The Mississippi River:
Obviously, the Mississippi River had to start somewhere, for
Great Loopers, it starts in Grafton, IL.
While Grafton is Mile 0 on the Illinois Upper Mississippi River.
Cairo is Mile 954 on the Lower Mississippi River. Therefore
Grafton is (954 + 219) or 1,173 miles from the Gulf of Mexico,
and 1,080 to Harvey Lock at the Gulf ICW..
|The Upper Mississippi:
The next big city from Grafton is St. Louis, Missouri, and
surprisingly there are no Marinas or good anchorage
options in the St Louis area.
|From Hoppies, and for the next 158 miles or so, you will discover wingdams. Wingdams wing dams
on the upper Mississippi River and on the Illinois Waterway. If the river is a little high, you may not see
them. If you know what to look for, wing dams can be recognized by the ripples on the surface of the
|You will enter the Chain of Rocks canal at Mile marker 194.1. Do not continue down the river. The
canal takes you safely past the hazardous chain of rocks reach of the Mississippi River. It ends at Mile marker
184, experience the hardest and fastest current of your entire voyage. In fact, you will race past the St Louis Arch.
It is 184 miles from the Chain of Rocks to the Ohio River. If you average going down river at 9 mph it will take you
13 hours to reach the Ohio River.
|St Louis Gateway
You will cruise by the St Louis
Arch on your way between
Alton Marina and Hoppies.
|Kidd River Fuel:
This is a diesel fuel stop in
Cape Girardeau, Missouri at
Mile Marker 51.9.
Kidd River delivers fuel by
truck and no longer sells
gasoline. They also require
a 24 hour notice for diesel
fuel deliveries. They deliver
fuel to a floating dock along
the river bank. There are no
services of any kind.
|Wing Dams: locations
are marked on your charts
and GPS system. Going down
the rivers, it is important to
know what these are, where
they are, and how to identify
|To take OHIO River
Tennessee-Tombigbee to GULF ICW
|To take Lower Mississippi River
to GULF ICW
|Cairo is Mile 954 on the Lower Mississippi River.
Cairo is also Mile 0 on the Upper Mississippi River.
|Hoppies is a MUST fuel stop
|To cruise the Ohio River - click next
|- Cruising America's Great Loop - Once Around Is Not Enough -