The Missouri River
The River of Lewis & Clark
The Missouri River  Some will argue that the Missouri river is the longest river in North America, River and continues
another 1,500 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Together, the Missouri/Mississippi River complex is the fourth longest and
the third largest in the entire world.

Nicknamed the "Big Muddy," the Missouri River has long been one of America's most important. The river served as
the path for the Lewis and Clark expedition, and later became the primary pathway for our country's western expansion.
She has witnessed the rise and fall of the steamboat era and given birth to countless communities that settled near her

If you have an adventures spirit and a boat with enough fuel range, you can navigate the Missouri River from St. Louis to
Sioux City, Montana. Unlike other rivers or streams, the Missouri joins the Niagara River when it comes to diving off the
stern or bow of your boat, and coming up finding yourself too far away from it to swim against the current to get back to
it. So, we strongly advise wearing a life jacket. Remember, while the 2 or 3 knot current on the Mississippi, and the 3 or
4 knot current on the Missouri may not sound so dramatic - it is the "volume" of water (up to 100,000 cubic feet per
second) that hinders up stream boats and swimmers.  Boating "up" the Missouri River is much like boating up the
Niagara RIver (between Niagara Falls and Lake Erie). It is an up hill climb, and unless you have a fuel guzzling planning
boat, you simply aren't going anywhere fast. Wind can also be a major factor when boating on the Missouri River.  Cold
water is also a factor than should be considered on the Missouri River. During a significant portion of early spring the
water is still ice cold.  More boaters and swimmers are killed by the cold water, than any other cause on the Missouri
and upper Mississippi.

A Working River
While the Missouri is a working river, an unusually small number of large barges travel the Missouri River corridor and
these large vessels have no ability to steer around we Loopers in our smaller boats. However, if you learn to recognize
the location of the river channel that is indicated by the navigation marker system on the river, then you know exactly
where a barge must travel. When encountering a barge, you need to know in advance where you should move for the
barge to pass and the waves to settle down.  By pointing your boat towards the waves you should be able to let the
barge and its waves pass with little trouble. It is worth repeating that barges have legal right-of-way and do not have the
maneuverability to avoid your boat (even if they see it). You must move aside and let them pass.

Another consideration is the hazard posed by barges moored on the river. Stay well clear of these, as the river is
rushing under the front of the vessel and could pull a small craft under. The lower Missouri River is a channelized river
system. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has constructed rock-reinforced structures along the entire lower river, used
to direct the current into a central channel. These “wing dams” or “L-dikes” can create turbulence and strong currents
that are best avoided.

The current averages between 3-5 miles per hour with a flow that can range between 30,000 - 100,000 cubic feet per
second. This gives the Missouri River immense power.  

The Missouri River presents a special attraction for those who have a more adventurous itch to scratch. However, the
distances between some fuel stops along the way is significant. So it is important to plan your trip accordingly.
Distances along the Missouri River
beginning at the mouth (junction)
with the Mississippi River.
in statute miles.

St. Charles, MO = 28 miles
Washington, MO  = 67 miles
Hermann, MO  = 98 miles
Mouth of Gasconade River = 104
Gasconade, MO = 105 miles
Mouth of Auxvass River = 120 miles
Mouth of Middle River = 125 miles
Mouth of Osage River =130 miles
Jefferson City, MO = 143 miles
Boonville, MO  = 197 miles
Mouth of Lamine River = 202 miles
Glasgow, MO = 226 miles
Mouth of Charitan River  = 239 miles
Mouth of Grand River = 250 miles
Miami, MO =  263 miles
Waverly, MO =  294 miles
Lexington, MO  = 317 miles
Napoleon, MO = 329 miles
Kansas City, MO = 363 miles
Mouth of Kansas River = 367 miles
Leavenworth, KS = 396 miles
St. Joseph, MO = 448 miles
Mouth of Big Nemaha River =  495 miles
Rulo, NE  = 498 miles
Mouth of Tarkio River  = 507 miles
Mouth of Nishnabotna River = 542 miles
Nebraska City, NE = 563 miles
Plattsmouth, NE = 591 miles
Omaha, NE = 615 miles
Council Bluffs, IA = 617 miles
Dakota City, NE = 725 miles
Sioux City, IA = 753 miles
Gavins Point  Dam = 811 miles
Latitude:     42.861944°N
Longitude:  97.485278°W
While Sioux City is considered the
"commercial" navigational head or the
Missouri River, the actual limit to your
navigational ability on the Missouri is the
Gavins Point Dam which is another 58
miles upstream from Sioux City.  From
Sioux City however, the US Army Corps of
Engineers maintains a minimum river
depth of 9 feet for 753 miles to the
Mississippi river.  Since no locks were
constructed, commercial navigation on the
Missouri cannot proceed above the
Gavins Point Dam, which is 4 miles west
of Yankton, SD. The Gavins Point Dam is
located on the Missouri river mile marker
    When headed upstream from the
    Mississippi River.

    Mile marker 170.0
    Cooper's Landing
    Columbia, MO
    Fuel, boating supplies
    • Deli and grocery
    • Showers, laundry
    • Pump-out station
    • Live entertainment on weekends
    NOTE: it is 421 miles (up river) to your next
    fuel stop!

    Mile marker 591.0
    Castaway Pointe Marina
    1 mi North of Plattsmouth bridge
    • Public courtesy docks
    • Restaurant and Bar

    Mile marker 600.6
    Bellevue Marina
    Bellevue, Nebraska Parks and Recreation
    • Slips
    • Pump-out station

    Mile marker 616.4
    Riverfront Marina
    Lewis and Clark Landing - Omaha Parks and
    • Day slips - $5/hr
    • Staff on site during business hours.

    Mile marker 618.0
    Sandpiper Cove Marina
    Omaha, Nebraska
    • Slips, ice machine

    Mile marker 627.4
    N.P. Dodge Park Marina
    Omaha, Nebraska  Omaha Parks and Recreation
    • Pump-out station

    Mile marker 651.4
    Cottonwood Marina
    Blair, Nebraska
    Fuel, ice,
    • Restaurant and lounge
    • Live entertainment on weekends

    Mile marker 691.3
    Decatur Marina
    Fuel, ice,
    • Overnight slips
    • Restaurant and lounge
    • Live entertainment on weekends

    Mile marker 732.6
    Sioux City MlrTym Marina
    Fuel, Convenience store,
    • Overnight Rates are a flat: $40.00
    • Jolly Roger's outdoor Bar & Grill
    • Bev's on the River restaurant
on the Missouri River
Mile Markers
are in statute miles.
This page is still a work in progress...
Capt John's America's Great Loop
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