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Wolf River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Destination Report
Nearest City: Memphis, TN
Difficulty: Moderate
Submitted by: memphis

Description:

The Wolf is a "running cypress swamp" river, similar in appearance to the Louisiana cypress swamps you've all seen in movies but with moving water instead of still water. The upper Wolf is a near pristine example of a river environment that was once prevalent in the central portion of the Mississippi River basin - most of the others have been channelized and damaged in other ways, and few if any are close to the Wolf in beauty and abundant wildlife.

The upper Tennessee part contains wilderness sections of the river and a large stillwater lake/swamp called "Ghost River." Some parts of the river are almost still, some have a moderate current, and some parts are relatively fast water where the river runs over terrain anchored by cypress trees ("cypress rapids"). There's no whitewater here at normal water levels, but some parts are fast enough to be dangerous due to the congestion of trees and brush. Unlike the headwaters portions, these segments are generally free of fallen trees and driftwood blocking the channel, thanks to volunteer trail keepers. However, be prepared to get out of the boat occasionally to drag over or around logs.

Once past the city of Moscow, the river gradually takes on a more urban character as it approaches the city of Memphis. The river empties into the Mississippi in downtown Memphis.

The Mississippi part contains the headwaters of the Wolf. Like the lower portions, some of it is almost still, some has a moderate current, and some parts are relatively fast water where the river runs over terrain anchored by cypress trees ("cypress rapids"). There's no whitewater here, but some parts are fast enough to be dangerous due to the congestion of trees and brush. Unlike the lower portions, there are many fallen trees and driftwood blocking the channel here - be prepared to get out of the boat frequently to drag over or around logs. Don't try these trips without local knowledge and experience on the downstream segments.

Accommodations:

The usual near-urban sprawl.

Launches:

In order, from downstream to upstream: Moscow, Batemen Bridge, LaGrange.

Contact:

Wolf River Conservancy, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.


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