What’s so great about crossing the Mississippi River, you
ask? Chances are you’ve traversed this 2,530-mile Midwest waterway plenty of
times in your life, either by car, plane, boat or all three. And that’s no
surprise, considering the river cuts through and borders 10 states, dividing
the U.S. into unequal halves. But have you ever considered wading across it?
Or, would you trust a crooked bridge to lead you safely to the other side? The
Mighty Mississippi certainly lives up to its name, and now here’s your chance
to learn about some of the best, least expected ways to cross it on your summer
Itasca State Park,
Minn. | Forget bridges. At Northern Minnesota’s Itasca State Park, you have
one-of-a-kind opportunity to wade across the great North American river.
its headwaters, you can hop along rocks that form a broken path across the
nearly 30-foot-wide stream before the waterway turns into what you know as the Mighty
Mississippi – which at one point reaches depths of 200 feet. The stepping
stones may be fully or partly submerged, depending on the time of year you
visit, as well as the amount of rainfall the area has received. The Mississippi
River headwaters are one of the most popular attractions in the park, and are
well worth the stop if you want to cross the river without the dangers of
sweeping currents and or massive boats.
ShutterstockChain of Rocks
Bridge, St. Louis, Mo. | Perched over the Mississippi waters on the
northern edge of St. Louis is the Chain of Rocks Bridge.
This Missouri bridge was built in 1966 and served as a pathway along the Main
Street of America – U.S. Route 66.
The All-American roadway has since been
redirected to the new Chain of Rock Road bridge while the original is used as a
walking and biking route. Not only is the old Chain of Rocks Bridge a pristine example
of Americana, it is also known for its distinct shape. The bridge was built
with a 22-degree-angle bend near the middle in order to accommodate boats
navigating the rocky river waters below. Incredibly photogenic, the Chain of
Rock Bridge offers several vantage points of the Mississippi – and you can even
see St. Louis’ landmark, the Gateway Arch!
ShutterstockMud Island, Memphis,
Tenn. | Did you ever think you could walk across the Mississippi River
while you’re in Tennessee? At Mud Island River Park, you can! The Riverwalk is
an exact scale model of the Lower Mississippi River – its journey from Illinois
to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Riverwalk sits a few yards from the full-sized
Mississippi River. Walk the nearly 1,000-mile journey in minutes without ever worrying
about getting anything but your feet and ankles wet. This intricate Mississippi
River model snakes its way through the park, for a total length of 2,000 feet,
until it dumps out in an acre-sized Gulf of Mexico.