The following are some useful sites that will allow you to get a feel for the current status of the lower Missouri River and assist you in planning your river trip. Using the following links, you can determine the river level, water temperature, weather and even visit a web camera view of the river. A link to an interactive mapping site is also provided that will allow you to create birds-eye views of the river, determine where Lewis and Clark camped, plot the exact river mile of a point of interest on the river and much more.
Overview maps to the entire water trail are provided online. Each region can be selected and then further explored by clicking any of the river access points. This will generate a more detailed map of a specific stretch of the river and you can also choose to walk the maps up and down the river by using the navigation arrows towards the top right of the page. Each of the detailed maps have fully selectable sites of interest and will generate a pop-up window with information about the site and relevant links. Specific aerial maps of each location are also available via a link provided towards the bottom of each informational pop-up page.
The following is a portal to information on Missouri River levels. Here you will find the relative river level and often a chart of the recent river levels at this location. It is worth pointing out that the river levels provided are only relative to gauge height a fixed location on the river. The Tips on Paddling the River section provides some general guidelines on how to use river gauge data. The best approach in using this information is to get to know the section of river you paddle and try to develop a feel for what its character is like in relationship to local gauge height information. This way you can get online from home and have a good idea of what to expect for a weekend float trip, etc.
This site from the National Weather Service provides forecasts for river levels at several locations on the lower Missouri River. These models can help you determine if a big rise in water level is on the way or if the river will drop. A rising river can affect camping locations and a dropping river tends to “cleanup” as debris is hung-up on wingdams and shorelines, thereby removing logs and floating materials from the river channel.
Hypothermia risk from cold water is an important factor for paddling and planning a trip. You can access temperature data at the below river gauge sites. Even on a warm day, cold water on any large water body can present a real risk factor.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources provides an interactive geographic information system (GIS) viewer. This site can be used to create user-defined maps featuring a myriad of subjects ranging from aerial photographs of the river to locations of Lewis and Clark campsites. The best way to learn to use the site is simply to jump right in. There are directions for using the site provided on the opening page. You can use the printer icon in the tool bar to save and print your final map.
Corp of Engineers navigation charts shows where all the wing dikes are on the Missouri River. http://www.nwk.usace.army.mil/RiverCharts/
The following table provides locational information on each of the water trail points of interest. Many GPS units have software that will allow you to organize this data and download it to your handheld GPS unit for use on the river. We are supplying this data in comma delimited CSV format which should open in most generic spreadsheet software.
Katy Trail State Park is built on the former corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad (better known as the Katy). When the railroad decided to cease operation on its route from Machens in St. Charles County to Sedalia in Pettis County in 1986, it presented the chance to create an extraordinary recreational opportunity -- a long-distance hiking and bicycling trail that would run almost 200 miles across the state.
The trail allows users to travel through some of the most scenic areas of the state. The majority of the trail closely follows the route of the Missouri River so hikers and bicyclists often find themselves with the river on one side and towering bluffs on the other. More information on this popular trail can be found at:
You can get a local weather forecast from the National Weather Service office. Simply type in your location of interest in the search engine at the top of the Web page.
Many of the public lands along the river are conservation areas that are administered by the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the following website offers information on hunting seasons in Missouri. It is a good idea to be aware of these hunting seasons for both safety and planning. During duck hunting season, camping near a wetland hunting area can be less than ideal for both the hunters and your attempts at sleeping in!
The Missouri Division of Tourism offers information on finding places to stay and visit in Missouri. Several bed and breakfasts, wineries and historic communities are located along the Missouri River.