Discover the Widest Point on the Mississippi River

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: September 6, 2022
Share this post on:

Key Points

  • One of the most famous rivers in the world, the Mississippi River cuts down the United States from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • At a confluence in the river is where it reaches its widest point.
  • The Mississippi River is home to 25% of all fish species in North America.

The Mississippi River is arguably one of the most famous rivers in the world. Even those who do not know any facts about the origin of the Mississippi River have at least heard of it.

The National Park Service under the U.S. Department of Interior approximate that there are at least 145 species of amphibians and reptiles that regard the Upper Mississippi River and its environs as home. Mississippi, in addition to being a significant part of the economy, plays host to more than 50 species of mammals, as well as up to 60 documented species of mussels. In this article, we’ll take a look at the river Mississippi and discover some truly amazing facts about it.

Where is the River Mississippi?

The Mississippi River stretches out from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

iStock.com/Willard

The Mississippi River stretches out from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Its entire length is 2,340 miles. Its total surface area is 1.2 million square miles, making it the second-longest river in North America. This also makes the river the third largest water basin in the world

The river Mississippi was originally called Misi-ziibi by the Anishinaabe people. The French people developed their name from this and called the river Messipi, which the name Mississippi originates from.

Mississippi plays a very important part in the United States’ economy. Not only does it provide drinking water to millions of people, but it is also a source of hydroelectricity. In addition to its financial benefits, the river has some gorgeous scenes at specific points.

What is the Widest Point on the Mississippi River?

Lake Winnibigoshish is the widest point of the Mississippi River.

McGhiever / Creative Commons – License

The widest point on the Mississippi River is located in Alton, Illinois where the Missouri River and Mississippi meet at a confluence. This meeting point is called Lake Winnibigoshish and it is located near Bena County, Minnesota. According to the National Park Service, its maximum width is 11 miles or 58,080 feet. This, of course, excludes some lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

What is The Deepest Point on the Mississippi River?

According to the Mississippi Valley Traveler, the deepest point in the Mississippi River is close to Algiers Point in New Orleans, where it is up to 0.038 miles or 200 feet deep.

Where is the Widest Navigable Section on the Mississippi River?

Lake Pepin, which is approximately 2 miles wide, is the widest navigable section on the Mississippi River.

iStock.com/Jacob Nichols

The widest navigable section in the shipping channel of the Mississippi is Lake Pepin, where the channel is approximately 2 miles wide. Lake Pepin is a popular recreational spot. It’s the perfect place for vacationers who love water sports.

What is the Speed of the Mississippi River?

At the Lake Itasca, which is the headquarters of the Mississippi River, the water flows at a speed of 1.2 miles per hour. Due to this, it takes water three months to flow from its headquarters to the gulf in Mexico.

How Many Species of Fish are in the Mississippi River?

The Mississippi River is filled with various flora and fauna. This includes various mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and sea creatures. According to the Wisconsin Government, the river is home to over 119 species of fish such as Asian carp, smallmouth basses, and bluegills.

Some of the most unique and odd fish species found in the Mississippi River include paddlefish, Gulf sturgeon, and alligator gar.

Is Mississippi Longer Than America’s Longest River?

America’s longest river is the Missouri River. It is 2,341 miles long, making it longer than the Mississippi River.

Who Discovered the Mississippi River?

(Image Caption: Hernando De Soto was recorded to be the first European to set eyes on the Mississippi River.)

Although there are conflicting reports about the first European to reach the Mississippi River, the Architect of the Capitol’s official website states that the Spanish explorer and conquistador named Hernando De Soto was recorded to be the first European to set eyes on the Mississippi River.

His feat was well-documented by Henry Powell’s Renaissance art which showed Hernando De Soto arriving at the river on May 8, 1541.

5 Amazing Facts About the Mississippi River

The Mississippi River is an important part of the livelihood of many Americans. It is also well-known for a couple of other interesting facts. Below are 5 amazing facts about the Mississippi River.

River Mississippi is the Birthplace of Water Skiing

In 1922, Ralph Samuelson invented water skiing using a pair of boards as skis and a clothesline. His discovery was made on Lake Pepin, making The Mississippi River the birthplace of water skiing. Ralph Samuelson tried out various waterskiing positions for several days until July 2, 1922. This was in a bid to find out the best way to actually maintain balance.

With the help of his brother Ben, Ralph Samuelson found that the best way to maintain balance was to lean backward so that the tips of the skimming boards were sticking out of the water. However, Samuelson did not go ahead to patent his discovery of water skis. Instead, the first patent for skis was issued on 27 October 1925 to Fred Waller.

It Flows Through Ten U.S. States

The river Mississippi flows through 10 of America’s 51 states. These states are Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Louisiana. The state of Mississippi is even named after the river.

Mississippi is Home to 25% of All Fish Species in North America

North America is known to have more than 500 species of fish. Of this number, the Mississippi river features at least 25%. The upper part of the river alone is known to have as many as 119 species of fish. No other Wisconsin inland lake has this many species. Gulf sturgeons are the Mississippi river’s biggest fish while Piebald Madtoms are its rarest.

Mississippi River is a Main Migratory Flyway

According to the NPS Government, 60% of all North American birds (326 species) use the Mississippi River Basin as their migratory flyway.

Martin Strel Was the First Person to Swim the Entire Length of The Mississippi

In 2002, Martin Strel made history by being the first person to swim the entire length of the Mississippi River. The entire journey took him 68 days in a row. Martin started out on the 4th of July, America’s Independence Day, and finished on the 9th of September

He began his journey from northern Minnesota and swam to the Gulf of Mexico located in Louisiana.

Up Next…

A lot is known about the Mississippi River but there is always more to be discovered. Do some of your own research on this magnificent river in these articles:

Share this post on:

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.