The Little Sunflower River is a strange and wonderful piece of waterway. This easy day trip is a scenic roundtrip excursion into the heart of the Delta National Forest and is one of the most spectacular routes in the entire Mississippi Delta.
- Trail Length: 10 miles round trip
- Experience Level: Easy day trip
- Time: 5-6 hours. Could be overnight
- Trail Put In and Take Out: Little Sunflower Boat Launch off Dummyline Road
- Services: None. Remote river.
- Campsites: Camping is allowed within Delta National Forest, but is not recommended during hunting season.
Alternate Short Route (1-2 hours):
Paddle a couple of miles down the Little Sunflower and then turn around wherever you are and return to the landing. However far you go is how long it will take you to get back!
Trail description and photos by John Ruskey, Quapaw Canoe Company
- Carry all provisions and extra water.
- Wear appropriate clothing.
- Carry emergency gear including cell phone.
- Bring mosquito repellent.
Muddy landings, especially during low water (below 70 Holly Bluff gauge). Bare feet are best in the warm months and rubber barn boots in the winter. Check water conditions prior to embarking. Call the Delta National Forest office at 662-873-6256 to check during the week, or see www.visitmississippi.org/trails.aspx for more details.
Delta National Forest is a popular hunting area, so use extra caution and don’t explore woods during hunting season. Wear bright red/orange clothing and make loud sounds if it becomes necessary to leave open river to venture into the forest. Contact the Delta National Forest office for regulations and seasons.
This section of the Little Sunflower always has plenty of water for paddlers regardless of river level. Accessibility on the side-bayous will vary with water level.
Use the USACE River Gage at Holly Bluff to get an approximate idea of the water levels along the Lower Little Sunflower River.
Below 67: Low. No paddling in side bayous.
70-85: Medium. Side bayous begin to fill in.
85-95: High. Good side bayou exploration.
Above 95: Flood. Forests will be flooded in many places. Great paddling.
The Little Sun is lined by deep woods punctuated with large trees. These woods are home to a variety of animals and birds, indicative of the bottomland hardwood forests that once crowded the entire Mississippi Delta. Explore side bayous for animal sightings and to view the big trees (but longer length of travel).
The muddy banks thrive with aquatic life and forest creatures including beaver, turtles, wild turkeys, squirrels, wild hog, snakes, white-tailed deer and the black bear. Low lying swamp privets, water elms and flowering bushes give way higher up the bank to an impressive forest of hardwoods.
Delta National Forest is one of the most expansive tracts of bottomland hardwood forest in North America, and is the single largest such forest in the entire National Forest system.
Delta National Forest
68 Frontage Road Rolling Fork MS 39159 Phone: (662) 873-6256
Office Hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm (M-F)
For more information contact:
Mississippi’s Lower Delta Partnership
713 Walnut Street, Rolling Fork, MS 39159
Phone: (662) 873-6261