The Mississippi River is the most famous in the United States and has been the inspiration for famous stories such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” It stretches for 2,320 miles from Minnesota to Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico, and water takes about three months to go from one end of it to the other. At times, this powerful river is more than 11 miles wide. As it passes by St. Louis and Memphis, Tenn., it’s generally between a third and a half of a mile wide.
However, despite all of its power, there is one spot where you can walk across it.
When most think of the Mississippi River, they don’t consider where it begins. This special place is Lake Itasca in Itasca State Park, which is located in Clearwater County, Minn., about 220 miles northwest of the Twin Cities and 100 miles east of Fargo, N.D. In fact, the Mississippi River is downright tranquil and shallow at its very beginning.
At this point, it’s 20 feet wide and a foot or two deep. However, many large rocks are situated at its start, causing those with great balance to cross along the string of rocks without getting their feet too wet. Additionally, the first of more than a hundred bridges across the Mississippi is situated near its origin. This one is made of wood, is just a flat surface and is about 30 feet long.
Interestingly, the Mississippi River initially flows north and then northeast before then heading towards the south around Bemidji, about 30 miles from where the river started its journey.
Of course, no wading is possible at the other end, at the Mississippi River Delta. Here, the river empties into the Gulf of Mexico at an incredible rate of 470,000 cubic feet per second.