Float The Scenic Ghost Section of the Wolf River

1470 Leatherwood Road

This is an 8-mile float that begins in a narrow forest channel, which opens up into beautiful wetland meadows reminiscent of the Everglades, ending with a paddle through Spirit Lake and subsequent take-out.

The Wolf River is a hidden gem for any paddler located in west Tennessee or the greater south. Originally called “Blackbird River” by late 17th century French explorers, the upper Wolf River has been generally untouched by society and luckily has never fallen victim to industrial contamination. This particular section of river between Moscow and LaGrange, TN is representative of a wild swamp and those who decide to venture down the ghostly river have the opportunity to observe some of the most beautiful wetland water trails in the country.  

The only way to paddle this stretch of river is via canoe or kayak; most motorized boats rafts or tubes aren’t able to navigate the narrow twists and turns of the river. The LaGrange Bridge put in is located South of LaGrange, TN on Yager Dr. There is enough room below the bridge to park your vehicle as long as you are courteous and do so out of the way of other potential boaters. After you’ve put in and are on your way you’ll begin to see a series of blue canoe signs that mark the river’s path as well as signs numbered 1-6 which mark transition points and mileage on this particular section of river.

The LaGrange Bridge put in to sign #1 is 1.48 miles and marks the end of a levee that creates a lake on river right. About 1.5 miles further is Sign #2, which indicates the entrance of Mineral Slough on river left. When the river is high you can paddle up the creek into a popular open area called “Cathedral Gardens”. Sign #2 to Sign #3 is .51 miles and marks the best place to stop for lunch and take a break. There’s a rather scenic sand bar (pictured above) just 10 yards upstream. Sign #3 to Sign #4 is another 1.48 miles and on the way you’ll witness water being diverted off to the left into the deep swamp that is the Ghost River. It’s easy to miss the partially hidden entrance on the left bank but luckily it is now well marked by a 14X16” “Ghost River Entrance” sign as well as several regular blue and white trail markers and sign #4 on river right. If you happen to miss the Ghost River entrance the river will shortly vanish a couple hundred feet downstream then you must simply paddle back up river and look for the “Ghost Entrance” sign, which you can now easily see on river right. After you turn left off the main river into the Ghost section you’ll follow the abundant blue and white trail markers through the swamp’s twisting route surrounded by captivating cypress and tupelo trees (pictured above). For the next half-mile the river canal appears to cease hence the name “Ghost River”. Sign #5 to #6 is 1.79 miles and marks the most tedious section of the float. As you exit the swamp and Ghost River section you’ll embark on a long flat-water paddle (roughly 45 minutes) across Spirit Lake. If you’re using a compass, your heading will be roughly 270 degrees, or west. You will know you are leaving the lake when the river current begins to pick up and you see sign #6. From here it’s a quick mile to the Bateman Bridge take out on river right, before passing under the bridge. This short section travels by Mt. Tena Creek (another great swimming hole), which happens to flow over an outcropping of the Memphis Sands aquifer, the source of Memphis drinking water. All together the float is 8.04 miles and is typically completed in 3-5 hours depending on water levels and pace.

To get to the Bateman Bridge by car, take Hwy 57 east (from Collierville) through Moscow and turn right at Bateman Rd., 3.3 miles east of the Feemster bridge over the Wolf River. Drive south on Bateman Rd. for 1.8 miles and turn left into a gravel parking area before crossing the bridge over the river. Obviously you need to take two cars, leaving one at the take out and put in. If this is too much trouble and you’re in need of a shuttle, gear rentals, or just good information on the river this site is all you need.  

Pack List

  • Canoes
  • Kayaks
  • Dry Bags
  • Cold Snacks
Show More
Activities Canoeing, Chillin, Kayaking, Swimming
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

This is one of the best paddling spots in the area.

It rules. Do it.

Addition Info

Here's the site i forgot to add a link to. https://www.wolfriver.org/paddling


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