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The Mississippi River, U.S.A.

#253 The Mississippi River, U.S.A., Part 2

Continuing from last week’s post of the Missouri/Mississippi River system, I will focus here on great vistas and photo opportunities along the Mighty Mississippi. The river is also home to a number of sites including ancient Native American cities and structures.

Several great view points of the Mississippi can be found in the state where the river begins and where it grows large, Minnesota. High bluffs on the Minnesota and Iowa sides of the river, looking into Wisconsin, are some of the best views of the river anywhere along its course. Great River Bluffs State Park and Frontenac State Park in Minnesota are great at sunrise especially in fall.

Mississippi River, Kipp State Park, Great River Bluffs, sunrise photographed by Tom Till

The “driftless” area in Iowa with Effigy Mounds National Monument and Pikes Peak State Park provide views and many ancient mounds shaped like animals.

Iced grasses, Mississippi National Wildlife Refuge, Iowa, Pikes Peak State Park photographed by Tom Till

Pikes Peak State Park, Iowa photographed by Tom Till

Aerial views of these are possible from an airplane. Effigy Mounds is one of the few nature-oriented National Park units in the Midwest, and is very beautiful. A great time to visit this park is in winter at dawn with the icy river and frozen trees in the scene.

Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa, Fire Point photographed by Tom Till

Cahokia State Park, along the river in Illinois, preserves the largest pre-Columbian mound site in the East, and is close to Horseshoe Lake State Conservation Area, with some of the most northerly cypress trees in the country.

Horseshoe Lake State Conservation Area, Illinois, Bald Cypress photographed by Tom Till

Cool fall mornings are great here with fog streaming through the looming trees with orange needles. Another fantastic lake with great cypress trees is Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee.

Bald Cypress in Fog, Reelfoot Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Tennessee photographed by Tom Till

Other great National Parks along the Mississippi are the Natchez Trace Parkway area in Southern Mississippi, and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park near New Orleans which also has some great cypress swamps. I was kicked out of the Chalmette section of the park by NPS rangers for having a tripod, so tread carefully there.

Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi photographed by Tom Till

Spring Sunset, Mississippi River, Natchez Trail photographed by Tom Till

Several private historic mansions in the area are usually welcoming to photographers, including Rosedown Plantation, Oak Alley (used in many movies), and Destrehan Plantation. These historic places are especially beautiful during azalea season in spring.

Oak Alley Mansion, Mississippi River, Louisiana, Antebellum Mansion photographed by Tom Till

Finally, the lower Mississippi is home to several majestic live oak trees that make great photo subjects. Another entry will discuss these in the future.


Where will Tom head next? Check back next Friday to find out.








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