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Iowa - Illinois - Missouri Tri-state

Coordinates (NAD27) N4022'41.3" W9125'8.5"
UTM Coordinates (NAD27) 15T 634213 4470730
UTM Coordinates (WGS84) 15T 634207 4470930
Elevation 480 feet (146.3 meters)


This tri-state is located in the center of the Mississippi River near its confluence with the Des Moines River. Access to the river is problematical. On the Iowa side, the dirt road appearing to provide the best access is behind a closed gate owned by a railroad, who would not grant permission to use the road. There is a public boat ramp about 2 miles upstream on the Iowa side but current in the Mississippi would have made it difficult to return from the tri-point. We tried to put in at the Ferro-Sil factory on the Iowa side, almost across from the point, but we were ousted by a supervisor before we could get the boat inflated and in the water. We then tried the Missouri side. The topo map shows no roads but there is a dirt road that crosses the railroad tracks and follows the S bank of the Des Moines to with 0.25 miles of the tri-point. We scouted a take-out point and found a beach at the E end of the headland. The Des Moines was running high, it was difficult to put in, and we had a fairly fast ride to the confluence where the Des Moines meets the Mississippi at an acute angle, which creates a series a standing waves. We shipped some water traversing these waves and then had to paddle hard to reach slower water before we missed the tri- point. The tri-point is very close to a buoy/light in the Mississippi channel. We took several photos at this location, fought our way back to the beach, and portaged the kayak through a field of tall weeds back to the car.

Photos (click to enlarge)

Brian Butler in the kayak at the tri-point on July 28, 2001. The buoy in the background is a Mississippi River channel marker.
Photo by Gregg A. Butler
Take out point in Missouri. the Ferro-Sil plant in Iowa is visible in the background. A few standing waves at the confluence of the Des Moines and the Mississippi are also visible.
Photo by Gregg A. Butler
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