navigation bar

Grand River, Missouri
Report by Marc W. McCord

~ Miles

Information for this river coming soon!
See links to tributaries already on-line at the bottom of the page

navigation bar River descriptions categorized by state First Aid and general safety information Southwest Paddler on-line store Southwest Paddler Yellow Pages listings Environmental issues and concerns Photos of rivers and surrounding areas Trip reports with photos How to advertise on Southwest Paddler Advertiser Index Internet links to related information and services Southwest Paddler visitor comments General disclaimer Product Reviews Federal and state navigation laws Credits for contributors Web Campfire

SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

General Description

The Grand River of Missouri forms in Iowa, near the state line, at the confluences of three forks. The West and East Forks rise just south of Creston in Union County, Iowa. The Middle Fork rises at Mount Ayr, Iowa in Ringgold County, Iowa. The three forks merge just south of Albany, Missouri in Gentry County, where they become the Grand River. The Grand River Basin has more than 1,000 third order or higher streams, with the largest confluence at Chillicothe, where the Thompson River and Shoal, Medicine, and Locust creeks merge with the river.

The Grand River is the largest northern Missouri tributary of the Missouri River, draining 6,320 square miles that includes all of Harrison, Mercer, Grundy, Daviess, and Livingston Counties, and parts of Worth, Putnam, Gentry, De Kalb, Clinton, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Linn and Sullivan Counties in a basin that is about 150 miles long and 90 miles wide. The Grand is a free-flowing river although proposals for as many as five dams have been presented throughout the years, with the most prominent being the Pattonsburg Dam at Pattonsburg, Missouri. The United States Army Corps of Engineers bought out residents of the area after the Great Flood of 1993, but the proposed dam was never built.

The Grand descends at a gentle gradient of about three feet per mile although the Pop's Branch, near Princeton, Missouri, descends at a respectablely steep rate of about 44 feet per mile. Average discharge for the Grand at Sumner, Missouri is 3,917 cfs. The maximum instantaneous peak flow of 180,000 cfs occurred in June, 1947. During the 1993 flood 150,000 cfs was reported at Sumner. In 1835, the Missouri Legislature declared it a navigable stream to the Iowa line. While its original declaration was intended for steamboat traffic, the river was seldom navigable above Chillicothe because of inadequate water levels, but it offers good opportunities for recreational boating much of the time.

Of particular interest is the fact that Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon Church) stated that the area around Adam-ondi-Ahman near Gallatin, Missouri is the site where Adam and Eve lived after being evicted from the Garden of Eden. Whodathunkit? Adam and Eve were the FIRST American citizens! And, they lived in Missouri! Maybe this place really IS Middle Earth! Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is on the Yellow Creek tributary at Sumner, Missouri. The Grand River offers many recreational opportunities for paddlers, campers, hikers, mountain bikers, nature photographers and others wanting to enjoy the generally unspoiled beauty of a major river system.

In Missouri, The Grand River basin accounts for about 54,281 acres with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) managing approximately 56% of that land. Public access for recreational purposes includes some 29 locations with 12 of them being for boater access on the mainstream of the Grand. Portions of the Thompson River, Grindstone Creek, Big Creek (Harrison and Daviess counties), Grand River and Locust Creek have been highlighted as good stream reaches for canoeing and kayaking, and 16 public fishing lakes offer immense recreational opportunities in the area.


Worth, Gentry, Daviess, Livingston and Chariton Counties of northweatern and central Missouri, and flowing to the Missouri River confluence south of Brunswick and the Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

Distance from major cities

Joplin miles; Springfield miles; Kansas City miles; St. Louis miles; Oklahoma City miles; Little Rock miles; Dallas miles; Austin miles; San Antonio miles; Houston miles; Albuquerque miles; Phoenix miles; Denver miles; Salt Lake City miles (all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination point on the river and route taken.)

Water Quality and Flow Rates

Best time to go

Hazards to navigation

River Access Points

Campgrounds and accommodations

Liveries, Outfitters and Shuttle Services

Reviewer's comments

Technical Data
Class Rating I
Length miles
Minimum Flow cfs
Optimum Flow cfs
Maximum Flow cfs
First Put-in
Lat. / Long.
Last Take-out
Lat. / Long.
Elevation msl
Gradient fpm
USGS Gauge Web: ()
Boats Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts
Season Year-round, weather permitting
Permits No

Canoeman River Guide Services - guided river trips, trip planning, and instruction on rivers in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah

Ozark Wilderness Waterways Club - a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Ozark streams

Missouri Whitewater Association - promoting whitewater paddling in the Ozarks

Lone Star Paddler - the paddlesports web site of Marc W. McCord

Click the links below for information regarding the section of the Grand River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.

[ Grand River Homepage ] [ Locust Creek ] [ Thompson River ]

Southwest Paddler
Click to return to the Southwest Paddler Homepage
Home Page
Southwest Paddler

Missouri Rivers Index
Canoeman River

Guide Services
Return to the homepage
Home Page

CobraGraphics - Web Designs with a Bite!

Send E-mail This web page designed, created and maintained by
Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics
© September 15, 2002. All rights reserved.
Last updated June 2, 2021

Copyright © 1998-2021, Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. All rights reserved. Southwest Paddler, CobraGraphics and Canoeman River Guide Services are trademarks of Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. The textual, graphic, audio, and audio/visual material in this site is protected by United States copyright law and international treaties. You may not copy, distribute, or use these materials except for your personal, non-commercial use. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All original photographs on this web site are the exclusive property of Marc W. McCord or other designated photographers and may not be copied, duplicated, reproduced, distributed or used in any manner without prior written permission under penalty of US and International laws and treaties.