30+ Mississippi River Facts You Never Knew Existed! (Printable)

One glance at the Mississippi River on a map would give you an idea of its size. In addition to its size, the Mississippi River is one of the world’s largest river systems due to its ecological significance.

Flowing over 2,300 miles from its source in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, it supports a diverse range of wildlife and habitats.

Moreover, the river has played a crucial role in American history, serving as a major transportation route and fostering the development of cities and industries along its banks.

These Mississippi River facts will help you learn more about the wonders of one of the world’s longest rivers.

Table of Contents

Amazing Mississippi Facts:

“Father of Waters” is the meaning of the name Mississippi

The Anishinabe, sometimes called the Ojibwe People, are responsible for giving the Mississippi River its name. The Anishinabe referred to the river as Messipi or Mee-zee-see-bee, which is Anishinabe for “Great River.”

Nonetheless, the river is referred to as “Hahawakpa” by the Dakota Tribes. This phrase, which means “River of the Falls,” alludes to the present-day Falls of St. Anthony.

The Mississippi River Is the Fourth-Longest River in The World

Fourth Longest River

When added to the Missouri-Mississippi confluence, the Missouri-Jefferson system, commonly known as Red Rock, might be considered the third-longest river in the world. Together, the rivers cover a distance of 3,710 miles (5,971 km).

The Mississippi River Is the Second-Longest River in The United States

The Mississippi River spans 2,340 miles in total. On the other hand, it has about 600,000 cubic feet per minute volume of discharge rate (17,000 cubic m). It now ranks second only to the Missouri River.

Minnesota Serves as The Source of The Mississippi River

The river travels roughly southward across the continent’s interior, starting at Lake Itasca, Minnesota. Two of its principal tributaries are the Missouri River to the west and the Ohio River to the east.

Southeast of New Orleans, across a sizable delta, it merges with the actual river about halfway to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Mississippi River Is 20 to 30 Feet Wide at Its Narrowest Point

At Lake Itasca, the Mississippi River’s narrowest section can be found. The Mississippi, on the other hand, is 11 miles wide at Lake Winnibigoshish, which is located close to Bena, Minnesota.

At Its Source, the Mississippi River Is only A Few Feet Deep

It can only reach a maximum depth of 200 feet in New Orleans. Between Governor Nicholls Wharf to Algiers Point, this section flows.

The Mississippi River Has the Most Connections in North America

Connections of Mississippi River

The river’s relationship to all the other rivers that help it on its trek to the Gulf of Mexico is just as noteworthy as its size, if not more so.

The Rocky Mountains in the west and the Appalachian Mountains in the east make up the vast watershed of the Mississippi River.

The Great River Road Runs Alongside the Mississippi River

The Great River Road

The highway was built in 1938 and is a collection of regional and municipal highways. It travels across ten U.S. states and follows the path of the fourth-longest river in the world.

In August 2012, the Mississippi River Flowed Counterclockwise

Mississippi River Flows Counterclockwise

The Mississippi River flowed counterclockwise during Hurricane Isaac. This natural occurrence lasted for a full day.

The flow increased to a height of around 3 m (10 ft) above average and a velocity of about 5,200 cu m/s (182,000 cu ft/s).

Otherwise, it often moves in the opposite direction at a mean rate of 3,540 cu m/s.

The River Also Flowed in The Opposite Direction in 2005

During Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi River swelled 4 m (13 ft) above usual. Earthquakes similar to those that occurred in Missouri in 1812 near the New Madrid fault are another possible origin of such events.

The Great Flood of 1927 Is a Historical Event of Mississippi River Flooding

In April 1927, the lower Mississippi River valley overflowed, inundating around 23,000 sq mi (60,000 sq km) of land.

The flooding caused 250 casualties and forced hundreds of thousands of people to relocate. The Mississippi River floods caused long-lasting social and political changes in the United States.

African Americans changed their political allegiance due to how the administration handled the Mississippi River disaster. The neighborhood largely switched its allegiance from Calvin Coolidge’s anti-slavery Republican Party to the Democratic Party.

In addition, African People made the Great Migration from the South to the North.

Mississippi River Stages Act as A Safety Precaution Against Potential Floods

The term “river stages” describes the height of the river’s surface above mean sea level. Some reports refer to a purely arbitrary reference point.

These stages frequently include local historical occurrences or known river practices from earlier decades as their starting points.

The Four Main Levels of The Mississippi River Are Referred to As Reaches

levels of the Mississippi River

The source of the Mississippi River may be traced back to St. Paul, Minnesota, where the river’s headwaters begin. A clear, fresh stream emerges from the river’s confluence and meanders across the low terrain, passing a few lakes and marshes along the way.

The upper section of the Mississippi River runs from St. Paul to its mouth, which is close to St. Louis, Missouri. The Mississippi River’s middle section is located below the Missouri River’s confluence.

It travels 200 miles (320 km) before reaching the Ohio River’s mouth. The waters in this section of Missouri are choppy and murky.

Beyond the Ohio River’s Confluence with The Lower Mississippi in Cairo

At this point, the Mississippi River expands to double its size due to the Ohio River’s larger size. The lower Mississippi changes into a brown, languid river at an average distance of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) between banks. It then silently makes its way downhill toward the Gulf of Mexico.

The Mississippi River Delta Has Accumulated Sediment for Millions of Years

The Mississippi River Delta is spread across the Gulf of Mexico floor at the drainage funnel’s apex. It also produced sediment cones with a combined radius of up to 300 miles and an area of 30,000 square miles (77,700 km).

The Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, Iowa, USA, Opened in 2003

Mississippi River Museum

This museum’s campus had doubled in size by 2010. The Mississippi River Museum is a world-class institution for studying and preserving the natural and historical environments along the river. The museum is the area’s top cultural and environmental facility and serves a global audience.

Numerous Organizations Accredit the Mississippi River Museum

The American Association of Museums has accredited the Mississippi River Museum ever since it opened.

The Museum & Aquarium joined the Smithsonian Institute in 2002. In 2009, it even received a delegation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

There Are at Least Two Different Routes for The Mississippi River Trip

Mississippi River Trip

Beginning with the region between St. Louis, Missouri, and St. Paul, Minnesota, the Upper Mississippi River Cruise explores.

The Lower Mississippi River Cruise, on the other hand, travels between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Memphis, Tennessee. Moreover, excursions through the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, two of the river’s tributaries, are also offered.

The Name “Mississippi River” Was Derived from Native American Words

The Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or Algonquin) name for the river, Misi-ziibi, is transcribed as Messipi in French, giving rise to the name Mississippi (Great River).

The Mississippi River Flows Through Several Regions in The United States

It is best to divide the Mississippi River into these three parts: The first is the Upper Mississippi, which runs from Lake Itasca, where its headwaters begin, to where it meets the Missouri River; cities in this area include Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Dubuque, Iowa.

The Middle Mississippi traverses the Gateway Arch in Louis as it travels downstream from Missouri to the Ohio River. The Lower Mississippi also starts at the Ohio River’s confluence and runs all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Mississippi River Borders Multiple States

The states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana are either on the Mississippi River’s boundaries or run through them.

Compared to Other Rivers, the Mississippi River Is Unique in Many Ways

The Mississippi River spans 2,340 miles from beginning to finish and is the third-longest river in North America.

The Mississippi River Has Varying Depths Along Its Course

Depending on where you are, you might find different depths of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River’s deepest point, which is 200 feet below Algiers Point in New Orleans, is situated there.

So now you know for the future when someone asks, “How deep is the Mississippi River?”

Various Creatures Can Be Found in The Mississippi River


The Mississippi River has 50 species of mammals, 326 species of birds, 145 species of amphibians, and 360 species of fish.

The Mississippi River Has a Significant Flow Rate

If a raindrop were to travel at the Mississippi River’s average speed of 1.2 miles per hour, it would take roughly 82 days to reach the Gulf of Mexico. Without making any pauses for sightseeing, of course.

The width of the Mississippi River varies along its length

The Mississippi River is between 20 and 30 feet broad at its narrowest point, yet over 11 miles wide at its widest point! Lake Pepin, which is a few miles long by itself, is part of the widest shipping route.

The Mississippi River spans a length of about 2,340 miles

The length of the Mississippi River is roughly 2,381 miles. It is North America’s second-longest river after the Mississippi!

In this article, we learned interesting facts about the Mississippi River. To learn more, visit this website.

Mississippi River Facts
Free Mississippi River Facts Printables

Are you ready to explore the wonders of the mighty Mississippi River with your kids? Our Free Mississippi River Facts Printables are perfect for this iconic river. With just one simple click, you can download and print these educational resources.

Download Now
Free Mississippi River Facts Printables
Was this article helpful?
Hungry for more Facts?

Want to learn something new? Our fact generator tool is your solution. Click and get facts as much as you like!

Let's Go
Explore Fun Facts!

Leave a Comment