With a length of over 2,000 miles, there is more to the Mississippi River than just being one of the longest in the US. Here are twelve facts you might not have known about this well-known waterway.
1. It’s Home to Lots of Animals
Being one of the largest rivers, it is no surprise we see a wide range of animals throughout its length. 360 species of fish, 326 species of birds, 145 species of amphibians, and 50 species of mammals to be exact.
2. The States It Runs Through
We all know the Mississippi River runs through multiple states, but just how many? 10 states, meaning it touches 1/5 of all the states in the U.S.!
3. Birthplace of Water-Skiing
18-year-old Ralph Samuelson created water-skiing when looking for a snow-skiing alternative in 1922. Though he sadly didn’t get to patent his creation, we can thank him for the fun had across rivers today.
4. A Favorite of Mark Twain
The writer of Huckleberry Finn, along with many other books we enjoy today, had a particular fondness for the Mississippi River. Many of his works take place on or near it.
5. Flowing Backwards
In August of 2012, the Mississippi River saw a strange happening: it flowed backward for about 24 hours! This was thanks to Hurricane Isaac and also happened with Hurricane Katrina.
6. Swimming the Length
While many of us just marvel at the length of this river, one man decided to swim it. Martin Strel took 68 days but officially swam the entire length of the Mississippi River.
7. Driving the Length
If you don’t want to take 68 days to swim the river, try taking the Great River Road instead. This federally designated National Scenic Byway only takes about 36 hours to complete and runs right along the river.
8. Lots of Bridges
With how long the river is, we need a lot of ways to cross it. The first bridge was set up in 1855, and since then, we have created 170 bridges in total to make our way across the waters.
9. All the Figures
We know the length of the Mississippi River, but what about its other measurements? At it’s deepest its 200 feet and only 3 feet at its shallowest. The river also ranges from only 20-30 feet across to over 11 miles.
10. Water Collection
Though the river only flows through 10 states, it collects water from way more! The water in the Mississippi comes from 31 US states and 2 Canadian provinces.
11. It’s Still Widely Used
You might think that with all our modern tech we don’t need to use the river to transport goods like we did in the old days. However, the Mississippi is still a major transporter of goods, with over 460 million tons of freight transported every year.
12. A Drop of Water
It takes a single drop of water about 90 days to travel the length of the river. That’s about 3 months!
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Featured Image Credit: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock
Demi Michele is a seasoned traveler, turned freelance writer. Having explored most states and ventured internationally, her love for outdoor cafes, new cuisines, and cultural immersion shines through her wide range of articles. Based in Texas with her family and two Scottish Terriers, Demi turns her adventures into captivating travel narratives to share with readers.