Paddling

The Wolf River offers outstanding opportunities for paddlers of all skill levels.  The upper Wolf River, which includes the Ghost River State Natural Area, boasts some of the most beautiful wetland water trails in the country.  The urban Wolf River has tremendous potential as a recreational resource right in the heart of the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I rent a canoe or kayak?

Who provides shuttle services on the Wolf River?

  • Ghost River Rentals provides shuttle services along the Wolf River.  Contact Mark Babb or Don Hailey at 901.485.1220, or visit their website: ghostriverrentals.com
  • Wolf River Canoe Trips provides shuttle service in Fayette County.  Contact Sarah or John Wilburn at 901.877.3958 for more info.

Where do you put-in/take-out boats on the Wolf River and how do you get there?

The put-in for the Ghost River section is on Yager Drive south of LaGrange, TN. From Hwy. 57, turn south on Main Street at the flashing yellow light. This becomes Yager Dr. Drive one mile to the bridge over the river and look for the boat ramp and parking lot to the right.  The take-out is 2 miles down Bateman Rd. at Bateman bridge, south of Hwy 57. Bateman Rd. is 2.5 miles east of the Hwy 57/Hwy 76 junction in Moscow, TN, or 6 miles west of Main St. in LaGrange.

The put-in for the Bateman-Moscow section of the river is at the Bateman bridge boat ramp. The take-out is at Feemster bridge, where Hwy 57 crosses the Wolf River west of Moscow.

Canoe access points in Shelby County include Germantown Pkwy. (enter at Walnut Bend Rd. just north of the bridge), Walnut Grove Rd. (enter at the Shelby Farms soccer field parking lot), Kennedy Park (park entrance is on Raleigh-LaGrange Rd. between Austin Peay and Covington Pike, canoe ramp 1 mile into the park), and at the north tip of Mud Island where the Wolf meets the Mississippi River.

River Descriptions Boat Access Points Safety Information

Do I need a guide?

For a first trip on the Ghost River section of the Wolf, a guide is essential for inexperienced paddlers and very helpful to experienced paddlers.  Sections below the Ghost section can be negotiated without a guide, though it is best not to go alone.  The Wolf River Conservancy provides experienced volunteer trip leaders for its members on planned canoe trips on the Ghost River and other sections.

How difficult is paddling on the Wolf River?

While the entire Wolf River is a Class I stream (no whitewater), it does have many obstacles and unpredictable currents that often send unprepared paddlers through dense shrubbery and fallen tree branches.  Even during its slow flow, the Ghost River section requires use of moderate canoeing/paddling skills to safely negotiate some of its obstacles.  The trip is moderately strenuous, and, in the event of a medical emergency, significant difficulties can be encountered in aiding or evacuating a victim.  Though the put-in is primitive and somewhat difficult to negotiate, the section between Germantown Pkwy. and Walnut Grove Rd. does not offer many obstacles and is the best section for beginners, though caution is advised during high water.

Safety Information

How long does a float trip usually take?

The Ghost River trip from LaGrange to Bateman Rd. takes about 6 hours, including a short lunch break.  This section should never be started later than 7 hours before sunset.  The Bateman to Moscow trip takes about 3 hours.  Germantown Pkwy. to Walnut Grove Rd. normally can be traveled in about one hour.

What should I take with me?

For the Ghost River section, fuel up with a high-carbohydrate breakfast before setting off.  Take at least one half gallon of water per person, a lunch (which may have to be eaten in the canoe in high water), sunscreen, life jacket (wear it), Epi-Pen or inhaler for those with severe allergies or asthma, and a mobile phone.

Remember: In the event of a medical emergency, significant difficulties can be encountered in aiding or evacuating a victim.  Don’t take anything in the canoe you can’t afford to lose, because someone usually 'makes a splash' in every group.  Dress in layers in cool weather so you can adjust for the temperature.  Bring a change of clothes and a small towel in a dry-bag or large Ziploc plastic bag.

Are there snakes on the Wolf River?

Yes, as the Wolf River provides them a perfect habitat, and most are harmless water snakes.  The poisonous cottonmouths, aka water moccasins, rarely bother people who don’t bother them first.

Is camping available?

The only public access overnight camping on the Wolf River is at its source at Bakers Pond in Holly Springs National Forest.  This is about a 30-40 minute drive from the LaGrange put-in.  All other public land access to the river is day-use only.