I’ve received a few emails about this recently, so here’s the deal. It depends on who you ask.
According to the National Park Service, every agency has a different estimation. The sign post the beginning of the river in Lake Itasca State Park says 2, 552 miles. The U.S. Geologic Survey gives 2,300 miles. The EPA puts the length at 2,320 miles, and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area gives its length at 2,350 miles.
So whomever you ask, it’s a long, long way down! We estimated that we paddled about 2.5 million strokes over the 73 days we were on the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers.