Big River Crossing

Arkansas, Tennessee

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Big River Crossing Facts

States: Arkansas, Tennessee
Counties: Crittenden, Shelby
Length: 1 miles
Trail end points: Virginia Avenue (Memphis, TN) and Dacus Lake Road (West Memphis, AR)
Trail surfaces: Concrete, Metal
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7507769
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Big River Crossing Description

Big River Crossing, which officially opened on October 22, 2016, connects downtown Memphis, Tennessee, with West Memphis in Arkansas along the north side of the Harahan Bridge. Spanning 4,973 feet, this pedestrian and bicycle bridge offers breathtaking views of the Mississippi River, wooded bluffs and the city skyline.

The Harahan Bridge, which first opened for train traffic in 1916, also carries two railroad lines (owned Union Pacific Railroad) and two roadways. It’s named after James Theodore Harahan, a former president of the Illinois Central Railroad.

The bridge is bookended by parks on either side of the river. The 30-acre Tom Lee Park on the river’s east side is named in honor of a local African-American riverboat worker who saved the lives of 32 passengers on a sinking steamboat in 1925; a statue in the park commemorates the hero. On the west bank is the developing Delta Regional River Park, which will include a 6.7-mile biking and pedestrian trail.

Parking and Trail Access

In Memphis, Tom Lee Park offers parking, restrooms, and drinking water; the park is located along Riverside Drive between Beale Street and South Bluff Drive.

Big River Crossing Reviews

Very much worth the short stop! We parked & unloaded at the trailhead on Channel 3 Drive by WREG where there was plenty of secure/safe parking. We rode across the bridge while stopping at the lookouts for pics of the MS River, tow boats, Memphis and the 100-year-old bridge. You will end up at a nice landing area on the AR side. Upon returning and reloading the bikes, we headed to Harbor Town/Mud Island to go exploring. We parked at the Middle Lot (the North Lot was a bit sketchy) & picnicked on the lawn watching the river. We got back on our bikes and rode the Mississippi River Greenbelt (the path parallel to Island Dr.) south to the entrance of Mud Island and back north to the new Downtown Wolf River Greenway at the confluence of the Wolf & MS Rivers. The new greenway takes you to the top the levee on one side and through “bottom land” on the opposite in an approx. 1-mile loop. Getting off the greenways, we spent the next couple of hours leisurely biking through the micro-neighborhoods of Harbor Town enjoying the residential architecture, friendly folks and views of the Wolf River Harbor and Pyramid. We truly enjoyed this relaxing spring ride over & on the banks of the MS River in Memphis.

https://youtu.be/xt-LCiytiV4

Wonderful scenic bridge crossing the Mississippi River from Memphis to Arkansas. Bike or walk. Lights up with color at night. Porta Potties and picnic table area at the Arkansas side. Very close to Memphis Beale Street and Hernando de Soto Bridge. An easy trip add to anybody visiting Memphis.

The Big River Crossing is a unique trail. Relatively short (about a mile long), it is a walk/bike trail build on an old bridge over the Mississippi River. I started at the west end in Arkansas where there is a dirt parking lot at the end of the paved road (Dacus Lake Rd.). From the parking lot the trail loops around going up and under the railroad bridge before making a turn to go across the river. The western side is a moderate but steady climb to the top at the middle of the river where it levels out before becoming a very slight drop to the other side in Memphis. At the top, you are just beside the railroad bridge, although separated by a heavy steel grating. The trail surface is perforated steel plating which I would think might be slippery when wet. Also, being high up over the river, you are exposed to the wind.

The day I went, there were barges lined up going up the river as far as the eye could see.

The Big River Crossing is a unique trail with incredible views of Memphis, the river and the Arkansas countryside. I will definitely visit this trail again on my next trip to Memphis.

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