Memphis is an amazing city and although it’s technically STILL January, we’re lucky to live in the South where we can go and do outside things year round. This is why we’re thrilled that our first feature in our Go!See!Explore! monthly series highlights something unique and fun — and outside. In fact, it’s the perfect place to take the kids to burn some winter energy. (Or summer for that matter. Okay, autumn and spring, too).
Big River Crossing
It’s hard to believe, but Big River Crossing opened back in the fall of 2016. It’s the longest public pedestrian/bike bridge across the Mississippi River, providing amazing views of our city skyline and waterfront area. Start in Tennessee on one side and end up in Arkansas on the other!
Big River Trail, a 70-mile graded path atop the Mississippi River levees, can be accessed from the trailhead on Broadway in West Memphis.
What to Expect
- The Tennessee side part of the bridge is not covered. Depending on the weather and time of day you’re adventuring, you may be in full sun. Once you cross into AR, the bridge is mostly covered the remaining part of the way.
- There are porta potties on the TN side, but NO bathrooms on the AR side
- It’s flat and downhill heading towards AR, then coming back it’s uphill before flattening out again.
- It can be windy, no matter the time of year! Watch your hats!
- There’re NO benches or picnic tables on the TN side, but there are plenty of both on the AR side!
- The bridge width is a little bit larger than the size of a bike lane. When approaching walkers or bikers coming in the opposite direction, stay to your right. Bikers will typically give a call or ring a bell when approaching and passing.
- The state line is approximately in the middle of the bridge — about a half mile from whichever bank you started from.
- Parking is a bit tricky. Check out Big River Crossing’s website for preferred places to park and maps that mark where to go. There is a church parking lot next to the trailhead on the Memphis side. Depending on the time of day and season, we’ve been given permission to park there.
What to Pack
- Little kids? A stroller or wagon is a must. The bridge is nearly a mile in length!
- Snacks! There’s NO place to purchase food at Big River Crossing
- Water! There’re NO water fountains at either end, so plan accordingly and bring lots of drinks or water bottles
- It’s pretty windy and sunny year round. We suggest having a hat and sunglasses on hand, no matter the season
- Making a day or afternoon of it? Pull a cooler with all the fixings for a picnic lunch or dinner. There’s lots of tables on the Arkansas side and it’s a nice break for kids before starting back across. Be sure to throw your trash into the trash cans provided at either end of the bridge!
- A camera! SO MANY PHOTO opportunities — the mighty Mississippi River, the neighboring trains flying by, the beautiful Memphis skyline, and of course, the iconic picture of your kids standing in 2 different states at one time!
Hours & Cost
Open daily from sunrise to 10:00 p.m.
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