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HomeThe Inland Rivers Overview
Chicago to Mobile
Great Loop Segment: The Inland Rivers
The segment of the Great Loop from Chicago, IL to Mobile, AL is 1300 miles via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.  This route is composed of inland rivers and lakes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.  The weather on the rivers is controlled by land and the current mostly flows in the direction of travel if you are cruising the Great Loop counterclockwise with the exceptions of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers which flow in a northerly direction.  The natural fall of rivers are controlled by locks and dams.  Flooding, determined by any heavy rain situations in the Midwest, can cause some navigational issues.  It is recommended that boaters stay in mid-channel as much as possible, especially on straight river sections, but stay in channels marked by buoys and the sailing line on charts due to rock jetties and other obstacles.  In river bends, the channel follows the outside bend where water is deepest due to the current flow.  Electronic charts are helpful to show your position relative to obstacles. Towboats and tows are a distraction on this route and that traffic gets heavier as you progress south so familiarize yourself with passing etiquette.
Members-Only Content for this Segment

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Forum Posts
Forum Posts

Joliet Wall
Alton Boat Services
Hoppie's Marina
Paducah Options
Inland Rivers Cruising
How Fast Is the Current on the Illinois River?
Port Charles to Green Turtle Bay
Green Turtle Bay Marina
Seeking Advice on Prop Work Green Turtle Bay Marina
Where to Get the Mast Stepped on the Tennessee River?
Birdsong Marina TN
Grand Harbor Marina
Demopolis Boat Yard
Demopolis Boat Yard?
Demopolis to Mobile Nov 2nd or 3rd ?
Canvas Shop in Demopolis, AL
Bobby's Fish Camp
Coffeeville Lock Anchorage?
Best Time to Start the Loop from Chicago 
Bridge Heights Heading South From Chicago
Chicago--Mast Lowering, Stepping Resource
Approximately How Much Time from Chicago to Alton? 
Anchorages from Chicago to Mobile Bay 
Insect Protection on the Rivers from Chicago to Mobile 
Recommendation for First Place to Stop After Chicago
Chicago to Joilet
Joilet Visitor Center
Joilet to Alton Trip
Marseille Lock Illinois River Experience
Henry Harbor Marina 
Any Recommendation for Good Anchorage Between Peoria and Grafton 
Grafton and Pool 26 (St. Charles, MO) Area
Southward Bound from Grafton
Winter Storage Green Turtle Bay to Demopolis
Green Turtle Bay to Demopolis
Green Turtle to Paris Landing-Navionics Route
Anchorage Advice for the Rivers
Rivers-Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, Kentucky, etc.
Side Trip Up the Ohio from Paducah to Louisville
Tenn Tom Currents 
Tenn Tom Marinas
Clifton Marina on TN River in Clifton, TN
Side Trip to Nashville
Demopolis to Bobby's Fish Camp
Anchorages South of Demopolis
Places to Take Dogs Ashore South of Demopolis 
Buoys off station, Tombigbee below Coffeeville 
2-3 Month Dockage Near Mobile
Gulf side summer storage out of hurricane zones
Benton Harbor
Water Depths of Inland Rivers
Mell Price Lock and Dam Backed up for days!
Boat Docking close to airport
Marinas near Bridge in Illinois
Canvas Shops between Joliet and Joe Wheeler
Marinas in Suburban Chicago
Chicago Midway to DuSable Harbor airport shuttles
Chicago to Joe Wheeler
Carillon Lock
IVY Club Marina
Grafton Harbor
National Quilt Museum
Mell Price Lock and Dam
Paducah Marina
Canvas Shops
Patti's 1880 Settlement
Grand Haven
Pirate's Cove Marina on Tenn-Tom
Columbus Marina
Safe Harbors - hurricane season
Tenn-Tom Anchorages
Sidetrip to Tennessee River
Masts (Chicago to Mobile)
Charts from Chicago to FL West Coast
Crossing from Carrabelle to Tarpon then up to Jacksonville/Georgia anything to note from Irma?
Anchorages Between Bobby's and Mobile Bay
Chicago Looper Transportation 
The Mighty Mississippi
Mobile to Chicago
Southern Mississippi route info please. 
Heading to Chicago? SLOW DOWN!
Moving a Boat from Arkansas on the Mississippi to Chicago in May / June
Bridge Clearance ... Squeaking under the Chicago Bridge
Traveling south from Demopolis?
Hoppies Marina, Kimmswick, Missouri 
cruise from New Orleans to Lake Michigan
Chicago River and member info
Paducah to Mobile distance
How late can I leave Detroit thru Chicago.
Chicago to St Louis Summary (stops at Joliet, Heritage Harbor Ottawa, Tall Timbers Havana, Grafton H
Storage suggestions Mississippi River above Davenport
Illinois River at mile 231 -- Starved Rock Lock -- Repairs July/Aug/Sept
Ohio River
Cumberland River vs. Tennessee going North
Car Rental from Demopolis to Paducah
Winter Harbor in Tennessee/Alabama
Sailboat bring mast or not?
Charts and Guides for the Tenn-Tom
Moving a Boat
Chicago Marine Surveyor. Recommendations Please
Which Way to Go
Storing Truck and Trailer
Bridge Clearance
Chicago O'hare
First Chicago to Coast Experience
Favorite flavors and where to find them on the loop
Need Recommendation for Mechanic
Leaving Lake Michigan Summer 2018
Chicago to St. Louis Summary
Myth busting – Out of Chicago by Labor Day – 2017

Block Asian Carp with a concrete wall
Cumberland and Tennessee River guides?

Fishing on the Great Loop
I felt cheated

Last of the Loopers?
Golf Along the Loop
Side trip to New Orleans
St. Louis Bound
Boat Yard Recommendations West of Mobile Bay?
Key Lime Pie
River System Backward
Taking the Lower Mississippi Route
Aqua Marina
Bobby Fish Camp

Verizon Internet Service from Green Turtle South
Diesel fuel Chicago/Mobile
Loopers that left Lake Michigan after 30 Sept
Mobile, Alabama Marinas
Mast Un-stepping Lake Michigan
Planning a couple years ahead for mobile to ?? In
Lake MI
Ohio River Closed – Possibly for weeks!
Anchoring on the Tenn Tom
Leaving Chicago late

For Those Planning to Continue on the Mississippi
LaGrange Lock
Aberdeen Marina
Going Thru Chicago Safely on the Great Loop
Chicago Air and Water Show
Chicago - Drop Off After Going Through Town
Cleveland Marina Suggestion
Suggestions for Marina/Storage/Painting Bottom
Marinas in Knoxville
Dry Storage & Bottom Painting Near Entry to Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
Great Story About the Mississippi River Model
Marinas South of St. Louis
Yanmar Mechanic, Paducah Area
Paducah Dock Update
New Transient Dock - Paducah KY
La Grange Lock at 80.2 on Illinois River
Mast Stepping after Grafton
Illinois River Lock Closure at Mile 80.2
Time Estimates from Leaving Lake Michigan to Joe Wheeler
Dates and Deadlines for Various Loop Locations
2017 Unstepping Mast in Chicago
Un-stepping the Mast
Route Planning - The Rivers Southwards
Closed Locks in Chicago Area
A Vast Wasteland

Chicago to Mobile Time Allocation
Chicago to Mobile in the Spring--Any Advice?
Entering Chicago

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Captains' Notes
Captains' Notes
Click here for notes from Loopers on this segment.
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Sample Itinerary
Sample Itinerary
All Loopers have their own cruising style and preferences on miles to travel per day, cruising speed, number of nights per week in a marina, etc. This The Inland Rivers Itinerary, based on a preferred distance of 50 miles per day, was developed to give you an idea of the types of places and things you will see during your Great Loop adventure.

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Great Loop Link Articles
Great Loop Link Articles
Links below are for entire newsletter issues.  Once you open the link for an article, go to the indicated page number to read that article.

Illinois Waterway 2020 Closure, pg. 10
Upcoming Illinois Waterway Closures, pg. 10
Muscle Shoals: A Must Stop for the Music History Buff, pg. 4
Illinois Waterway Lock Closures, pg. 13
Mobile Bay, Alabama, pg. 16

Additional Useful Information about this Segment
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