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Platte River in Missouri

by  guest-paddler

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

This is a mostly tree-lined quiet river and has very little current on this run. At the date of this trip, the gauge at Sharps Station, Missouri registered a 5 6 depth and discharge of 250 cubic feet per second. At that level, from put in to take out, the river was no narrower than 25 feet and as wide as 40 feet. There was never a need for channel selection and was deeper than a double-bladed paddle. The Platte River meets the Missouri River about mile downriver from the Hwy 45 Bridge just south of Farley, Mo.

The river is casual paddling without a need to concentrate on water signs. During dryer conditions, however, the river may be riddled with root wads and other strains. Because of the slow flow rate, boaters will have to paddle. Heading generally south in direction, the Platte makes very sweeping turns in the upper half of this run. Its flood plain on this run is no narrower than mile wide and the river snakes back and forth across it. Its apparent that the river can carry much more water with the channel banks exposed above that current river level. Tributaries into the river are very small and only a couple had any trickling water.

The collapsed Detner Bridge can be found after about 2.25 miles. This can be considered about the half-way point of this run. Some of its pilings and rusting steel are visible at this hair-pin bend in the river. Following that is about a mile-long straight of river followed by 1.50 miles of wide S-turns back and forth across the flood plain.

The lower section of the bottom half of this run is frequently bounded by deep levees. Take out is recommended on the right bank under the Hwy 45 bridge where there is a short gravel road from the highway. Under the bridge, there are signs of homeless people camping out at one time as well as signs of teenagers partying. One john boat with four fishermen was spotted about of a mile down from Humphrey Access. Two fishermen were present under the Hwy 45 Bridge.

Several of the bends have broad sand bars on which you can have a nice lunch or water break. Although largely tree lined, the river is constantly open to the sky with very few places offering shade. The bounding property is largely private and agricultural. Paddlers must respect this fact.

At the time of this trip, the temperature reached 98 degrees. Water temperature was higher than normal; however, there were still fish breaching the surface for insects. The regular sightings of Great Blue Herons, turkey vultures and hawks were present. One owl (unknown variety) was spotted flying down river and then disappearing into the trees.

All in all, this was a very pleasant paddle within easy access from anywhere in the Kansas City metro area. No real paddling skills were necessary; therefore this is a good run for novices who don't want to travel to the more popular rivers in southern Missouri. If you don't mind the occasional passenger jet overhead due to the proximity of Kansas City International Airport, this is a recommended float during times of good flow conditions.

Conclusion: This trip might be boring for those who like moving water. But it is great for those who just love being in their boat and paddling along on a nice day. Reasonable fishing. Considerable flow changes after heavy rains or in long dry spells. Recommended for anyone who wants a simple day on the water.


There were fishermen staying in two tents in the park at Humphrey Access. There is a steep boat ramp in poor condition. However, due to a temporary obstruction for bridge construction, non-portable boats can only go down river from the ramp. Paddlers have a choice to make after parking in the access lot. They can put in at the boat ramp only to port around the large obstruction or port their boat the 150 yards past the obstruction and then put in. You must bring anything you need; there are no improvements to this park.


No fees or permits required


Humphrey Access is a 12-acre recreational area managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. It can easily be reached by taking I-29 to Exit 18 (near Kansas City); then west on Mo. Hwy. 92; then south on County Hwy. N and watch for signs.


Standard road map will make it easy for your shuttle to pick you up at Mo. Hwy 45 bridge just north of Kansas City.

There are two gauging stations on the Platte River in Missouri: one at Agency, MO and one at Sharps Station, MO. Sharps Station is the most relevant as Agency is significantly up river from Humphrey Access. However, local conditions of the Platte must be determined visually to ensure there are favorable flows. At the time of this trip, the Platte River was in very good condition for paddling.

Trip Details

  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location