A new pathway on the historic Harahan Bridge allows pedestrians and bicyclists their own right of way. At nearly a mile in length, Big River Crossing is the longest public pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi River and connects downtown Memphis to Arkansas. Since opening in 2016, thousands of people have enjoyed this free amenity.
Visit Big River Crossing
Big River Crossing is a great place to start your journey to discover what makes Memphis so unique. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the crossing welcomes thousands of people, some for fitness, others for photography, and many for a sense of adventure. Everyone wants to take in the spectacular views of the river and the Downtown Memphis skyline.
The Mighty Lights
At night, the bridge, along with the Hernando de Soto Bridge, becomes a beacon of LED lighting turning into Mighty Lights, a nightly light show that illuminates the Mississippi River. Visitors can take in magnificent views of the light show from across downtown's riverfront. The light shows are often themed for holidays and special events going on in the city.
How to Get There and What to Expect
On the Memphis side, park in the lot at Martyrs Park on Channel 3 Drive, or along the street. More available spaces can be found at the Central Station Pavilion at 563 South Front Street. If you are on foot or a bike, there is access via Channel 3 Drive near Virginia Avenue W., just beyond the driveway for the Church of the River.
The crossing is family-friendly and pet-friendly. The Memphis Police Department monitors 47 security cameras 24 hours a day on Big River Crossing. Plus, there are several emergency call boxes along the bridge. Once on the crossing, remember that it is a shared-use path for pedestrians and peddlers, and bike riders should yield to pedestrians, as well as alert them when you are passing (always on the left).
When you step foot on the Big River Crossing, you'll immediately feel the safe and sturdy floors, side panels, and railings. Within minutes you realize that you no longer on terra firma, but are walking on a sky bridge over the Mississippi River. The thought and the view can take your breath away.
As you near the Arkansas side, there is a covered patio area complete with benches, picnic tables and bike racks. But more than that, walking from Memphis to Arkansas takes you from an urban setting to a natural oasis. Specifically, explore the 1,500 acres of Ducks Unlimited Park to discover seven miles of additional paved trail, a seasonal sunflower field and sweeping views of the Memphis city skyline and Mississippi River.
Overall, the stroll across the river is a comfortable one, with a slight incline more noticeable as you approach from the Arkansas side. Along the way you can watch as boats pass underneath, or a train rolls by on the tracks, all while taking in the fabulous views of the South Bluffs, Beale Street Landing and the city's skyline.
If you're looking to extend your adventure, continue about 5.5 miles west of Big River Crossing's terminus to Broadway Avenue in West Memphis, Arkansas. The Main Street district runs from South 14th Street to South Rhodes Street along East Broadway Avenue and is home to the original KWEM radio station, legendary for giving airtime to up-and-coming local artists. Crackling to life in 1947, KWEM hosted artists including Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Albert King and others.
For serious cyclists, the Big River Trail is a 70-mile graded path across levees and can be accessed via the trailhead on Broadway Avenue in West Memphis.
On the Memphis side, when you exit Big River Crossing you are in Downtown — home of the blues and a place filled with restaurants and shops. Bike lanes on Front Street and The Riverwalk can take you safely around . If you want to head deeper into the city, there are bike lanes on North Parkway (on the north side of Downtown) and protected bike lanes on E. H. Crump on the south side, and the lesser traffic on Jefferson make it another choice street to ride — all will take you into Midtown.