Hiking Mississippi  by Johnny Molloy

Hiking Mississippi Guide Book

by Johnny Molloy (Falcon Guides)
Hiking Mississippi  by Johnny Molloy
Lace up your boots and sample fifty of the finest trails the Magnolia State has to offer -- from the lake country of Northern Mississippi and the Delta to the piney midlands in the Heart of Mississippi to the Coastal Plain of southern Mississippi. Specific emphasis is on the most scenic destinations and unique places in the state's six national forests and state parks -- like rocky Bear Creek, the waterfalls of Clark Creek Natural Area, and the crest of Little Mountain.

© 2009 Johnny Molloy/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking Mississippi" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 50.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 50.

Tishomingo State Park, 1,530 acres, is set among outlier foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and is Mississippi’s high country. This hike travels along Bear Creek, with its stone outcrops towering over rapids, then turns away from the valley. This hike explores the human and natural history of Tishomingo State Park, a place considered to have the finest hiking in the Magnolia State. Be prepared for a rocky trek and take your time. Leave the park picnic area and follow a couple of disc golf holes that leave you wondering if you are on the right path. Nearby Bear Creek flows quietly, shaded by large beech trees. Beyond a 65-foot bridge spanning a tributary, the Bear Creek valley reveals mossy stones and ferns. The trail narrows, crossing intermittent feeder branches flowing into Bear Creek. Beard cane makes the lush valley even thicker.
Tishomingo, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.1
Trail was the apex of hiking in the Magnolia State, but Hurricane Katrina damaged the trail. It will take a while before the reopened trail again reaches its full potential. However, the path is still a rewarding experience. It travels not only along the clear waterway and on bluffs above it, but also over side creeks and swamps spanned by boardwalks and footbridges. Open pine forests in the hill country that abut the Black Creek floodplain offer a final ecosystem to enjoy along the way.
Brooklyn, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.9
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This hike covers a 4.2-mile section of the 41-mile Black Creek Trail. It runs along the course of the federally designated wild and scenic Black Creek, amid cypress swamps, by sugar white sandbars, and through hardwood forests. Caney tributaries feed Black Creek, and you will cross them by boardwalks and footbridges. High bluffs offer vantages to enjoy Black Creek. Other areas will reflect the damaged woodlands left after Hurricane Katrina.
Brooklyn, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.2
This is the only hiking trail in Mississippi’s Delta National Forest, and it is a good one. Set deep in the swamps of the Yazoo basin in the Blue Lake Recreation Area, the trail cruises the edge of a brooding bayou for much of its length. This trail is located within the Sunflower Wildlife Management Area, part of the Delta National Forest. Note the dispersed campsites along the way in. They are numbered and each one has a picnic table, grill, and lantern post. Leave the boat launch area and head south along Blue Lake. This body of water is part of the greater Howlett Bayou, which connects the Little Sunflower River and the Big Sunflower River.
Rolling Fork, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 1
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This hike travels through the woods and wetlands along the Bogue Chitto River with waterfalls, swamps, and vistas all packed into one trek. On the way in you will see various signs pointing you toward nature trails here at the park—there are multiple trailheads—but head to the boat ramp for the longest possible loop. You will follow the Connector Trail a short distance to the River Trail, then cross a park road and join the Billie Jane Trail double loop. Seemingly just for confusion’s sake, there are two trailheads at the boat ramp. Both have a trail map at their access and archways that lead to the main trail system.
McComb, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.7
If only other cities had parks as fine as this one! The Bonita Lakes Park is a 3,300-acre ensemble of water and land recreation, with trails. This description follows the Bonita Lakes Recreation Trail, a wide pea gravel track that meanders through the heart of the park and circles the main lake, as well as the smaller impediments that are part of the overall water scheme here. But it’s not all water—you will be surprised at the steepness of the terrain and hills. There’s even a vista at one high point! Maps and brochures are posted at the trailhead. Scattered trailside benches allow for contemplation or relaxation opportunities.
Meridian, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.7
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Clark Creek Natural Area is one of Mississippi’s most special places. Located in the Tunica Hills just east of the Mississippi River, this 700-acre park is where Clark Creek and its tributaries offer over fifty waterfalls. This loop first follows the Improved Trail for 1.4 miles, then picks up a narrow, natural surface footpath, the extremely rugged and aptly named Primitive Trail. Trail signs have been posted at important junctions along the trail system. Leave the parking area; follow the gravel road leading down to the right past a kiosk rather than the foot trail heading left. Enter a gate.
Woodville, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.8
This hiking loop circles Ivy Lake, the centerpiece of Clarkco State Park. As you might have guessed, this destination is in Clarke County. Clarkco State Park was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. The trail system has been shortened since then, but will hopefully be restored to its full glory in the future. For now you can still do a nice loop hike utilizing park roads part of the way. Leave the lodge area and walk back up the entrance road to begin the hike. As you face the entrance station, leave left. The trails to the right are currently closed.
Quitman, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.9
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The following loop is within a trail system primarily used by mountain bikers. Starting near the Clear Creek Recreation Area, the hike curves through hills and hollows along the shore of Sardis Lake, where a watery vista awaits. This trail system, shared by hikers and mountain bikers, was designed by mountain bikers from the nearby University of Mississippi, the Oxford Bike Club, and the Army Corps of Engineers. Despite the name—Sardis Lake Mountain Bike Trail—hikers are welcome on the trail that weaves through the undulating landscape, not going anywhere in particular, just covering scenic terrain.
Oxford, MS - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 3.6
This trail system explores the wooded bottomlands below Arkabutla Lake Dam in the Coldwater River drainage. Leave the well-developed recreation facilities situated in the general Outlet Channel area and follow a winding track, often paralleling old drainage. The Coldwater River Nature Trail System offers interconnected loops. This primarily bottomland circuit circles around old canals, elevated dikes, and irregular bottoms that are inundated for parts of the year. At times it drops off and on the dikes or comes along canals, long since overgrown, and that’s when the trail undulates.
Hernando, MS - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 4.9
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When driving into Davis Bayou, you enter an oasis of green natural coastal woodland a few miles east of Biloxi amid the growing Mississippi coastline. Davis Bayou is part of the Mississippi Unit of Gulf Islands National Seashore. The greater visitor center area includes a boardwalk that overlooks Davis Bayou and beyond. Bring a picnic, dine under the live oaks, and stop in the visitor center. This hike starts away from the water. As you face the visitor center, the trail starts in the back of the parking area to your right. Leave the parking area, heading through coastal woodland of sweetgum, pine, maple, and willow oak with a thick understory of yaupon holly and palmetto.
Ocean Springs, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.3
This trek offers two loop hikes from one trailhead at one state park. First, cruise around the shores of Alligator Lake, a cypress-bordered natural body of water, with boardwalks that get you up close to the scene. While walking toward Alligator Lake, note the spring flowing into it. As you stand near the spring, the trail starts to your left. Pass under a wooden archway. Cypress knees rise at your feet while you enter swamplands on a narrow footpath. You began circling the upper end of Alligator Lake in the margin between water-tolerant cypress trees and the bottomland hardwoods. Large oaks rise from drier ground. Vines—including poison ivy—drape over everything.
Hollandale, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.6
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British civil engineer Bernard Romans described Plymouth Bluff in 1771: “We saw a very remarkable bluff on the west side, rising about 50 feet out of the present level of the water...it looks as if made by art. Plymouth Bluff Center is located adjacent to the old Tombigbee River and offers facilities for groups from workshops to educational programs to family reunions. The 190-acre area is mostly wooded, has a quality trail system, and is managed for wildlife as well. Start your hike on the Lake Trail, following the asphalt pavement through the woods, and then begin circling left around the lake. Osage orange and cedar trees are prevalent.
Columbus, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.9
The natural setting, where the Chunky River makes a big bend while flowing over noisy, rocky shoals, where Dunn’s Falls splashes even louder over a rock face, and where steep wooded bluffs drop down to the water’s edge, makes for a good destination. Dunn’s Falls Water Park is a must for Mississippi trail trekkers. The centerpiece is a 65-foot waterfall created by an Irishman named John Dunn. He diverted a stream, changing its course to fall over a bluff into the Chunky River. Astride the bluff he built a mill and a three-story wooden building. Right about that time the Civil War broke out and the Confederacy confiscated his mill and used its water power to make clothing and other supplies for the Rebel soldiers. After the war was over, Dunn resumed his operation, grinding flour and cornmeal among other things.
Meridian, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.3
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Ethel Vance Natural Area is located on the banks of the West Fork Amite River in the extreme southwest portion of the state. Run by the city of Liberty, the seat of Amite County, this park features 10 miles of singletrack trails, popular with mountain bikers. The trail system was laid out by and for mountain bikers. However, Mississippi hikers would be remiss to not pay this park a visit. The natural area, 700 acres in size, offers numerous components of a riverine ecosystem. For starters, there is the West Fork Amite River itself. It flows south toward Louisiana to meet the East Fork Amite River just before entering the Bayou State.
Liberty, MS - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 10
This trail winds through the hills and hollows above Choctaw Lake Recreation Area. Carved out of an abandoned nature trail, it offers a multitude of environments—lush rich hollows, pine-oak ridgetops, and a wooded marsh, plus occasional man-made wildlife. Choctaw Lake Recreation Area, one of the finest national forest facilities in Mississippi, offers a campground open during the warm season, fishing, and swimming, in addition to hiking. The Chata Trail heads away from Choctaw Lake, tracing an old roadbed through stone gates that once led to cabins, built when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) originally developed the recreation area in the 1930s.
Ackerman, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.7
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This out-and-back hike travels along portions of the actual Natchez Trace as it travels northeasterly. Pass through the Little Sand Creek drainage before rolling through forested wetland to reach the Gees Creek drainage. Before you start your hike, drive around the loop to the upper trailhead for the short walk through the town of Rocky Springs, a once thriving rural community founded in the late 1790s. It is now hard to believe that over 2,000 people lived around this watery upwelling and its outskirts just prior to the Civil War. Take a segment of the Old Trace and begin the town site loop. The old church is still being used. Only relics are left elsewhere. Interpretive signs help you enjoy the trail.
Vicksburg, MS - Hiking,Horseback Riding - Trail Length: 6
This trail is actually a series of loops that range through hills and streams on the east side of Lake Lowndes at Lake Lowndes State Park. Though it is officially called a horse and bike trail, truth is it is only lightly used by both groups. Don’t expect this to be a muddy track where you are dodging horse poop every other step. This trail is underutilized by all groups who use it—equestrians, mountain bikers, and hikers. You may find some trail intersections confusing, so on your first trip here, don’t be surprised if you get lost. However, the worst-case scenario is getting a little extra mileage in while getting out. The trail is blazed in orange. At first you will follow a closed roadbed, passing over Ellis Creek, which feeds Lake Lowndes.
Columbus, MS - Hiking,Horseback Riding,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 6.2
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This hike traces a winding track along the west shoreline of scenic 260-acre Chewalla Lake, traveling about the recreation area facilities and also by an old Indian mound. It continues curving among hills to reach the lake dam, which it crosses before ending. This hike is just one highlight of this fine North Mississippi recreation destination, which also offers fishing and camping. The 260-acre lake is named for its main feeder branch, Chewalla Creek. The Choctaw word “Chewalla” means Supreme Being, and refers to the Indian mound that is preserved as part of the recreation area. A quality twenty-seven-site campground, with hot showers, makes for a good base camp to enjoy this hiking trail as well as the swim beach, playground, and boat ramp for fishing.
Holly Springs, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
This all-accessible trail loops around charming Choctaw Lake, and makes for one pretty stroll that complements other paths in the area. Contemplation benches, fishing piers, boardwalks, and other amenities enhance the natural setting. vantage. As you face the dam, head right, away from it. The pea gravel Lakeside Trail, about 4 feet wide, offers a foot-friendly environment open to everyone. Contemplation benches have been placed here for your pleasure. The trailside environment is partly landscaped, complemented with neatly mown grass, and makes the setting quite attractive. The lake will be off to your left the entire trip. Pines and oaks shade parts of the path. Shortly cross your first boardwalk, the first of many. The second boardwalk crosses an embayment.
Ackerman, MS - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
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