Experiences

Hiking off the Beaten Paths in Mississippi

Mississippi has some of the most popular hiking destinations in the South… and rightfully so. With more than 1.2 million acres of forestland offering diverse terrain and a variety of lakes, rivers, and streams, the state is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. With so many visitors flocking to the most popular locations, guests may want to seek a little more peace and quiet along some of the lesser-known trails. For those looking for this type of hiking experience, let Visit Mississippi be your planning companion. Here, we’ll provide some insights into these hidden gems.

Cypress Swamp

Cypress Swamp, located on the Natchez Trace Parkway, is an excellent off-the-beaten-path spot for hikers of all skill levels. Taking only about 20 minutes to complete, the short loop features a walk over a bridge through swampy areas down toward a serene pond. You’ll find wildlife all around you throughout this unique hiking area.

Fontainebleau Nature Trail

An extension of the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge and situated near Ocean Springs, MS, this route is a 1.6-mile loop trail that’s generally mild and takes about 30 minutes to complete. Hikers will love the openness of this trail, as it allows plenty of space from one hiker to the next. A beautifully maintained area, this hiking path will take you through a mix of natural habitats. Be sure to visit the numerous lookout platforms to view the scenery.

Dunn’s Falls Trail

Visitors looking for a quick hike to start the day can travel to Enterprise, MS, to trek the Dunn’s Falls Trail. Taking an average of 10 minutes to complete, this route features a 65-foot waterfall that was once used as a power source for a gristmill. Take the short walk to the bottom of the falls and treat yourself to a refreshing swim in the river. And don’t forget to pack a lunch to enjoy at one of the many picnic areas with available charcoal grills.

Black Creek Hiking Trail

For true adventurists, the Black Creek Hiking Trail is one of Mississippi’s longest and most challenging routes. Stretching for more than 39 miles along the Black Creek River, this is an excellent choice for backpackers looking to spend the day outdoors. While exploring this trail, hikers can expect a combination of rolling hills and flat areas. There also are bridges and boardwalks, providing easy access over streams and ponds. As with many other trails, fresh drinking water is unavailable, so hikers should pack appropriately.

Flint Creek Water Park Nature Trail

Flint Creek Water Park Nature Trail is an out-and-back path that takes you by a lake near Wiggins, MS. Considered a moderately challenging route, this trail takes around 45 minutes to complete. It is unlikely you will encounter many other people on this 2.2-mile trail, making it an excellent option for a quick, peaceful hike.

Gear Up for Your Hiking Trip

Hiking in Mississippi is an excellent activity that can provide a variety of great physical and mental health benefits. Even with the advantages of hiking, it can be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken, especially when traversing trails that are less traveled. To ensure your safety, consider these hiking tips:

Communicate Your Hiking Plan

Whether you’re exploring a trail for the first time or it’s one you’ve experienced before, bring a cell phone or another communication device. Because connectivity is not always guaranteed on these trails, you should also communicate your hiking agenda to others who won’t be joining you. Be sure to include where you will be, how far you plan to hike, and when you can be expected to return.

Look With Your Eyes and Not Your Hands

While exploring a path for the first time, it may be difficult to resist touching the wildlife and landscape around you. However, coming into contact with unfamiliar plants can be potentially dangerous, and so can attempting to pet wildlife. Hikers should refrain from actively engaging and strive for a more hands-off approach instead.

Research Your Route in Advance

To prepare for a hike on a lesser-known trail, study the route beforehand. By doing so, you can get to know the area and gain an idea of what to generally expect on your upcoming journey. This also helps ensure you’ve packed the appropriate footwear and attire.

Plan a Hiking Trip in Mississippi

For those seeking a more natural hiking experience, Mississippi is home to a wide range of less-traveled trails. Allow Visit Mississippi to help you plan your next outdoor excursion. We can offer recommendations on routes, places to eat, comfortable lodging, and much more. Contact us today to begin planning your next hiking trip in the Magnolia State.