From the Natchez Trace to Tishomingo State Park, Mississippi offers many opportunities to put on your hiking boots – and your thinking cap. Explore Mississippi’s hikeable history, and discover new scenic places to explore and learn.
Stretching from Natchez to Nashville, the Natchez Trace is a 444-mile recreational road that’s truly unlike any other scenic route in the country, thanks to its historic sites and numerous markers that tell the story of the Trace’s 10,000-year history. The Sunken Trace, located at milepost 41.5 near Port Gibson, is one of the most often photographed stops.
Visitors to Mississippi are often surprised by the abundance of forested lands found throughout the state. But even longtime residents are struck by the natural beauty of Tishomingo State Park, with its massive rock formations, hidden waterfalls, historic swinging bridge, and pioneer cabin. It is truly not to be missed.
At the top of Dunn’s Falls, you can see what remains of a 19th-century grist mill that was once powered by a wheel built over the site’s 65-foot waterfall. You can walk through the old mill and even see some of the tools that were used by workers at the historic mill. A shallow stretch of the Chunky River lies at the bottom of the falls, offering opportunities for wading or tubing.
LeFleur’s Bluff State Park is a scenic oasis in the heart of Mississippi’s capital city. The park offers 28 campsites suitable for tents or RVs (equipped with water and electrical hook-ups). The state park is home to a 50-acre lake, a nine-hole golf course, and a museum complex that includes the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, the Mississippi Children’s Museum, and a state-of-the-art playground offering 30,000 square feet of activities for children ages 6 months to 12 years old.
Located just off the Natchez Trace near Port Gibson, Rocky Springs Campground offers visitors an opportunity to camp near the “ghost town” of Rocky Springs, a small town that was abandoned by its residents for a variety of reasons in the 1930s. Visitors can enjoy primitive camping on a 22-site campground (available first come, first served) with picnic tables, restrooms, and self-guided walking trails through the old town site, the spring, and nearby Owens Creek Waterfall.
The siege of Vicksburg marked a critical turning point in the American Civil War, with the town being famously declared as “the key to the Confederacy” by Abraham Lincoln. Today, the Vicksburg National Military Park features 1,325 historic monuments and markers that follow the park’s bike-friendly 16-mile tour road. Expect a hilly ride, with curvy descents and short, steep climbs.
The Longleaf Trace is a 44-mile Rails-to-Trails conservancy project, built along an abandoned section of the Mississippi Central Railroad. Trailheads along the way mark the locations where small-town train stations and depots once stood. While in Hattiesburg, be sure to experience Mississippi’s civil rights history with a detour along the city’s 1964 Freedom Summer Trail.