The Top 10 Must-Visit Hiking Trails in Mississippi

Written by Jennifer Geer
Published: February 18, 2024
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Mississippi is home to breathtaking natural wonders. From the Gulf Coast to the hilly pine forests to the bayous, bluffs, and prairies, Mississippi boasts some spectacular hikes for nature enthusiasts. Read on for our list of the top ten must-visit hiking trails in Mississippi.

1. Clark Creek Primitive Trail

Clark Creek Nature Area

Clark Creek Primitive Trail is a scenic and rugged hike through a quiet forest of streams and small waterfalls.

©Roberto Michel/Shutterstock.com

Located in southwestern Mississippi, Clark Creek State Park offers over 700 acres of mixed hardwood and pine forests and around 50 waterfalls. The park is considered one of the best in the state. Hikers can choose between the 2.8-mile Improved Trail or the longer Primitive Trail. The primitive trail is a 4.9-mile moderately challenging loop that takes hikers through the deep forest, past creeks, and waterfalls. Reviewers of the trail recommend that hikers should wear waterproof hiking boots, bring plenty of water, and pay close attention to the trail markers.

2. Red Bluff

Picture of Red Bluff, Mississippi

The erosion that created Red Bluff is still occurring. The original highway has had to be moved twice.

©Johnsonw/Shutterstock.com

This 0.9-mile moderately challenging loop takes hikers on a trail to view a bluff known as the Little Grand Canyon or the Grand Canyon of Mississippi. Hiking at Red Bluff takes about 30 minutes to complete. Dress accordingly; the soil is bright orange and can stain clothes. However, the reward for stained clothes is getting to see some of the most unique views Mississippi has to offer. The canyon was created by erosion from the Pearl River and is an unusual site for Mississippi.

3. Bear Creek Outcroppings Trail

Tishomingo State Park, bear creek trail/ outcroppings trail in Mississippi

This popular trail offers spectacular scenery in the foothills of the Appalachians.

©Brad Kebodeaux / CC BY-ND 2.0 DEED - License

Located in Tishomingo State Park, Bear Creek Outcroppings Trail is a 1.9-mile loop that takes hikers through Bear Creek Canyon in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The park offers 13 miles of nature trails, but the Bear Creek Outcroppings Trail is a must-visit. The trail offers a wooden swinging bridge, plenty of unique rock formations, and fern-filled crevices.

4. Tuxachanie National Hiking Trail 

De Soto National Forest, Mississippi

Take a hike through the DeSoto National Forest on the Tuxachanie National Hiking Trail.

©Steven L.J. Reich/Shutterstock.com

Located in the lush De Soto National Forest is the nearly 12-mile Tuxachanie National Hiking Trail. This must-visit hiking trail offers visitors the chance to hike through the deep forests of south Mississippi. Wear your waterproof hiking boots for this one. Reviewers warn that the bridge at mile marker 4 is out of service, and hikers must cross a creek to complete the trail. 

5. Clark Trail to Waterfall Trail

Clark Creek Waterfall

Head out on the Clark Trail to Waterfall Trail for a scenic hike in Mississippi.

©Trevor Rousselle/iStock via Getty Images

We’re back at Clark Creek State Park for the Clark Trail to Waterfall Trail. This challenging hike has some steep inclines, but your reward will be viewing the waterfalls and unique rock colorations. Bring bug spray in the summer and expect to scramble over some rocky spots to reach some of the waterfalls.

6. Fontainebleau Nature Trail

Six sandhill cranes flying through the center frame. The cranes' long lease are stretched out straight behind them, horizontally. The cranes are mostly off white to cream to taupe = not colorful, The sky is the background.

The Fontainebleau Nature Trail is located in the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge.

©Tom Zeman/Shutterstock.com

For a short and easy hike but one steeped with natural beauty, you can’t go wrong with the Fontainebleau Nature Trail in the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. Though generally an easy hike, there is a creek crossing where hikers may need to climb over logs. Be sure to be on the lookout for sandhill cranespelicans, and alligators.

7. Witch Dance Horse Trail

The Witch Dance Horse Trail in Tombigbee National Forest, Mississippi

The Witch Dance

Horse

Trail is a remote and beautiful trek through the forests of Mississippi.

©Fredlyfish4 / CC BY-SA 4.0 - License

This remote 9-mile trail through the Tombigee National Forest sees a lot of horse traffic. Though hikers are welcome, they should be aware that some of the trails may have bumpy areas marked by hoof traffic. This trail is part of the longer Natchez Trace Parkway, and conditions can get muddy depending on the weather. The trail passes through serene natural areas of pine and hardwood forests and streams and is a favorite for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts.

8. Richardson Creek Trail

Relaxing picnic area at Homochitta National Forest Recreation Area in Natchez, Mississippi

The Richardson Creek Trail is located in the Homochitto National Forest near Roxie, MS.

©Norm Lane/iStock via Getty Images

This 8.6-mile loop trail is located in the Homochitto National Forest. Considered a moderate challenge, the well-marked route takes you over pine-covered hills in the Clear Springs Recreation Area and leads you to a spring-fed lake perfect for a refreshing swim after your hike.

9. Bonita Lakes Trail

Detail of man hiking

The Bonita Lakes Trail is a loop around the lake at the 3,300-acre Bonita Lakes Park.

©Gajus/iStock via Getty Images

This well-maintained 7.6-mile trail travels around Bonita Lake. The moderately challenging trail offers a mix of forest, lake views, and road paths. You can either stick to the main loop or explore any of the short side trails off the main route.

10. McLeod State Park Nature Trail

Flower of sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana), a small tree native to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States.

Located on the Jourdan River, the McLeod State Park is in the Gulf Coast of Mississippi.

©Gerry Bishop/Shutterstock.com

This easy 1.3-mile loop trail is located within McLeod Park in Hancock County. Considered a hidden gem by many nature enthusiasts, the trail goes through a mixed hardwood forest and takes hikers past a bayhead swamp. Hikers can expect to see a variety of trees, including bald cypress, pines, black gum, and magnolias. Be sure to take a stop at any of the sandy lookouts along the river to keep an eye out for wildlife.

Summary of the Top 10 Must-Visit Hiking Trails in Mississippi

TrailLocationLength (Miles)TypeDifficulty
1Clark Creek Primitive TrailClark Creek State Park4.9LoopModerate
2Red Bluffnear Foxworth0.9LoopModerate
3Bear Creek Outcroppings TrailTishomingo State Park 1.9LoopEasy
4Tuxachanie National Hiking Trail DeSoto National Forest11.9Point-to-pointModerate
5Clark Trail to Waterfall TrailClark Creek State Park2.9Out and backModerate
6Fontainebleau Nature TrailMississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge1.7LoopEasy
7Witch Dance Horse TrailTombigbee National Forest9.1LoopHard
8Richardson Creek TrailHomochitto National Forest8.6LoopModerate
9Bonita Lakes TrailMeridian7.6Loop Moderate
10McLeod State Park Nature TrailMcLeod Park1.3LoopEasy

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jordan Hill Photography/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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