Segment 28: Mississippi
Mississippi offers three mid-length off-road hiking trail venues plus the cross-state Natchez Trace Parkway, which is the only National Scenic Trail that is primarily a bicycle/motorized route. It does have sections of foot trail paralleling the road in places, and the Fifty Trail makes use of those where available.
Starting at the Mississippi River crossing from Louisiana the route passes through the city of Natchez and then picks up Natchez Trace, which it follows to just north of Ross Barnett Reservoir NE of the state capitol of Jackson.
Turning south via roads, the trail joins the western leg of the Shockaloe Horse trail, a 23 mile loop in Bienville National Forest near Forest, Mississippi.
Following Forest roads and then county roads south from there, the trail picks up the 41-mile Longleaf Trace paved bike path in Prentiss. This rails-to-trails route proceeds SE to Hattiesburg, The Fifty Trail leaves the Longleaf Trail at Jackson Road Station just west of Hattiesburg and proceeds south via a short road walk to the west trailhead of 41-mile Black Creek National Recreation Trail in Desoto National Forest. This premier trail parallels Black Creek National Wild and Scenic River through Black Creek Wilderness. The Fifty Trail follows the entire length of Black Creek trail east-south-eastward, then makes the short jog south to the west terminus of 27-Mile Tuxachanie Trail. The east end of that is a loop, and the Fifty Trail uses the longer eastern leg along Bigfoot Creek. Be alert for evidence of ol’ Sasquatch here on his home ground.
After a short stretch along a leg of the off road Bethel ATV trail system the Fifty Trail proceeds eastward crossing the West Pascagoula River and its broad wetland on Wade-Vancleave Road and then reaches the border with Alabama via State Highway 614.
MAPS and TRAIL GUIDES:
Black Creek Trail info and link to a map: http://www.hikinginmississippi.com/?page_id=583
Longleaf Trace rails-to-trails paved bike path: http://www.hikinginmississippi.com/?page_id=604
HEART OF THE TRAIL:
Black Creek Trail end-to-end, and environs.