The Black Creek Hiking Trail in Southern Mississippi is a long path with several access points to allow the hiker and pup to break it up into shorter walks if needed. It also has primitive camping spots along the trail where this 40-mile hike can be spread out over a few days. Because it follows the flow of Black Creek from Wiggins, through the DeSoto National Forest and Black Creek Wilderness, to near Hattiesburg, there is always water nearby from the creek and its runoff streams for taking a swim. A small waterfall formed by the confluence of Mill Creek and Black Creek is especially pleasing. And the creek itself is pawrfect for floating or paddling downstream on its easygoing current, perhaps spending some time on one of the lovely white sandbars in the middle of the river for a rest or lunch. You can even pitch a tent on a sandbar for the night! Arf!
The creek will rise quite a bit after a rain, so if you happen to choose one of these times, be prepared to get wet with waterproof boots and pants. Many bridges and wooden footpaths help to stay dry while crossing the wetter, swampier areas. Bug spray is a good idea, too. Probably the best time to hike this trail is in winter, early spring and fall, when the temperatures aren't so toasty.
Although there are a few challenging ascents on the rolling, hilly terrain, for the most part this hike is quiet, gentle and relaxing, allowing you and your pooch to take in the abundant wildlife and flora along the way. Southern magnolia trees mingle with pines and hardwoods, and pitcher plants do their part to lower the insect population. Waterfowl, as well as songbirds are everywhere, and you may see a deer or armadillo. Views from the high bluffs along the ridges are of lush growth and the creek, the only national scenic river in Mississippi.
Taken as a whole, or split into shorter pieces, this trail has something for everyone!
Hunting is permitted inside the parks that this trail traverses, so come prepared with blaze orange clothing for you and your pup. There are poisonous and non-poisonous snakes living in the area, particularly in the tall prairie grass sections of the trail, so carry a walking stick to beat a path ahead of you, and wear long pants and high boots or snake gaiters, especially in the summer. This will also protect you from the ticks, thistles and thorns you'll encounter. Poison ivy abounds in some sections. Learn how to recognize it and wear long sleeves.