The Riverside Park Nature Trail in the LaFleur's Bluff State Park is a quiet, tranquil oasis in the middle of Jackson that will transport you into a somewhat wild and natural setting in minutes. A combination of riverside lined with reeds and long grasses, swampland, floodplain and bluffs overlooking the Pearl River, you and your fur pal will have no lack of scenic, as well as close-up views of the flora and fauna that thrive here. The bluffs and wooden docks provide a bird's-eye perspective and be sure to look up to see the many bird species flitting between trees or soaring above in search of lunch.
Near the water's edge, you'll see cranes and egrets, along with toads, turtles and alligators sunning themselves or half-submerged in the water of the creek or river. The walk is also replete with small mammals like rabbits and raccoons, and there's a large deer population that make the omnipresent kudzu their shelter and their main source of food.
Although the vegetation at times encroaches upon the walking path, which is primarily gravel, dirt and roots (watch your step!), there are boardwalks along the wetter areas and an observation deck at Swamp Terrace that gets you right out over the swamp, with the river on the opposite side of the narrow peninsula. A boardwalk descends down the steep bluff at LeFleur's Bluff as well for those that want to get closer to the Pearl.
Picnic areas with shelters and grills pop up onshore here and there, and wooden river walls help control the occasional minor flooding and mud after a rain. A sandbar appears at a bend in the river, and there's a boat launch where you're welcome to put in your canoe, kayak or electric-motor boat for a closer look. If you want to extend your time here, or just need a lovely spot to call home while you and Fido explore other attractions in the Jackson area, a campground within the park at Mayes Lake is pawrfect for primitive tent camping or RV'ing.
The Riverside Park Trail is a furtastic way to experience the beauty and wildness of Jackson's floodplain and forest area with the convenience and ease of a city hike. Woofderful!
This trail runs along and around several water bodies and swamps with their resident wildlife like alligators and snakes. Keep your fur-pup securely leashed and don't go in the water.