The Chisha Foka Multi-Use Trail is a great way for joggers, bicyclists, and nature enthusiasts to experience the Natchez Trace Parkway in Ridgeland and the Jackson metropolitan area. The Chisha Foka Multi-Use Trail is a 10-mile paved path that runs through historic Choctaw homelands. Named in honor of the Choctaw town that stood where the city of Jackson is today. The name Chisha Foka (pronounced chee-sha-foe-ka) means “among the post oaks” in the Choctaw language.
The southern terminus of the Chisha Foka Multi-Use Trail is at milepost 95.8 with the nearest parking at Choctaw Agency (milepost 100.7), the site of the liaison office between the U.S. government and the Choctaw Nation in the early 1800’s. The northern terminus of the trail is at milepost 105.6 at the Barnett Reservoir Overlook. The trail gradually slopes and winds through various hardwood and pine trees. Each season offers new sights and smells as different foliage, blossoms and wildflowers appear. While on this area of protected greenspace in Ridgeland, be on the lookout for the variety of birds and mammals that call this area home.
Along the 10-mile pathway at milepost 102.4 is the Parkway Information Cabin where you’ll find exhibits, picnic tables and restrooms. The Parkway Information Cabin is open Friday and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. When the center is closed, you’ll still be able to pick-up a free Natchez Trace Parkway Map at the kiosk located in the parking area.
At milepost 104.5 you’ll find the Old Trace and Brashears Stand Site. Brashears Stand was advertised in 1806 as “a house of entertainment in the wilderness.” From the parking area here, take the wooden boardwalk to the Bill Waller Craft Center. For over four decades, the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi has provided high standards for fine craft and provided educational programs to pass along to both craft skills and an appreciation for them to future generations. Since 2007, the Guild has been headquartered in the 20,000 sq. ft. Mississippi Craft Center that has many functions – retail gallery, museum, education center, and community gathering place. The Mississippi Craft Center is open Monday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Chisha Foka Multi-Use Trail is open daily from sunrise to sunset. It’s a shared public space with users of various skill levels, speeds and modes of transportation. Trail recommendations include: stay on the right, pass on the left; if walking or bicycling side by side, switch to single file when others need to pass; bicyclists should yield to pedestrians; give an audible signal when passing; leave nature as you find it for others to enjoy; carry out any litter; pets must be on a leash six feet long or less; please pick up after your pet; motorized vehicles are prohibited with the exception of motorized equipment (wheelchair) required for accessibility.
The National Park Service has also installed a new wayside exhibit at milepost 128 at the Upper Choctaw Boundary with historical information about the Choctaw removal and the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. The exhibit includes audio from a Choctaw native American in his native Choctaw language.