With so many spring and early summer activities in Ridgeland, it’s easy to forget that away from the hot air balloons, fireworks, and crowds lies a core of breathtaking nature to enjoy. Whether you’re a bird-lover, fishing aficionado, or just enjoy a good nature walk, there’s something for you to do outside in Ridgeland. Here’s a short guide to getting back to nature in Ridgeland to enjoy these last weeks left of summer.
With more than 10 miles ensconced in greenery, the Chisha Foka Multi-Use Trail is a scenic adventure for cyclists, joggers, and outdoor explorers. No matter what your speed, there’s an opportunity for you to get out and seize the day on the trail. For those just visiting, there are road, mountain, and city bike rentals available to help get you on the road. There are plenty of stops along the way for refreshments and sightseeing. Be sure to take a dip in the Barnett Reservoir at Old Trace Park to cool down and enjoy some scenery.
This manmade wonder of a lake covers 53 square miles and boasts 105 miles of shoreline. The reservoir is a beautiful place to visit for picnics, camping, fishing, hiking, and swimming. From the Chisha Foka Multi-Use Trail, you can stop by the reservoir overlook for spectacular views, particularly at dawn and dusk. This is the place for recreation on the waterfront. Camping at the reservoir ranges from accommodations with all the comforts, to rugged primitive camping. Fishing is excellent, with plenty of black bass, crappie, bream, catfish, and striped bass. Both Main Harbor Marina and Jackson Yacht Marina provide boat access to the reservoir if you want to venture out to the best fishing holes.
At milepost 122 on the Natchez Trace Parkway a real primordial treat awaits. A boardwalk snakes through a cypress and tupelo swamp, giving you a rare view of the swamp habitat. The boardwalk provides a perfect, shady platform to observe wildlife. If you’re quiet and watchful you may be able to see birds, snakes, frogs, and even alligators. One note, however: Bring insect repellant, as mosquitoes lurk in this area.
Ridgeland is home to three parks: Friendship Park, Freedom Ridge, and Wolcott Park. Friendship Park is ideal for folks with small children who may not be up to the rigors of more rugged hikes. It features playgrounds, a pavilion, and a shaded walking trail in an environment that feels close to nature. Freedom Ridge Park has 50 acres of athletic facilities, picnic pavilions, playgrounds, and a lighted walking trail. Wolcott Park is the least nature-oriented of the three and is primarily an athletic facility.
Summer days around these parts can be long, and hot, and muggy, but the shaded trails and refreshing waters around Ridgeland offer respite from the heat. So, come on, go take a hike and jump in the lake!