Hiking the Natchez Trace Parkway near Ridgeland

With safety considerations in place, an hour or a day spent hiking along the Natchez Trace Parkway allows you to step back in time, often within reach of modern conveniences.

Closer Than You Think

Open daily from sunrise to sunset, the Chisha Foka Multi-Use Trail is a 10-mile paved path whose name pays tribute to the Choctaw town that once stood in the area that is now the state capital city of Jackson. The name means “among the post oaks” in the Choctaw language. 

To the south, the trail begins at milepost 95.8; to the north, the trail ends at milepost 105.6 at the scenic Barnett Reservoir Overlook. Along the way you can enjoy your hike surrounded by hardwood and pine trees and seasonal wildflowers. Your dog is welcome to join you, but must be leashed. And of course, please pick up after your pet. 

When you reach milepost 102.4 enjoy a well-earned stop at the Parkway Information Center which includes exhibits, picnic tables and restrooms. Further along at milepost 104.5 explore the Brashears Stand Site, and imagine what “a house of entertainment in the wilderness” must have been like in the early 1800s. 

After all that walking you’ve earned a detour to appreciate the craft skills of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi. Follow the wooden boardwalk to the Bill Waller Craft Center and explore the retail gallery to find a local treasure to take home. 

When the Chisha Foka Trail ends, you are only a short distance from the start of the Yockanookany Trail section of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail. It begins with the West Florida Boundary Trailhead at milepost 107.9 and continues for 21 miles to the Yockanookany Trailhead at milepost 130.9. 

If the entire 21 miles is more than you want to tackle, there are three trailheads in between to shorten your hike. The Yandell Road/Hwy 43 Trailhead is at milepost 114.9. A little more than seven miles north the Cypress Swamp Trailhead is at milepost 122. And the third option, the Upper Choctaw Boundary Trailhead is at milepost 128.4. 

With a few miles under your belt, you may be ready to explore more of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Learn more about hiking, biking and driving options here

Safety First

When you lace up and head out to discover a portion of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, you are embarking on a visit to a primitive place, a path traveled for hundreds of years. Start with the proper planning to begin with good hiking shoes and weather- and nature-appropriate clothing. 

Bring along your cell phone in case of emergency. But if you are hiking alone, it is important to tell a friend or family member where you are hiking and when you plan to return. Stay on the designated trails to minimize the risk of injury. Even on the trails, remember, you are in nature. Be alert for dangers from venomous snakes, fire ants and other insects, as well as harmful plants such as poison ivy and briars. 

When the trail crosses roadways or follows their shoulders for a distance, please use extra caution in these areas. At the end of your hike take time to examine your clothes, body and hair for any unwanted passengers you may have picked up, like ticks.