Set on 190,000 acres encompassing seven different counties in Southern Mississippi, Homochitto National Forest presents nature at its finest. Here, you'll find a range of fun opportunities to indulge in with your friends and family. Visitors especially love the 12-acre Clear Spring Lake that's surrounded by a sandy beach and luscious forest grass, ideal for picnicking, relaxing, stargazing, and nature viewing. The nearby Clear Springs Trail is now known as one of the top trails for mountain bikers in the area. Homochitto National Forest is also home to 1075-acre Okhissa Lake, which is great for fishing, boating, picnicking, and seasonal swimming. Many of the recreational areas in the forest are a product of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which began reforestation in the area in the mid-1930s.
This is the most traveled trail in Homochitto National Forest. It offers nearly 10 miles of hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking through young pine and old rugged hardwood trees. The trail is clear, and there are visible markers along the way. You may find a few damp areas, especially when it rains, but the path is still easy to get around, even with a bike. And the best part is, it is accessible all year round. Richardson Creek Trail has an elevation gain of 264 meters, beautiful hills, different indigenous trees, a smooth breeze, and a river. You might also come across a deer, few birds, other hikers, and bikers.
Length: 9.7 miles
This loop, which is accessible all year round, offers amazing views of the creek. The only slight challenge is that horses primarily use this trail. Therefore, you can expect some mud and maneuvering to get around. Nevertheless, it is well-maintained for hikers, with markings to direct you toward the creeks. Furthermore, the terrain is varied nicely between hills, valleys, ridges, and creeks. Be sure to carry water shoes for creek crossing. There are cabins and campsites in the area if you want to stay through the night. If you are lucky, you might enjoy the chorus of a flock of hoot owls. The elevation gain for this trail is 113 meters.
Length: 5.7 miles
Intensity: Moderate to Difficult
This Brushy Trail is used primarily for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching, unlike the loop, which is used mainly for horse riding. It just over 11 miles long with an elevation gain of 264 meters. The trail features a waterfall as well as a clear creek that appears to have gold flakes in its stream. In addition, it is remote and very peaceful. Thus, it provides the ultimate camping spot and picnicking site. The best time to use this trail is between April and September.
Length: 11.1 miles
If you are an outdoor enthusiast looking for a quick nature experience in Homochitto National Forest, this is the trail for you. At under 6 miles, it is the shortest on our list and has the least elevation gain (64 meters). Missionary Trail to Culvert is used mainly for birdwatching, nature trips, and hiking. The best time to use it is from April to September.
Length: 5.5 miles
Fishing is allowed in Okhissa Lake and in the Clear Springs Lake in Homochitto National Forest. The larger lake, Okhissa, has two boat ramps and plenty of gravel parking space. This lake is stocked with many freshwater species, including bass, bream, crappie, and channel catfish.
Many people go to Homochitto National Forest for bird-watching purposes. There are around 41 different bird species to observe. These are especially present in the Clear Springs Lake area as well as near the many creeks that run through the forest. In addition, you may come across deer in the deeper parts of the wooded area.
Homochitto National Forest also provides a prime spot to enjoy the night sky. You can stargaze at the various camping grounds within the forest, such as the Clear Springs Campground.
Address: 1200 Hwy 184 E, Meadville, MS 39653
Fee: Entry fee $0
Homochitto National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts all year round. Visitors can explore the beautiful creeks, waterfalls, and azure lakes. Furthermore, it's a premier spot in Southern Mississippi for fishing, birdwatching, hiking, biking, horseback riding through Brushy Creek Loop, and many other fun activities. Since the trails are usually long, you may want to set up camp at the RV-friendly Clear Springs Campground. An RV offers a reliable, comfortable, and safe means to enjoy the scenic drive through the national forest.