Named for Hernando de Soto, the first known European to cross the Mississippi River, De Soto National Forest is the largest national forest in the Magnolia State and covers over a half-million acres, protecting a part of the increasingly endangered Gulf Coast ecosystem. Its beautiful expanses of longleaf pine forests and savannas attract nature lovers and fun-seekers alike. Whether you enjoy hiking or ATV riding, fishing or canoeing, or just want some peaceful solitude, the forest offers plenty of recreational opportunities. For those who want a little civilization, the nearby city of Hattiesburg has become a premier destination for golfers and history fans. Biloxi and Gulfport's casinos and shops are within an easy drive, and New Orleans is only two hours away. For a relaxing forest getaway, De Soto National Forest is accessible and has something for everyone.
How to get to De Soto National Forest
Address: 654 West Frontage Road, Wiggins MS 39577
Fee: Entry fee $0
As the largest and most popular national forest in Mississippi, De Soto National Forest contains some of the best stands of pine savannas and longleaf pine forests in the state, despite damage from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hikers love the trails that meander past wildlife and over beautiful wooded hills while fishers and boaters take to the water for their best catches or to just while away the day. If you're traveling through Mississippi, De Soto National Forest is not to be missed, and an RV trip is a great way to experience this unique spot for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions About De Soto National Forest
Is there a fee to get into De Soto National Forest?
No, there is no fee to get into De Soto National Forest. There may be fees or permits required for certain recreational activities or to use certain sites within the forest, however.
Does De Soto National Forest offer free camping sites?
Yes, De Soto National Forest has free camping sites. Dispersed camping is available throughout the forest, including near OHV trails and other fun trails in the area. Campers simply need to make sure they leave no trace when it's time to break camp.
Is De Soto National Forest open all year round?
Yes, De Soto National Forest is open year-round. Thanks to the mild climate, outdoor adventurers can hike, cycle, camp, canoe, and more during every season in the forest.
Can you kayak, canoe, or raft in De Soto National Forest?
Yes, you can kayak, canoe, and raft in De Soto National Forest. There are plenty of lakes and streams throughout the forest for a variety of water activities for visitors.
Do you need a permit to fish or hunt in De Soto National Forest?
Yes, you need a permit to fish or hunt in De Soto National Forest. A valid hunting license is required to hunt in the forest. Anyone between the ages of 16 and 64 is required to have a permit to fish in the forest as well.