Tishomingo State Park

Date: Friday–Sunday, September 17–19, 2010
Location: Tishomingo State Park, Mississippi
Trails: Bear Creek Outcropping, Saddleback Ridge, Flat Rock
Members: Bart, Foster, Larry, Mimi

Bart at Tishomingo Tishomingo State Park is located in northeastern Mississippi, about seven miles north of the town of Belmont on MS 25. The park can also be accessed from the Natchez Trace Parkway from an exit near milepost 304. A bridge on the parkway actually passes over the middle of the park.

Attractions include the smallish Haynes Lake, numerous hiking trails, an elaborate disc (frisbee) golf course, a nature center, a decent-sized swimming pool, attractive picnic pavilions and other group sites.

For lodging, one can opt for either a primitive campsite sporting just a picnic table and fire ring or a standard site with water and electrical hookups as well. Rates range from $13 to $18 a night. Six fully furnished cabins are also available at higher cost. All can be reserved.

Foster arrived about 3 PM without a reservation but had no difficulty in procuring standard campsite 11 overlooking Haynes Lake. Mimi and I had reserved large site T6 in the primitive camping area and Bart had booked T7 just across the unpaved road. The primitive sites are located back in the woods but are maybe 75 yards from a bathhouse via a short path, conveniently starting at T7. Foster just had to cross the street.

On Friday afternoon, Foster, Mimi, and I drove around to scope out the place. We checked out the cabins and other structures, most apparently dating from the CCC era. Some are now used for lodging, others for group activities, and one building serves as the Nature Center.

There are two touristy type things – an early 19th century pioneer cabin and the 1930 Swinging Bridge over Bear Creek. Neither required much time but were not without interest.

The more modern swimming pool was closed for the season. Disc golf appears to be a big deal here and we frequently encountered the tees and the baskets at the target end. Considering the size of this park, you could actually get some exercise playing this course, especially if you can't throw a frisbee any more accurately than I can.

Tishomingo State Park Swinging Bridge
Saturday got off to an tasty start with excellent sausage, homemade by one of Bart's relatives in Red Bay, Alabama. Mimi contributed a mango-peach-grape-plum fruit salad. The accompanying bacon and eggs were definitely upstaged. We did miss Gary's biscuits, however.

We returned to the Swinging Bridge, crossing and continuing straight on the Bear Creek Outcropping Trail. After a short climb, we found ourselves alternately above and below a long series of sandstone bluffs. We had not expected such visually attractive terrain and spent almost two hours circling around the slopes. The trails were of moderate difficulty but with a steep spot now and then.

We descended off the heights and returned to the bridge along a level path next to Bear Creek.

By lunchtime, the temperature had already reached 90F so we piled into Foster's van for an air-conditioned exploration of nearby Natchez Trace attractions in the afternoon.

I would speculate that the main attraction at the Pharr Mounds might be the rest rooms instead of the Indian burial mounds themselves. Next at Donivan Slough, we walked the signed nature trail and learned something about trees. On the return drive, we struggled to find the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway visitor center only to discover that it is a weekday-only operation.

Back at the park, one last short sojourn up the Saddleback Ridge Trail finished our excursion. Most of us napped and/or took showers but Mimi persevered and actually hiked around Haynes Lake.

Another good camp dinner was followed with a roaring campfire. Once the sun had set, the temperature fell to a tolerable level – not enough to justify a fire of this size but quite comfortable overnight for sleeping.

Bear Creek with Bald Cypress
SWHC at Tishomingo State Park, September 2010 In what will no doubt become a tradition for SWHC car camping Sunday breakfasts, Foster prepared pancakes on the griddle of his Coleman stove. We embellished these with real maple syrup, the climax of the fruit salad, and all that remained of Red Bay sausage.

Mimi persuaded me to try a little of the Flat Rock Trail which appeared to envelop the campground. We bailed out early, finding it less than stimulating, especially with the rising sun and temperature.

We all checked out around 11 AM and headed for home, each following a different route than the one taken in arriving.
To view more photos (in better resolution), please see our Picasa Web Album Tishomingo State Park 2010.

Submitted 27 Sep 2010
Text: Larry
Photos: Mimi, Bart

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