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7 places to go hiking on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Best places to go hiking in Mississippi
Shepard Park in Gautier features 395 acres covered with trees, wildflowers, and nature trails.

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is home to a plethora of beautiful hiking areas. Grab your shoes and a friend or two, and check out these seven places.

Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge

Best hiking trails in Mississippi
Photo from the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge (Facebook)

There is a ¾-mile nature trail adjacent to the visitor center, which winds its way through beautiful trees, and tidal marsh. Plantlife is abundant along the route, especially in spring when the orchids are in bloom.

Address: 7200 Crane Ln., Gautier, MS 39553

Tuxachanie Hiking Trail

Best hikes in Mississippi
Photo from the USDA Forest Service

A 13.8-mile-long trail surrounded by longleaf pine-covered ridges, pitcher plant savannas, and flooded tupelo/bald cypress swamps. From rows of live oaks planted at the trail entrance, the first five miles follow an old abandoned logging railroad that once served as the sawmill of Dantzler Lumber Company at Howison. Remains of the railroad trestles, built by Irish immigrants in the early 1900s, are still visible on some creek crossings.

Address: 26204-26154 US 49, Saucier, MS 39574

Big Foot Horse Trail 

Best hiking in Mississippi
Photo from MapQuest

This 23.7-mile trail is nice for all hikers, no matter the experience level. Big Foot Horse Trail, which is part of the De Soto National Forest, offers four loops ranging in length from five to eleven miles. Also, if you’re a horseback rider, this is a great place for that as well.

Address: 206 Government Rd. 440, Perkinston, MS 39573

Davis Bayou Area Gulf Island National Seashore

Located south of Highway 90 and a tad east of downtown Ocean Springs, the Davis Bayou Area is the small part of the Gulf Island National Seashore that isn’t miles off the coast. The Davis Bayou Area offers two miles of nature trails, picnicking areas with tables, and campgrounds. You’re also sure to see some gators out at Davis Bayou.

Address: 3500 Park Rd., Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Shearwater Park

Best recreational trails in Mississippi
Photo from the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain

Shearwater Park is complete with benches, trees, and a walking path, making it the perfect place for birdwatching and quiet contemplation. Surrounded by outstanding coastal scenery, this is not your average walk around the park.

Address: Shearwater Dr., Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Shepard State Park

marsh

This park has 395 acres covered with trees, wildflowers, and trails. The trails range in length and many connect, making for an easily adaptable experience. Due to its proximity to the ocean, you may encounter various wildlife like fiddler crabs scampering across the trail.

Address: 1034 Graveline Rd., Gautier, MS 39553

Twelve Oaks Nature Trail

best hikes in Mississippi
Photo from Only In Your State

With several live oaks sprinkled among a spectacular setting of native plants and Old Fort Bayou. Some of the oaks are believed to be over 400 years old. These gorgeous, historical trees are sure to make a tremendous impression when standing beneath their widespread canopy. The walking trail, with an observation deck, also offers visitors a variety of unique hiking and bird watching opportunities.

Address: 2695 Bienville Blvd., Ocean Springs, MS 39564

Share with us your favorite place to go for a stroll along the Mississippi Gulf Coast by commenting below or on Facebook. 

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Written by Meredith Biesinger

Meredith Biesinger is an educator and a professional writer, who writes for several southern publications, such as Mud & Magnolias, Pretty Southern, and OUR MS Home. She's also a published children's author, with a passion for preserving the art of southern story telling. Meredith has an undergraduate degree in English Education and Creative Writing, and a graduate degree in Education Leadership.

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