The Clark Creek Natural Area in southwestern Mississippi is one of the Magnolia State's most beautiful outdoor treasures. Comprising more than 700 acres, it is highlighted by some 50 waterfalls, ranging in size 10 to more than 30 feet in height. Creation and protection of this fabulous area came about in 1978. Steeply sloping loess bluff hills host a mixed hardwood and pine forest dominated by beech and magnolias. Uncommon trees found in the area are Southern sugar maple, serviceberry, umbrella tree, pyramid magnolia, chinquapin oak, big leaf snowball, silverbell, and witch-hazel. Here, visitors discover a variety of colorful migrating and resident birds; invertebrates; poisonous snakes; a rare land snail; the Federally endangered Carolina magnolia vine; and the State endangered fish, the Southern red belly face. The forest tract provides excellent habitat for another threatened species in Mississippi - - the black bear.
The Clark Creek Natural Area primitive trail is a great workout with wonderful scenery! Bring 2 liters of water and some snacks, plan to spend 4-6 hours on the trail. The trail is fairly well-marked, only lost it in a couple of spots but quickly found it again. Our Scout Troop is hiking the loop regularly in preparation for Philmont, so we're adding markers in a couple of spots where it's hard to pick up the trail.
Our hike was approx. 8 miles round trip on my GPS.
There's a good PDF map you can print out here: http://packpaddle.com/where-to-go/hiking-backpacking/clark-creek-natural-area/
The Clark Creek Primitive Trails were a good workout. Once I got on the primitive trail system I really enjoyed the hike. We hiked the entire loop (5 hours) and thoroughly enjoyed it. The system is quite a hike for those expecting a flat grade, it's not! It's more like a roller coaster with some challenging areas. I think the system could use a little clarification in trail directions at some points along the south side but having to rely on instinct was sort of fun. After all you're not in a forest 100s of miles out you're just a few miles from anything, not saying you can't get lost. We really enjoyed the hike, I think I'll use it for training for section hikes along the AT.
My biggest complaint, the primitive trails are not marked from the improved trails. Maybe a little more thought could go into promoting the entrances/exits.
My happy place. I can't say anything anyone hasn't, just want to correct something - Clark Creek, including the primitive trail, is open every day, not just from March until October. I've hiked the primitive every month of the year. Now, if it has been raining, the primitive can be very, very treacherous, but the trail is open.