Hike of the Week: Black Creek Hiking Trail

Hike of the Week: Black Creek Hiking Trail

Welcome to Paria's “Hike of the Week” series. Each week, we highlight a great trail from around the country. We hope these posts inspire you to get outdoors and experience these trails in person!

This week we are highlighting the Black Creek Hiking Trail in Mississippi.

Featured Photo: Black Creek Hiking Trail (photo by Richard May)

Why This Hike?

If you're looking for a challenging trail full of scenic, Instagram-worthy views, this is not it. But, if you're looking for an easy-to-follow, easy-to-hike trail, then you'll enjoy the Black Creek Hiking Trail. It's the perfect spot to spend a few days in a quiet forest.

The Black Creek Trail can be found in the DeSoto National Forest. As you can guess, it runs next to its namesake waterway. As such, the route also goes through flat floodplain. But, you will also find some rolling hills near the southern end. The mixture of hardwood trees and piney groves keeps things interesting.

  • Distance: 38 miles
  • Type: Point-to-point
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
  • Elevation gain: 1,700 feet (highest point of the trail is 200 feet)
  • Best time to visit: Open year-round. Summer is arguably the worst time. Expect lots of bugs, heat, and overgrowth.
  • The trail is for foot traffic only. It is super wide, though, like an old service road.
  • This area of the forest has lots of plant life diversity. You can find magnolias, towering pines, hickories, beech, rhododendrons, and yucca.
  • There are lots of bogs and creeks along the way. Luckily, over 100 boardwalks and bridges help keep your feet dry.
  • Dispersed camping is allowed, enabling more solitude. The trail is already pretty low on traffic, though.
  • Plenty of smaller streams feed into Black Creek. So, finding water to filter won't be difficult.
  • Wildlife includes beavers, blue herons, and wood ducks.
  • Black Creek is also popular for canoeing and kayaking. You can camp this way too.

Before you pack your bags, keep the following in mind:

  • Some stream crossings only have fallen trees as makeshift bridges to cross them.
  • It's the south. Wild hogs are another animal to keep in mind.

How Do I Get There?

Gulfport-Biloxi International is the closest major airport. From here, take Airport Road and make a couple of short jogs on Three Rivers Road and Creosote Road. Turn right onto US 49 N and continue for 44.3 miles. Turn left onto Carnes Road. Just short of half a mile, turn right onto Rockhill Brooklyn Road. Drive 3.4 miles. Turn right and then right again. The parking area is about a half-mile down this lane. Total drive time is about one hour.

Map of Recommended Route

The following map outlines our recommended route. Click the "Load Interactive Map" button to load the correct map. Once loaded, you can navigate along the route and view recommended campsites.

For even more detailed mapping, including being able to print a copy for yourself, click the "Open in CalTopo" button at the top of the map once it's loaded into view.

  • Day 1 - Big Creek Landing to Campsite 1 (10 miles)
  • Day 2 - Campsite 1 to Campsite 2 (19 miles)
  • Day 3 - Campsite 2 to Fairley Landing (9.3 miles)

Trail Description

Day 1 - Big Creek Landing to Campsite 1

Start at the Big Creek Landing trailhead. The trail is pretty flat at this end. Lots of tall trees and underbrush line the way. Walk a short way to a nice bridge over Granny Creek. The woods open up a bit under the pines. Find a nice camping spot by Macklin Creek. It's only 4 miles in, so it might be a good spot if you get a late start.

Enjoy the soft, wide path as the pine grove continues. Come to a short road walk on Sam Boyte. This is nothing compared to crossing Highway 49 soon after. Two lanes run in both directions, so crossing can be tricky. No sooner than you cross the busy highway, you walk down some stairs and cross the railroad tracks. If you keep your eyes open, you'll find a small, but cushy, spot for a tent below the towering pines. Shortly after that, you'll find the remains of an old structure. There is a sign nearby about past CCC work in the area.

Soon you'll come to the Pokey Hill Slope Forest sign. Cross a narrow footbridge over the creek. Reach the high point of the trail around mile 8. Pines eventually give way to mixed forest again before reaching your camping spot for the evening.

Day 2 - Campsite 1 to Campsite 2

A few miles brings you to Moody's Landing. This is another option for camping since it's pretty flat. Come across another nice flowing creek. The forest opens up again under the tall pines near Forest Road 319. This gives you further views of the woods and sunshine.

A few more small footbridges await. The forest gets into brushy undergrowth again before reaching Black Creek. There is a great camping spot right next to it. Hike a few miles on a wide forest service road. The pines get low and bushy as you get near the Highway 29 trailhead.

Cross the road and enter the Black Creek Wilderness. The trail gets narrower, but it's still fairly wide. Come to the sharp drop to Beaverdam Creek. Wind back to 29 to cross the bridge over this creek. It's a bit narrow with cars, so be careful. Head back into the woods and come to Beaverdam Creek again. This is a nice spot to rest and/or fill up on water.

Day 3 - Campsite 2 to Fairley Landing

Walk through a magnolia grove, which is beautiful in bloom. Come to a wide section of the creek before long. Another great campsite is nearby with a view of the creek. The Mill Creek crossing is tricky. A fallen tree is the current “bridge” there. Hopefully, the rope someone rigged to hold on to while crossing is still there. Exit the Wilderness area, cross an open area where a pipeline is buried, then a small road.

Enter the Red Hills area, which is quite different from the rest of the trail. Lots of ups and downs, some of which can be steep. Come to Black Creek once again. There is a side trail to the sand bar here. You can take a dip in the creek, if you're so inclined. Next is another nice area of pines. You'll find the biggest hills of the trail in this section. Come to another small/service road crossing. Then you're back to mixed forest. The trail flattens out again. There's another short road walk about a mile before the end of the trail.

What Do I Need?

For October through April, average highs range between 61 and 80°F while average lows are between 36 and 54°F. Keep in mind too that fall is drier than winter and early spring months.

If you're going the tent route, you'll want something lightweight, but roomy. You might be better off hammock camping, though. It can be hard to find a flat, dry spot. If this is your plan, don't forget a tarp for rain. Plus, it's nice having some extra privacy to get changed in the mornings. And, to make adjustments easier, be sure to take some quality guy line.

For sleep gear, a down quilt should suit you well for most of the seasons. An ultralight sleeping pad will save you space and weight in your pack. Speaking of which, down camping pillows also take up little space and weight. It's nice to “splurge” on something that can help you get better rest on the trail.

Though the elevation change isn't bad, you might want some trekking poles. These will help with stream crossings without bridges.

Paria Outdoor Products Tri-Fold Carbon Cork Trekking Poles

Our Tri-Fold trekking poles fold down to just 15-inches when not in use, making them a great options for backpackers. They can be a lifesaver on water crossings, which there are plenty of on the Black Creek Hiking Trail.

If there's anything else you need to complete your pack, visit our full line of high-quality, affordable backpacking gear.

Shop Backpacking Tents
Shop Ultralight Tarps
Shop Backpacking Quilts
Shop Down Sleeping Bags
Shop Insulated Sleeping Pads
Shop Backpacking Pillow
Shop Folding Trekking Poles
Shop Titanium Cookware
Shop Tent and Tarp Accessories

Finally, to make sure you don't forget something at home, use our Ultimate Backpacker's Packing List. It even includes a convenient printable checklist!

Do I Need a Permit?

No permits are required to hike this trail.


Black Creek Canoe Rental (They offer shuttle services to hikers. Please note this is their Facebook page. Their website was undergoing renovation at the time of writing.)


If you're looking for an easy-going trail to spend some relaxing time in the woods, the Black Creek Hiking Trail is for you.

Have you completed this trail or any others in the DeSoto National Forest? We'd love to hear about your experience in the comments section below!

Read Next

If you're looking for more hike ideas, read our “Best Backpacking Trips in the Southeastern U.S.” round-up post. Also, the following Hike of the Week articles cover other great trails in the region.

Hike of the Week: Ozark Highlands Trail
Hike of the Week: Bartram Trail: Georgia Section
Hike of the Week: Lake Ouachita Vista Trail

For even more amazing backpacking trips, visit The Trailhead, our interactive hike map. It contains a curated list of dozens of hikes, each with a detailed write-up like this one.

The Trailhead - Interactive Map of Backpacking Trips

Finally, check out our comprehensive list of backpacking articles that cover just about everything there is to know about backpacking. If you're just starting out, ou rBackpacking 101 section covers all the basics. If you already have a few trips under your belt, you can find more advanced topics covered in our Expert Articles.

Hike of the Week USA Central

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