Hiking is a great way for people of all ages to enjoy the great outdoors. Although, when kids are involved, it’s probably best to stick with trails that are a bit on the shorter side. Luckily, Mississippi has plenty of hikes that are big on fun yet small in miles. Read on for 11 of the state’s best kid friendly hikes – all of which are one mile or less.
1. Clear Springs Nature Trail (Sardis)
One of several trails surrounding Sardis Lake, this 0.6-mile trek runs right along the lake before leading to a wooden boardwalk. Sure to delight kids and adults of all ages, the boardwalk extends directly over a Tupelo/bald cypress swamp, offering one-of-a-kind views.
2. Cypress Swamp Trail (Canton)
Explore a natural wonder
and enjoy a great hike with this easy ½-mile trail, which you’ll find along the Natchez Trace Parkway. And while the short length is a major plus, it’s not the only reason it’s great for kids. The hike is loaded with history and close up views of the swamp and a variety of wildlife, making for a great educational experience.
3. Swinging Bridge Nature Trail (Coldwater)
Rated as easy, this 1-mile trail is feasible for just about anyone and definitely worth the trek. Both fun and educational, the path is lined with signage, providing lots of info on the history of the Arkabutla community, the redirection of the Coldwater River, and native plants and wildlife. The trail also features a beautiful azalea garden, which usually starts to bloom in March and continues through the summer, so plan your hike accordingly.
4. Woodall Mountain (Iuka)
Traversing a mountainside trail probably doesn’t seem very kid friendly; however, Mississippi’s Woodall Mountain includes a 0.1-mile path straight to the top, making it suitable for all ages and skill levels. At 806’, it’s the tallest mountain in the state, so visiting the landmark should be on the bucket list of all residents – despite their age.
5. Alligator Slough Nature Trail (Eden)
A literal version of "off the beaten path," this lightly trafficked trail is hidden in the small town of Eden. Sure to appeal to both boys and girls, the 0.7-mile loop trail features up close views of a cypress swamp along with an incredible mixture of wildflowers.
6. Persimmon Hill Multi Purpose Trail (Oakland)
Children’s imaginations are sure to run wild as they follow this path straight into the forest. Accessible year round, the loop trail is only 0.7 miles and is rated "good for all skill levels," so this one should be a breeze for you and your brood.
7. Beech Hollow Nature Trail (Pope)
If you’re looking for another short forest hike, the Beech Hollow Nature Trail is for you. Just over ½-mile, the loop trail is feasible for all ages, making it the perfect choice for some quick outdoor fun.
8. C.L. Dees Nature Trail (Gautier)
This ¾-mile loop trail can be easily accessed from the parking lot of the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to getting a glimpse of the elusive Sandhill Crane, the trail offers the opportunity to get close up views of a variety of carnivorous plants – two things that hikers of all ages are sure to enjoy.
9. Tree Trunk Trail (Tupelo)
At 1.2 miles, this hike is a little over the 1-mile limit, but it’s too good not to mention. It’s located in Tombigbee State Park, which is a major plus because that means it’s easy to access. It also means there’s camping nearby, so you can turn your day hike into a full on adventure. The winding trail, which has been deemed "kid and dog friendly," winds through the forest to Lake Lee, where you’ll find a variety of amphibians, birds, and small animals.
10. Old Channel Trail (Columbus)
Spanning 190 acres, the Plymouth Bluff Center includes several nature trails. One of the most popular, the Old Channel Trail, begins with incredible views at an observation deck then traverses the top of a bluff before coming to an end at its base. This one is probably better for older children; however, they’ll definitely be motivated when you mention that finding fossils is a real possibility. Since the area that now includes the trail was once part of an inland sea, it has an abundance of fossilized remains, such as mollusk shells and shark teeth.
11. LeFleur’s Bluff Sate Park Trail System (Jackson)
Perfect for escaping city life, LeFleur’s Bluff State Park has five trails, most of which loop and interconnect. A majority of the trails can be accessed just behind the Museum of Natural Science. Though each trail is different, they’re all well under ½ mile and many feature paved walkways and boardwalks.
So, have you hiked any of these trails? Know of another hike that’s short and sweet? Tell us in the comments section!