Meander Through 3 Different Habitats Along The 3-Mile Crosby Arboretum Trail Walk In Mississippi For An Unforgettable Outdoor Adventure
Unlike many of the hikes found farther west, the Magnolia State is a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to scenic treks through nature. But all bias aside, with expansive views, lush landscapes, abundant wildlife, and perfect weather nearly year-round, the Southeast is hard to beat when it comes to experiencing the great outdoors! However, all of this diverse natural beauty also comes with a catch: it can be hard to choose just one perfect, family-friendly hike. Fortunately, Mississippi State University’s Crosby Arboretum showcases multiple unique habitats and terrains all in one place – each highlighting a vibrant piece of the South’s landscape that is sure to make you love our state all the more.
Located on approximately 700 acres of historic farmland in Picayune, MSU's 94-acre Crosby Arboretum is a gorgeous oasis for visitors of all ages.
As one of the top botanical research areas in the country, the gardens here are nationally recognized for their contributions to ecological studies and biodiversity. Uniquely, the ecosystems here are all self-sustaining, free-seeded, and naturally managed through regular burn cycles that mimic the foliage's wild habitat. It's an incredible system that has been thriving since the Arboretum's inception in 1979.
The Arboretum features three distinct habitats in the public gardens: Savanna, Woodland, and Aquatic, each of which can be enjoyed via the gloriously meandering 3-mile Trail Walk system.
Smell, touch, sound…. All five of your senses will be refreshed as you explore the well-marked exhibits. Despite being in the heart of Picayune, you'll definitely feel as though you've escaped into nature!
The rich diversity here is absolutely incredible; every corner reveals something beautiful and unexpected! In fact, many of the plants here are rare or endangered - which means you're sure to see something new on each visit.
In the Savanna, open fields of native grasses and wildflowers take visitors on a journey through the Gulf's original landscape.
The Woodland exhibit showcases the natural evolution of grasslands, and features over 12,000 native trees and shrubs in a beautiful, shady canopy setting.
Piney Lake is the prime feature of the Aquatics habitat, which is naturally shaped by beaver ponds and wildlife activity. The freshwater wetlands here can be explored via smaller trails that lead through pitcher plant bogs, buttonbush, and aquatic grasses, as well as through lush havens for orchids, sunflowers, lilies, and more.
You'll definitely want to experience Pinecote Pavilion up close! This architectural landmark on the lake is designed to take full advantage of the changing sunlight throughout the day, and seamlessly blends into the surrounding nature.
Altogether, the exhibits found at MSU's botanical garden are home to over 300 species of indigenous trees and shrubs. You'll find red maple, mayhaw, yellow cow lily, and much more growing alongside slash pine hardwoods, hillside bogs, and tupelo bays.
You'll also see a few friendly residents milling around. While you can't touch or feed the wildlife, there is one exception to the feeding rule: the fishes and turtles! With your admission, you get a small bag of food to share with the underwater inhabitants.
While we highly recommend exploring every part of the Trail Walk, the individual paths are all clearly marked and easy to explore individually if time or mobility is a concern. Grab a map and wristband at the visitor center when you arrive to plan your journey!
Or, stop in for one of the Arboretum's many classes, workshops, and special events. Throughout the year, you'll find everything from plant sales and Bugfest to landscaping classes and foodie festivals. There's no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in nature here!
What a sweet escape from the city! Visit the
MSU Arboretum website to check out the latest hours and pricing, or the Arboretum Facebook page to stay in the know about special events. We can’t wait to hear about your visit!
Looking for more things to do in Mississippi? Check out this unique wildlife refuge in Pascagoula!
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The Crosby Arboretum, 370 Ridge Rd, Picayune, MS 39466, USA