Hiking Tishomingo State Park With Dogs

Tishomingo State Park is located near the northeastern border of Mississippi. This scenic park is named after Chief Tishomingo, and contains relics from Paleo Indians. Interesting stuff, but the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains are what drew us to Tishomingo. The dog friendly trails will lead you through creeks, rock formations, waterfalls and tall pines. Of course, you cannot miss the fascinating Swinging Bridge which crosses Bear Creek.

Tishomingo State Park entrance sign at night.

How to Get to Tishomingo State Park

Address: 105 Co Rd 90, Tishomingo, MS 38873

Hours of operation: open 24 hours

Fees: $4

Enter Tishomingo State Park along State Park Road 90, and stop at the HQ on the west side of the park. This road can be reached by using MS-25, or Co Rd 87, which cross Natchez Trace Pkwy. Tishomingo is positioned between three major cities: Memphis, Nashville and Birmingham. Drive times range from two to three hours. The nearest major city is Memphis, but not by much.

Tishomingo fishing pier at Haynes Lake.
Haynes Lake fishing pier

Things to Do at Tishomingo State Park

There is much to do at this 1,500 acre park in Mississippi. Hike with your dog through 12 miles of adventurous trails, climb rock formations, or camp as the Native Americans once did. You can also fish, swim in the pool, or play disc golf. Moreover, this is the only state park in Mississippi where you can take a canoe trip. Canoe for six miles down Bear Creek from April to October for an all-inclusive $40 fee.

Tishomingo State Park has 78 campsites. There are 61 RV sites near Haynes Lake, and 17 primitive campsites without water or electricity. Campsites can be reserved up to one year in advance. Primitive sites are $15 per night, and water/electric sites are $22 per night. There are also cabins at this state park with various rates.

The Natchez Trace Trail runs along Bear Creek in Tishomingo.
Bear Creek

Tishomingo State Park Trails

There are seven marked trails at Tishomingo State Park. However, they could be considered one 10-mile trail wrapping around Haynes Lake and Bear Creek, and one two mile trail which loops through the rock formations. It’s very easy to lose track of your direction among the rock formations and the trail map is not the greatest. The hiking trails running along Haynes Lake and Bear Creek (1 – 6) are fairly easy. The Outcropping Trail (7) can be more challenging if you are climbing up and down the hills.

Flat Rock Trail

The Flat Rock Trail runs for two miles from the HQ to the other side of Haynes Lake. On the way to the lake you will pass through spring-fed streams and rock formations which appear nowhere else in the state. Dogwood, red oak, hickory, white and sweet gum trees will line your path. You will pass the largest camping area in the park as you head toward Saddleback Trail on the other side of Haynes Lake.

Rock formations along the dog friendly trails.

Pro Tip – If you begin this trail near the HQ, you can make it a 5-mile loop by following the park road after exiting the west end of Saddleback Ridge Trail.

Saddleback Ridge Trail

This trail runs atop a high ridge for about half a mile before ending near Natchez Trace Trail. During the winter there are pretty good views on each side of the ridge. The map does not show the elevation of this trail, but it is much higher than the lake. This trail is very short, less than one mile, but worth hiking. If there weren’t so many tall trees along this trail, who knows how far you could see.

One of many overlooks along the upper stretch of the Outcroppings Trail.
One of many overlooks at Tishomingo State Park

Natchez Trace Trail

This trail leads under Natchez Trace Parkway and along Bear Creek for about two miles. Eventually, you will arrive at the Swinging Bridge which allows you to cross Bear Creek and find more rock formations. The playground and pool are also in this location. Alternatively, you can drive all the way through the park to reach the Swinging Bridge and Pioneer Cabin. There is a large parking area in this location, as well as a ramp leading into Bear Creek.

Bear Creek Trail

Following this trail will lead you around the inside curve of Bear Creek. It’s a 1.5-mile trail, which can take you to, or from, the family cabins. This trail also crosses spring-fed streams and part of the disc golf course.

Crossing the Swinging Bridge at Tishomingo State Park.
The Swinging Bridge crosses Bear Creek

Outcroppings Trail

This is possibly the best trail at Tishomingo State Park. It loops around many rock formations on the east side of the park. The total distance is only two miles, but this trail is more challenging than the rest. The northern stretch of trail will lead you along rocky overlooks above several waterfalls. The southern stretch runs across streams, along rock walls and provides access to the waterfalls. The many overlooks along this trail reach the tops of some tall trees.

Pro Tip – Along the east side of this loop there is a stream which must be crossed to continue to the next trail (CCC Camp Trail). Due to the lack of trail markings, you may not see this trail unless others are crossing the stream.

Ferns growing on the rocks at Tishomingo State Park.

CCC Camp Trail

This trail also follows the inside of Bear Creek until it turns east. It continues to the CCC Pond and Pioneer Cabin. Like Flat Rock Trail, this trail is also three miles, making them the longest trails in the park. Building foundations of the old CCC Camp still remain along this trail. You will also see a natural spring and the old park entrance. The upper trail leads to the pavilion, and the lower trail leads down nearly 100 steps at the bend in the creek.

CCC Pond Trail

This short trail circles the pond for a distance of less than one mile. You will also see springs, rock formations and wildlife along this trail. From here you can head north toward Haynes Lake, or east toward the Swinging Bridge.

Rocks along the upper portion of the Outcropping Trail loop.

Tishomingo State Park is Dog Friendly

This state park is a great place to go hiking with your dog in Mississippi. It took awhile before we crossed paths with another mutt in Tishomingo, but we did notice a few other dogs on the trails. The total potential hiking distance on the trails is 12 miles or better. Most trails are fairly easy, but there are streams, steps and rocks in certain areas making the trails more difficult. Stick to the lower trails near Bear Creek for a leisurely hike, or take the upper trails for more of a challenge.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have been abusing this wonderful park. We noticed graffiti and carvings on rock faces and trees along Outcroppings Trail. This park must be a casual hangout for teens, or kids sneaking in after hours. Despite hiking on a Saturday afternoon, we did not see another soul along the upper portion of the Outcroppings Trail. However, the rock formations, springs and waterfalls are quite a sight. We will definitely visit Tishomingo State Park again if we are in Mississippi.

Waterfalls can be found at Tishomingo State Park after a rain.
A small waterfall along Outcroppings Trail

The waterfalls inside this park are small and may not be very active if it has been very dry. This may not be the best place to hike with waterfalls, but there are many places around the country with more spectacular falls. Here are a few you can visit:

I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it. We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site. Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly.  I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.

David Earley


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