Trace State Park

Trace State Park is located in northeast Mississippi between Pontotoc and Tupelo. The main feature of the park is a lake, which is as of spring 2019 mostly drained because the dam has been collapsing. It is unclear when or if it will be repaired. The main lake (Old Natchez Trace Lake) still contains some water, but is mostly inaccessible, but a smaller upper lake remains full.

The upper lake near the park entrance

The park has an extensive network of trails, a good portion of which are heavily used by ATVs and horses. However, there are three trails developed for mountain bikes that are also open to hiking (and ATVs and horses are prohibited). The Moroney Trail is a 6.5-mile loop, the Nester Trail is a 4.5-mile loop, and Baker's Trail is a 3.0-mile loop.

There are three entrances to Baker's Trail, two nondescript trailheads along the park road and one in the campground. Unless you're staying the campground you need to park along the road to hike this trail. About half of this trail traverses some small hills and upland areas, while the other half is flat and goes through forest along what would be the lakeshore, but is currently dry land undergoing ecological succession.

Map of the three mountain bike/hiking trails

The Nester Trail starts at the park entrance and has a proper parking area. The trail is meant to be hiked/biked counterclockwise and much of the first half follows the road along the park boundary fairly closely. There is not much to see from this trail until you reach the southern end, where (if the gate is open) you can walk out onto the dam for the lower lake (although there were a couple of small ponds in the forest along the way). Some of the return trip passes closer to the lake (or what would be the lake).

Nester Trail

I didn't hike the Moroney Trail, but neither of the trails I did hike are particularly interesting, and like most mountain bike trails in the region, the are fairly circuitous. Both are mostly forest with a few small hills and a couple places where you can see the lake.

Dry lake along Baker's Trail

Baker's Trail

There are more photos of this trip in this album.

My recordings of the hikes are on AllTrails:
Baker Trail
Nester Trail

© Copyright 2007–2019 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.


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