Tishomingo State Park, located right on the Natchez Trace in northeastern Mississippi, is renowned for its stunning geological formations and its rich plant communities. Much of Tishomingo sits on uplands that offer spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The 1,530 acres of this scenic park, which cut across diverse topography, is a boon to both nature lovers and history buffs. The park was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the Great Depression era. But the area's history stretches back far longer - the region was home to the Paleo-Indians at least 7,000 years ago.
Tishomingo State Park is a big draw for birders. It hosts a great diversity of avifauna, including several dozen species of warblers and vireos, plus many types of waterfowl. Hiking, rock-climbing, paddling, and fishing are all popular in the park too. Avid golfers should take advantage of access to beautiful nearby courses, including Chickasaw Trail, Warrior Ridge, and Tushka. Nature and history buffs can take in some of the beautiful exhibits at the park's nature center, which boasts not only to wildlife and ecological displays but is also home to a wide variety of native artifacts.
Tishomingo has a lake-side RV camping area with over 60 sites, plus several rental cabins and a rental cottage. The park is a destination in its own right, but it's also a great stopover spot for those traveling to Bankhead or Holly Springs National Forests in Alabama and Mississippi, respectively.
Tishomingo State Park is located right on the Natchez Trace Parkway, a scenic road linking Natchez, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee. Once you get off the parkway, you'll be on park roads. These roads are narrow with low lying limb trees posing a challenge for big rigs. Most of the interior roads are paved, with few dirt roads near the rustic cabins and Curb Creek Trail that can get muddy during the rainy season.
All spots at Tishomingo's main RV campground are back-in. However, as long as you're below the park's listed length limit (40 feet for most sites, slightly less for others), you should have no problems. Parking at the campground will give you easy access to several trails and Tishomingo Lake. There is also a big parking lot at the southern end of the park near the CCC lodge and the swinging bridge.
Tishomingo State Park features a pet-friendly campground, centered on Haynes Lake, that's suitable for RVs, tents, and trailers. In total, the campground sports 62 RV sites, which offer water and electric hookups and can accommodate a vehicle up to 40 feet long. Other campsites amenities include grills, a dump station, picnic tables, two well-maintained shower houses, and modern restrooms.
Visitors should note that there is no Wi-Fi here, and cell coverage in Tishomingo State Park is poor. Though there's no supply store within the park, you can take a quick drive to Luka, approximately 14 miles away, or to Tupelo, 45 miles away, for your shopping needs and laundry services.
Campsites can be reserved for up to two years in advance, and booking before you arrive is highly recommended during the busy peak season.
If you did not book a site in advance, you might still be in luck. If any spots are open, they become available for same-day arrival on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are still recommended, though!
If you're looking to rough it and sleep out under the stars, Tishomingo also offers 17 lovely primitive, walk-in campsites. Though the spots are located near the main campground, offering easy access to restrooms and showers, they offer some extra quietude. Several sites are located right by the lakeshore.
There are no electric or water hookups, though each site does have a fire ring, picnic table, and grill. Reservations are not taken for Tishomingo's walk-in sites - they're all first-come, first-served (and though there are fewer of them, they rarely fill up like the RV spots do).
The state park also boasts six rustic cabins, all of which can be rented. Amenities include furnished beds and bathrooms, kitchens with a few basic supplies and appliances (including oven, microwave, and coffee maker), heat and AC, and a cozy fireplace.
Charming on the inside, these woodsy abodes are set in a beautiful spot. Located at the far southern end of the park, well away from the main campground, the secluded cabins sit atop a small ridge and offer great views of the valley that dips into Bear Creek below. Oaks, hickories, and pines offer shade and a flush of color during autumn. Screened-in porches let visitors enjoy warm summer evenings without having to contend with any bugs.
One of the six cabins is ADA-accessible, and each accommodates up to four guests. Reservations for the park's cabins can be made over the same website as for normal campsites. Bookings can be made up to two years in advance.
If you're looking for a few extra creature comforts, you can upgrade from a cabin or RV to a cottage. Tishomingo's cottage is a bit roomier than it's cabins, and it offers a more modern interior and a few additional furnishings.
Like the cabins, the cottage is set far from the main campground, at the southern end of the park. From here, you're just a quick, quiet stroll away from the Tishomingo Lodge or the Swinging Bridge. The cottage is ADA-accessible and also sleeps up to four. Reservations can be made through the same online portal as the cabins and campsites.
If you're planning a big get-together or event, you may want to check out Tishomingo's group camping option. This is NOT a big, primitive campsite. The park's group camping facilities include a dining hall (which can double as a meeting hall) and six cabins, plus four additional huts. Sleeping quarters have unfurnished bunk beds and air-conditioning. In total, the park can host up to 108 campers here. Reservations must be made by calling the park office directly.
If you're traveling with a big group, you may want to consider booking one of Tishomingo's three lovely picnic pavilions. Situated in a small patch of pine woods near the CCC lodge and the swinging bridge, the picnic areas have grills, fireplaces water spigots, and tables suitable for day use visitors as well as campers. If you don't need a big shelter, there are plenty of picnic tables scattered throughout the park.
Lying in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Tishomingo State Park is one of the only places in Mississippi that offers great rock-climbing. If you wish to climb on these ancient rocks, a free permit from the parks office is required. In addition, climbers must bring their own helmets and climbing gear.
The unique outcroppings winding throughout the area are the centerpiece of Tishomingo State Park, presenting great photographic opportunities and a wonderfully scenic place to go climbing. A guide to rock climbing within the park can be purchased at the park's office.
Tishomingo State Park has seven nature trails running across its diverse landscape. At approximately 13 miles, the trails run through and along creeks, valleys, natural springs, cliffs, massive rock formations, and bridges. Almost all trails here offer beautiful views of Bear Creek Canyon, which is a prime attraction within the park. Mostly known for its diverse plant life, including its unique fern populations, Tishomingo State Park is every nature lover's dream.
Trails here range from easy to strenuous, so there's something for everyone. The 3.5-mile Bear Creek Outcropping Trail is a popular route offering views of several fascinating rock formations and a waterfall. The beginning of the trail has one of the park's main attractions, a 200-foot swinging bridge built in 1939, that crosses Bear Creek and gives great views of the surrounding hardwood forest. There is so much to explore when you take an RV road trip to Tishomingo State Park!
Though lake swimming is not permitted, Tishomingo State Park has a swimming pool that is open during peak season. Mississippi summers get notoriously hot and muggy, and taking a dip in the pool can be a great way to beat the heat. There's a small swimming fee (separate from park and camping fees) to use the pool. The park does not have any lifeguard services, so, visitors are required to keep watch on their children.
Tishomingo State Park's 6.5-mile canoe trail offers a paddling experience like no other. Visitors will wind through a gorgeous, bluff-lined canyon as they make their way up to Bear Creek. The forest is lush during the summer, and there are plenty of opportunities to see riparian wildlife.
Trips are run by the park (for a fee), with gear and boats being provided. The tour begins near the swinging bridge area at the southern end of the park. Tour spots must be reserved, and the park recommends doing so well in advance. This trip is, understandably, quite popular.
The 45-acre Tishomingo Lake sits at the heart of Tishomingo State Park, right near the main campground. Given the lake's beautiful setting and well-stocked waters, it's not surprising to see why it draws anglers from far and wide. From veteran anglers to inexperienced fishermen and kids, RV visitors of all ages will all love spending an evening at Lake Haynes catching dinner. Catfish, bream, and bass are the most common species here
The park has a boat launch for easy access to the lake, but there are also plenty of great places to cast from the shore. Wherever you decide to fish from, make sure you have a valid Mississippi state fishing license. If you don't get yours online, licenses are also available for purchase at the park.