DESOTO NATIONAL FOREST
The De Soto is characterized by gently rolling terrain covered by southern pine ridges and hardwood bottoms with clear, tea-colored streams meandering throughout the forest.
At 378,538 acres, the De Soto Ranger District is the largest district in Mississippi and is within easy driving distance of the coastal areas and Hattiesburg. Year-round recreation opportunities abound for the hiker, bicyclist, camper, canoeist, ATV rider, horse enthusiast, hunter and fisherman. Vast expanses of national forest lands are perfect settings for bird watching and rejuvenating the spirit. There are picnic facilities, group shelters, and scenic surroundings for church socials, organizational events, and family reunions.
Visitors who seek solitude will be able to find it within one of the De Soto's two wilderness areas, the Black Creek or Leaf. Black Creek, Mississippi's only National Scenic River, is famous for its wide, white sandbars and relaxed floating pace. 170 miles of trails on the De Soto are available for hikers, ATV riders, mountain bike riders, and horse riders. Black Creek Trail and the Tuxachanie Trail, two National Recreation Trails located on the De Soto Ranger District, offer over 60 miles for hikers to explore the piney woods. Other trails on the De Soto include Bethel and Rattlesnake Bay ATV trails, Big Foot horse trail, Leaf hiking trail, and Bethel bicycle trail.
The nature observer may delight in experiencing the varied ecosystems found on the De Soto, from dry, sandy longleaf pine/scrub oak ridges to frequently flooded tupelo/bald cypress swamps, and from the steep upland hardwood forest of Ragland Hills to the vast pitcher plant savanna at Buttercup Flats.