Tishomingo State Park offers scenic beauty
Published 9:10 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023
By James L. Cummins
When you think of places to visit in Mississippi, your first thoughts might drift to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. While the Coast offers its own variety of entertainment, it is rivaled by the unique, picturesque, and rugged terrain of Tishomingo State Park.
The Park is located northeast of Tupelo, approximately 2 miles south of the town of Tishomingo off Highway 25. The infamous highway of the 1800s, the Natchez Trace Parkway, runs directly through the park (mile marker 304).
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This 1,530-acre park was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and named after a Chickasaw Indian chief. Officially opened in May 1939, this was the fifth state park opened in Mississippi under legislation passed during the depression years.
Historians take great pleasure in exploring the area known as the last home of a large band of the Chickasaw Nation before they were exiled to Oklahoma. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Tishomingo State Park contains rock formations dating to the Devonian and Mississippian epochs of the Paleozoic era.
It is believed that the Paleo‑Indians cherished the area as a source for foodstuffs and materials for tool‑making and ceramic creation. There is still some evidence of their time in the area, such as the stone fish weirs that occasionally jut from the creek banks. These ancient structures, built by the Chickasaws, were once used to funnel fish into slatted baskets.
Tishomingo State Park is packed with things to please every curiosity. For the geologist, there are the massive rock outcroppings. These rock formations are unlike any other in the state of Mississippi. These formations also provide hours of interesting endeavors for rock climbing and bouldering enthusiasts.
To biologists, the plant and animal life of Tishomingo State Park is simply fascinating to observe and varies tremendously. There are several species of plants found within the park that are rarely found outside of Tishomingo County, Mississippi. Regular observatory trips are made to the park in the spring, summer and fall in search of more than 600 species of ferns and wildflowers found in the park.
There are also 13 miles of trails found throughout the park that are bordered by wildflowers and offer glorious views of canyons overflowing with ferns and rocky bridges. These are trails that were formed and traveled by Native American Indians.
It is the recreationist that mostly frequents this Mississippi treasure. Other activities and accommodations at the park include an all-purpose ball field, disc golf, fishing, bird watching, canoe rentals, and cabins that can be rented for extended stays. Mississippi generally enjoys temperate climates with cool winters and warm, humid summers.
So, no matter what time of year you choose to visit, or whether you long to relax while enjoying the outdoors or prefer to be actively enjoying it, you will find peaceful, scenic beauty and outdoor fun 12 months a year at Tishomingo State Park.
James L. Cummins is executive director of Wildlife Mississippi, a nonprofit, conservation organization founded to conserve, restore, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plant resources throughout Mississippi. Its web site is www.wildlifemiss.org.