I really wish I knew where to start with this post about Clark Creek Falls (really more about the Clark Creek Natural Area as a whole). I guess it’s now my goal to visit waterfalls in all 50 states (and throughout the world). Mississippi does have a few waterfalls, and one of the best options for finding waterfalls there is Clark Creek Natural Area. One site advertises there are 50+ waterfalls in the park, and that might not actually be wrong…
Now I ended up only visiting seeing three waterfalls in the park, though if you choose the right path, you should be able to see more in a quicker fashion. This is really a tale about choosing the more difficult path, and coming to really regretting it!
The sign at the beginning of the primitive trail warns that it’s not for the faint of heart (literally). I’ve done pretty intense hikes, though, so I figured I could do it. Well, I did, though it ended up being one of the most difficult hikes I’ve been on in a while. I should have turned back after reaching the first waterfall on this path, the waterfall featured here. The hike was uphill and downhill up to this point, and it was mostly clay. Well, it had rained just the day before, which is great for ensuring you see waterfalls, but makes it extremely difficult to climb up clay pathways. I really need some kind of metal spikes to get a good footing. By the end, I had probably slipped 5 or 6 times, though at other points, I had used it to my advantage.
To even get to the crest of this waterfall, you have to almost climb down a clay “staircase”, which has been formed by previous hikers…and it’s not easy. There were some tree branches which helped along the way. After that, you have to ford a stream, this one not particularly deep. With this waterfall, you can at least get a pretty good view of the waterfall after crossing the stream, if I remember correctly. Later falls require more effort.
If you want to see what the primitive trail is but not suffer more, I would go up to this waterfall, which is designated as the 3rd waterfall on the trail map, and then turn back. It just continues its strenuous torture from there. It’s all uphill and downhill along clay trails (even though I swear if they had chosen a different path, everyone could have avoided this up-and-down craziness). You will probably cross different streams four or five times. At two different points, the stream is the trail.
So let me say this…They use a white blaze (sometimes yellow) system to help you follow the primitive trail, and 80% of the time, it works REALLY well. It’s the other 20% of the time that it is just horrible! For example, when the stream was the trail, there weren’t enough white blazes, so I wasn’t sure if I was on the right path! In another case, they decided to use red blazes to indicate the trail I needed to follow, even though there was a white blaze on the other side of the river. I ended up wasting a good 20 minutes climbing up and down a hill before deciding to try and see what was after the red paint. I’m not really sure what to suggest to help you along your way. There is a map you can print off, but it doesn’t necessarily help in certain situations.
Now, you can avoid all of this torture and instead decide to hike a simpler, “Clark Creek/Waterfall Trail.” In retrospect, I would have totally done that instead, and in the future, I might go back and do that. I was so amazingly worn out by the time I reached the trail that led to those falls that I actually skipped those falls. I thought my legs might actually give out, as they had literally (and that is the correct word) been stretched to their limit. I was wet, slightly cold, and plain worn out. I’ll never forget it, though!
1) From US-61 near Woodville, MS, turn right onto Main Street heading to East Monroe/Pinckneyville Road.
2) Turn left onto Monroe/Pinckneyville Road driving west to Fort Adams Rd.
3) Turn right onto Fort Adams Pond Road. Drive to the parking area for Clark Creek Natural Area, which will be on your left. (You can type in the address 366 Fort Adam Pond Road, Woodville, MS, 39669 to get you there using GPS.)
4) Pay the $4 entrance fee, and then start your hike. There is a 0.4 mile connector hike to both the Clark Creek/Waterfall Trail and the primitive trail. From there, you need to decide what you can handle.
Accessibility: 7/10 (if you use just the waterfall trail), 1/10 (primitive trail)
Distance of Hike: 2.5 miles round-trip (for Clark Creek/Waterfall Trail), 4.3 miles round-trip (for primitive trail looping into Clark Creek/Waterfall Trail)
Where in the World is Clark Creek Falls #3?: map