Clark Creek Natural Area
There are not many places in the South Louisiana and Mississippi regions that you can go to find waterfalls, hills, and clear water. So I was surprised when I first heard about Tunica Falls and even more surprised when I found out it is only 2 hours outside of New Orleans. Tunica Falls is located inside the Clark Creek Natural Area, north of St. Francisville. The names Tunica Falls and Clark Creek are often used interchangeably. Clark Creek natural area is over 700 acres and is full of over 50 waterfalls. Check out a quick video we put together from the trip below.
The trailhead is along Fort Adams Road in Woodville, Mississippi. Get to the trailhead early so you can beat the heat and the crowds. We arrived around 8:00 am and there were only two cars already there. By the time we finished the hike and got back to the car, there were at least 30 cars parked along the side of the road. It costs $4 per car to enter the natural area. There is an honor box with envelopes at the trailhead.
Clark Creek has a 1.78 mile improved trail and a primitive trail that continues on for an additional 2.6 miles. The improved trail is wide with a gravel base for most sections. There are some steep hills and the improved section has built in wooden staircases to help with the climb. Hiking the improved trail will bring you to four of the natural area’s waterfalls. By continuing on the primitive trail you can reach four more waterfalls. You can find a pretty good map of the trail system Here.
Keep an eye out for wildlife as you walk through the mixed hardwood and pine tree forest. There’s a good chance you will come across deer, chipmunks, and many bird species. If you are lucky, you might even spot an elusive Mississippi black bear. It’s estimated that there are only 50 black bears in the entire state though, so running into one would be extremely rare. Read about black bears in Mississippi Here.
Make sure you take plenty of water on the hike, especially during the hot summer months. Clark Creek is definitely one of the best outdoor hiking areas near New Orleans and is a great alternative to the area’s characteristic cypress forests. Let us know how your trip goes in the comments below!