Take A Hike or The Attraction That Could Be
We’ve overlooked Mississippi. It always seemed that there were much more interesting or attractive places to visit and the truth is we focused much of our travel itineraries on international destinations. Our attention was initially drawn to Mississippi by a show on HGTV called Home Town and recently we decided to spend some time exploring the state.
Before heading out we were looking for hiking opportunities and discovered a place called Red Bluffs and it sounded interesting. A red clay canyon eroded through the rollings hills of south-central Mississippi.
After spending some time in Hattiesburg we headed off one morning to spend a day exploring Red Bluffs. It’s about 45 miles west of Hattiesburg and it isn’t an easy place to locate. The car’s GPS had no idea, while navigation on an iPhone located the route to the canyon. After almost an hour of driving Mississippi’s rural roads the phone indicated that we should make the next right. Two hundred feet down that road there was a sign indicating the road was washed out.
Welcome to Red Bluffs. When we pulled up on the dirt near the end of the road there were just two men there flying a drone. In talking we learned that this was the first time they had been back in ten years and what remained of the road now was some blacktop caps on red-orange spires going off across the “canyon”. The area is beautiful but it s not a park or a protected area but is private land. The end of the road is just a drop off of a couple of hundred feet with some piles of dirt on the road to keep cars from driving over the cliff.
We walked a trail along the canyon rim off to the left and it descended sharply and ended in about a hundred yards or so. The end is a point in the woods with steep drop-offs on three sides. Along the trail there were a couple of steep eroded gullies with one having a rope tied to a tree for the adventurous to use to get down into the canyon. Climbing back up we tried a trail heading off in the opposite direction but it also ended in the woods with a very steep slope dropping into the canyon.
Back at the car we chatted with the men flying the drone and they explained that the eroded walls of Red Bluffs ended in both directions in about five hundred yards or so and that the canyon was only about a hundred yards wide.
The Red Bluffs are beautiful and seem to represent a lost opportunity. Developing some hiking trails in the canyon, providing a parking area and maybe a concession could actually regularly attract a number hikers but we doubt that that is likely to happen anytime soon.
All in all not what we intended to do that day…