Beginning in Hattiesburg Mississippi it is one of the countries longest hiking and biking trails. Originating in downtown Hattiesburg it runs past the beautiful campus of the University of Southern Mississippi and on for almost 45 well maintained miles.
The Longleaf Trace was completed as a Rails-to-Trails conservancy project in 2000, making use of a portion of an abandoned line of the Mississippi Central Railroad. Once a bustling line through the Pine Belt region of Mississippi, it serviced the flourishing timber industry at the turn of the last century through the 1920’s. By the 1970’s a number of railroads once in service were no longer necessary, and the Illinois Central line of the Mississippi Central Railroad was abandoned.
A group of Mississippi locals took up the project for the preservation of the old railroad right of way to make certain that the remarkable asset was preserved. Work began to pave the path for a new purpose as a pedestrian, equestrian, and bicycle trail for residents and visitors to enjoy. In the early 1990’s work began to remove the tracks between Prentiss and Hattiesburg, paving the way for today’s trail. Beginning at the gateway in Hattiesburg near The University of Southern Mississippi, the Longleaf Trace traverses through five communities for over 44 miles of nature-filled fun and challenge!