The Bienville National Forest, comprised of 178,367 acres,
is located in central Mississippi, east of Jackson, MS. There
are four developed campgrounds, two of which meet the selection
About midway between Meridian and Jackson, Mississippi, along Interstate 20, the Bienville National Forest awaits discovery. The Forest Service provided recreational opportunities available within this Forest range from hiking and fishing to horseback riding trails and several camping locations. One developed campground, Marathon, even has electric and water hook-ups at each site and recreational vehicle waste disposal site.
The Marathon Recreation Area is the crown jewel of the Bienville National Forest. Built in the 1950's on the site of the last logging camp of the Marathon Logging Company, the campground was renovated in 1994. Along with installation of electric and water hook-ups at each site, Marathon Lake was improved to encourage a healthy population of fish, including largemouth bass and crappies, for fishing. With good fishing and boating, a beautiful and tranquil locations, and a campground with modern amenities, Marathan Recreation Area is being popular place for a family vacations. But it also offers tent or car camping enthusiasts the solitude and contact with nature they often seek.
The Bienville National Forest's premium Shockaloe Horse Trail winds 23-mile ride through the forest. The trail, open to both horse and hiker, provides the rider with an opportunity to view the landscape and vegetation from a higher perspective than a hiker. The Shockaloe Horse Trail offers an up-close-and-personal view of the Forest Service's 50-plus years of managing the forest and has some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities in the State of Mississippi.
Although the Shockaloe Trail has two developed campgrounds, only one, Shockaloe Base Camp I, qualified to be in this campground review. (Contact the Bienville Ranger District office for Shockaloe Base Camp II information.) Just off US Rt 80, about midway between Morton and Forest, Mississippi, Shockaloe Base Camp I is a where the Horse Trail begins and offers basic amenities for equestrian campers. Its wide sites can accommodate both horse trail and tow vehicle. Unlike the Marathon campground, Shockaloe Base Camp I isn't fancy but to provides campers with a pleasant camping experience.
While in the Forest try to visit the Bienville Pines Scenic Area. This 189-acre tract is the largest known block of old-growth timber in Mississippi. Old-growth forest are a rare and special thing in this part America and well-worth the time of a visit. A two-mile hiking trail meanders past 125 to 200 year old Loblolly and shortleaf pines. Basically left to Mother Nature, this area provides visitor with a view of how nature works to maintain itself.
The Bienville National Forest, with its moderate climate and good campground facilities, has something to offer its visitors year round. Whether you are looking for physical activities, such as horseback riding and hiking, or something less demanding, say watching the sunset and perfecting your marshmallow roasting skills, or perhaps something in between, Bienville National Forest has it to enjoy time and time again.
200 S. Lamar St.
Jackson, Mississippi 39201
RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES
3473 Hwy. 35 South
Forest, Mississippi 39074