U.S. National Forest Campground Guide

Desoto National Forest


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Forest Information

The DeSoto National Forest, located in the southeast corner of Mississippi, is comprised of over 500,000 acres. There are ten developed campgrounds, four of which meet our selection criteria.

The largest of the six National Forests in Mississippi, DeSoto National Forest offers a wide array of diverse recreational opportunities and camping locations. Camping locations vary from open piney woods to the lush dense vegetation of the Black Creek Wilderness. From horseback riding to hiking, fishing to canoeing, wildlife viewing to mountain biking, the variety of recreational activities make DeSoto National Forest a good place for both a family or personal camping vacation.

The Gavin Auto Trail provides the visitor with a living history of the Forest. Its history began during the days when lumber was "king" to the reforestation efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) through today where agriculture, recreation, and timber are components of the area's economy. A visit to the P.O.W. campground, site of a WWII German P.O.W. compound, or some of the CCC constructed buildings also provide insight to the area and our country's history.

Turkey Fork Recreation Area's campground, in the Chickasawhay Ranger District, offers good fishing, a wide variety of water play in the 250 acres Turkey Fork Lake, and water and electric hook-ups. Popular with recreational vehicle (RV) and motor home camping enthusiasts, Turkey Fork campground is building a following with car and tent campers. An interesting by-product of the Forest Service's efforts to improve the fish habitat in Turkey Fork Lake is it has attracted more wading birds to the area.

The southern section of the DeSoto, which is closer to the Gulf of Mexico and large population centers, gets a greater number of visitors. Big Biloxi campground, with its water and electric hook-ups, flush toilets and hot showers, and access to the Gulf Coast, attracts the greatest number of campers. However, Cypress Creek Landing campground is well-suited for the adventurous who did not have to have all those comforts and want a great canoe trip. For those who prefer experiencing a forest from the back of a horse, there is Long Leaf Horse Trail campground. Considered rustic, this campground features three super trails which are used by hikers, equestrians, mountain bike enthusiasts and folks called "Ultra-runners."

The DeSoto National Forest may not be well-known beyond the state's boundary but that could change as more and more people discover all the Forest has to offer. The DeSoto National Forest is making a concerted effort to preserve not only the Forest's natural resources but retain examples of human history. These efforts balance and enhance the experience of visiting the Forest. The diversity of recreational opportunities and camping locations make DeSoto National Forest an interesting place to visit.

SUPERVISOR ADDRESS Suite 500-N 200 S. Lamar St. Jackson, Mississippi 39201 601-965-1600 RANGER DISTRICT ADDRESSES Chickasawhay 968 Highway 15 South Laurel, Mississippi 39443 601-428-0594 DeSoto 654 West Frontage Rd. P.O.B. 248 Wiggins, Mississippi 39577 601-928-4422

Fred and Suzi Dow