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Sample a portion of the Tuxachanie Trail on this 14-mile out-and-back that rolls through De Soto National Forest, passing stands of longleaf pines and bottomland hardwoods. From the parking area, follow the Tuxachanie Trail along the northern shore of Airey Lake. The trail snakes to the southeast for the first 0.8 mile before it rounds to the east along Tuxachanie Creek. On blue sky days, sunlight bathes the longleaf pine forest in a golden glow. After 3.2 miles, the path skirts a duck pond and bends to the east. One mile later, it travels past a picnic table shaded by pines (a good spot to take a break). Keep your eyes peeled for red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks soaring overhead. At mile 5.6, cross Tuxachanie Creek and wind through forest damaged by Hurricane Katrina—you’ll catch occasional views of Tuxachanie Creek’s dark green waters. Seven miles into the hike, drop your pack and relax by a fish-filled lake ringed by pines. Return to the trailhead following the same route.
Information: Trails of the De Soto National Forest
-Mapped by Marcus Woolf
- Distance: 22.5
Location: 30.6890483, -89.0610874
From the parking area, follow Tuxachanie Trail (marked with white diamond blazes) along the northern shore of 3-acre Airey Lake. The trail winds past longleaf pines, which were once abundant in the South, but are now rare due to 150 years of logging.
Location: 30.6860589, -89.0545535
Turn right and head south. In 800 feet, the trail passes Copeland Spring (named for James Copeland, the outlaw leader of the Copeland Clan).
Location: 30.6855515, -89.0525794
The route curves to the southeast and continues its descent.
Location: 30.6852101, -89.0471613
Continue straight @ 4-way junction with Jeep road, traveling southeast.
Location: 30.6855145, -89.0370333
Tuxachanie Creek flows near the trail. The forest on the right transitions from pines to dense bottomland hardwoods, including cypress and beech.
Location: 30.6814086, -89.030478
On blue sky days, sunlight bathes the longleaf pine forest (thinned by controlled burns) in a golden glow. The longleaf’s thin and limbless trunks (topped with green plumes) spread out across the rolling terrain.
Location: 30.674525, -89.0271628
Here, the trail skirts a duck pond and then bends to the east.
Location: 30.6744881, -89.0257788
Enter a clearing and turn left @ T-junction.
Location: 30.675233, -89.024768
Bear right @ Y-junction. In 375 feet, the path rounds to the south.
Location: 30.6684161, -89.020983
Bear right @ Y-junction and hike south, following white diamond blazes. (The horse trail on the left is marked with green arrows on white diamonds.)
Location: 30.666361, -89.020599
A good rest spot: Pines shade this small clearing and picnic table. Keep your eyes peeled for red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks soaring overhead.
Location: 30.6533453, -89.0065742
Cross Tuxachanie Creek and wind through forest damaged by Hurricane Katrina. You’ll catch occasional views of Tuxachanie Creek’s dark green waters.
Location: 30.641564, -89.002549
Bear right @ Y-junction and travel southwest.
Location: 30.638986, -89.0037
Drop your packs at the fish-filled lake ringed by pines. (This area was once a World War II POW camp.) Relax on the grassy banks before retracing your steps to the trailhead.
Location: 30.6389644, -89.0035915
Location: 30.6857544, -89.0348554