Hiking The South Loop Bethel Trail
The 2nd most popular hiking trail in Mississippi.
Tuesday 2 August 2016 01:55 GMT
Near Wigginshe 30 mile South Loop Bethel Trail is a relatively flat hiking trail shared by hikers and bikers and it passes a lot of swamp and the tread is a bit sandy.
To reach the trailhead from Biloxi and I-10: From Exit 46 on I-10 north of Biloxi, take old Hwy 67 north for 2 miles then a right onto Hwy 15 north for about 8 or 10 miles. Watch for a set of yellow caution arrows on the right side of the road; about a half mile past these, there is a dirt road on the left with a USFS bike trail sign. The trailhead is about 2 miles up this road, on the left. If you go under the power lines, you’ve gone too far.
Briar Patch Extremely twisty singletrack through pines and brush. Fun, and a good test of handling skills at speed, but beginners can easily ride it too. Starts at the Trailhead, loops under the power lines twice, twists like crazy, and ends where it links into Badlands, where the trail crosses the Couch Trail jeep road. The one intersection where Turtle Back Trail begins is well marked. Just follow the arrows to stay on Briar Patch. 2.7 miles.
Twisty and scenic singetrack along river bottom. Begins with doubletrack from the trailhead; take the heavily traveled left branch after the first dirt mound. Crosses where Badlands links with Briar patch, tuns to singletrack after second mud hole and a short climb. The trail forks, but take the right branch; the left branch is an old cut-off. Trail follows Tuxachanie Creek southeast for about a mile, turns back toward road to avoid a swamp, follows an old jeep trail briefly, then turns back down to the creek again. Trail finishes with a steep ravine climb to a small clearing. Stop and breathe then head back down, or continue on to Badlands. Although moderately technical in spots, beginners can push their bikes to finish this short trail. Great river views and some sandbanks and bluffs. Entirely shaded, this is a good ride to save for the end of a hot day. 3 miles.
Starts deep in the Briar Patch and twists northwest along Tuxachanie Creek before reaching a turn-around point at Carr Bridge Road. Just some amazing creek trail riding with spectacular views, all under shady tree cover. Tight and gnarly, if you like Couch Trail, you¹ll LOVE Turtle Back! 3 miles each way, out and back.
Starts with the jeep road where Couch Trail ends. Follow the orange arrow signs up the hill, left at the next jeep road, and down into a grassy clearcut, over the "Yellow Brick Road" -- a row of waffle blocks through a pitcher plant swamp. Soon afterward, the trail forks: to the right is the Bailout Trail, that can take you back to Road 426 and the trailhead if you¹ve had enough, or to the left, Badlands continues for about 4 more miles of fun. This part of Badlands begins with fast runs through gently sloped pine forest for several miles. The Twin Bridges are a chance to pick up speed and ride a moderately technical set of swoops down to a creek bottom. From there, the trail becomes increasingly tight until it ends at the Couch Trail jeep road and turns into the Briar Patch. 5.3 miles.
Fast and twisty singletrack through dense pine forest and brush. Some moguls, log hops, and rut-crossings, but mostly non-technical. Links into Pine Lizard Trail on the other side of Road 426 to form the North Loop. 3.4 miles.
Similar to South Bethel, this trail is on the east side of Road 426 and links back southward to the Trailhead. 2.3 miles to the Trailhead, with a 1.1 mile extension ("South Lizard") that can take you farther south to the Bailout Trail down near Highway 15.
In addition to the trails themselves, riders frequently link things together into these loops:
South Loop The Couch, Badlands, and optionally Briar Patch. 11 miles.
North Loop South Bethel and Pine Lizard trails. 5.7 miles.
Overall, South Loop Bethel Trail is the 2nd most popular hiking trail of all 10 hikes in Mississippi. Several of the better hiking trails are nearby South Loop Bethel Trail including Black Creek Trail, Longleaf Horse Trail System and Tuxachanie Trail.