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Off-Roading in the Magnolia State

By: Billy Bonner
South Mississippi ATV Association
Photos by: Rodney Fagan

Trace State Park is located 9 miles west of Tupelo, Mississippi. The park has over 30 miles of multi-use trails that are designated for ORVs, horses, mountain bikes, and hikers. These trails include numerous challenging hills and valleys or easily maneuverable trails that are labeled and numbered. The park includes 52 developed camp sites, 10 primitive camp sites, and 6 vacation cabins all with a beautiful view of the lake. Laundry facilities and public restrooms equipped with showers are available throughout the park for after those muddy trail rides. So if you ever decide to visit the beautiful state of Mississippi, bring your ORVs, horses, or just your hiking boots and stay at Trace State Park. If you arrive after hours, that is no problem. They have a night time “honor box” located at the front gate. Trace State Park is open year round except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. Helmets are required. Riding double is prohibited unless the ORV is rated by the manufacturer for passengers.

Trace State Park has a beautiful 600 acre lake that is perfect for boating, fishing, and skiing. Don’t forget about checking out the area attractions during you visit. The Natchez Trace Parkway, The Elvis Presley Birthplace, The William Faulkner Birthplace, and other museums and historic battlefields are just minutes from the park.

Some friends and I recently visited Trace State Park in February of 2006. Before our departure, we heard some crazy rumors about a severe winter front pushing its way through the Tupelo area that weekend. When we arrived late Friday night, it was definitely cool but not real cold. Temperatures were in the low 40°s or even the upper 30°s. Just as we thought, crazy rumors! By the next morning, everything was iced over. The thermometer was reading a little below 20°. To us in the Southeast U.S., that’s doggone cold. We came to ride. So we grabbed a hair dryer, thawed out the ignitions on our ATVs, unloaded, and hit the trails. I guess we were the only four wheeling idiots there that weekend because we had the trails to ourselves. I can’t lie to you. It was freezing! I had to keep my goggles on because of the occasional sleet and snow flurries. After a little riding, we were having so much fun that my friends and I did not realize how cold it really was. With the low temperatures, the wildlife was very active. It seemed that every time we turned a corner or topped a hill, deer were crossing the trails. There were a lot of great “kodak” moments. As far as the trails go, they were well maintained and simply a blast to ride. The park staff was very friendly to us throughout the weekend. Needless to say, I was very impressed. I would highly recommend visiting Trace State Park. Come on down to the Magnolia State and enjoy some southern hospitality and great off road trails. Visit them online at www.mdwfp.com/parkView/parks.asp?ID=1818


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