Where is Tishomingo State Park?
GPS: 34.60509, -88.19032
Tishomingo State Park lies in the northeastern corner of Mississippi, in a convenient region that is around 45 minutes south of the Tennessee border and just 15 minutes west of Alabama. The park is approximately 45 miles northeast of the city of Tupelo, Mississippi, which makes Tishomingo State Park easily accessible for a large portion of the southeastern population. This park is also less than 20 minutes from Crows Neck Recreation and Environmental Center on Bay Springs Lake.
How Big is Tishomingo State Park?
Tishomingo US State Park encompasses an area of 1,530 acres, or 6.2 square kilometers. At an elevation of 515 feet above sea level, this state park falls in Tishomingo County at the foothills of the sprawling Appalachian Mountains. The park surrounds Haynes Lake, a 45-acre manmade creation where visitors can fish for bluegill, catfish, or largemouth bass. In addition to the lake, there is also the six-mile Bear Creek where people can paddle, as well as 13 miles of hiking available.
Tishomingo State Park Weather
Weather in the park can fluctuate greatly depending on the time of year. In spring, temperatures are warm but tolerable, with April lows averaging 45 degrees and highs averaging a pleasant 72, which makes for great hiking weather. The lowest temperatures the area usually sees are in the upper 20s, just below freezing. January makes for the coldest month, but winters yield virtually no snow, averaging less than two inches per year.
Typically, the hottest year of the month is August, which sees temperatures climb into the 90s, so if you choose to visit the park during the summer months, you will want to make sure you are adequately prepared for the heat. Summer also presents better possibilities for sighting armadillos, which are most active in the warmer months both early in the day and at dusk.
When Did Tishomingo Become a State Park?
The Civilian Conservation Corps began constructing the park in the early 1930s, and by 1939, Tishomingo had officially opened to the public. The Corps was comprised of young men who needed jobs to support their families during the Great Depression. The name of the park honors Chief Tishu Miko, a Chickasaw leader who served in the United States military.
Things to Do in Tishomingo State Park
Vacation Cabins and Cottage
The park offers six cabins for overnight visitors. Cabins are equipped with basics such as heating, air conditioning, cooking utensils, and bed linens. They also feature fireplaces, and some include screened porches. The cottage and Cabin 5 are both accessible to people who are handicapped. Our State Park Visitors Guide strongly recommends reservations and can be made up to two years in advance.
RV Campground and Tent Camping
The park offers 61 campsites for both tent camping and RV camping, all around Haynes Lake. Peak camping times range from May 15 – August 15. Reservations for camping must be made at least two days in advance. The sites are equipped with amenities such as picnic tables, potable water, grills, and electrical hook-ups. An RV dump station is located within the park just off the main campground road
First Day Hike
Tishomingo State Park participates in America’s State Parks First Day Hike each January 1. This event is intended to encourage the public to start their year off with a hike in the fresh air rather than indoors. Check directly with the park for information about special day-of events like snacks and beverages.
Fall Fling for the Young-at-Heart
This annual event is intended for senior citizens and provides entertainment in the form of music, food, and senior-related resources like healthcare information and health screenings. The event also hosts vendors who sell handmade items to visitors.
Climbers can obtain permits from the park office to climb the many bluffs and rock outcropping that distinguish the park from others in Mississippi. Come equipped with your own gear (including a helmet) and remember to practice climbing safety rules. You can find guides for your climbs at the main office.
Tishomingo State Park offers seven distinct trails that make up a total of around 13 miles of hiking opportunities. The trails are marked as easy and moderate, so most people will find them manageable without issue. The longest trails are each three miles and include the Flat Rock Trail and the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Trail.
This 45-acre freshwater lake is great for fishing for bass, bream, and catfish. Fishing license are required for all fishers between the ages of 16 and 65. Bear in mind that the water level in the lake is dependent on rainfall, as recent studies have shown water is leaving the lake through fractures in the lake bed.
There are three 18-hole disc golf courses available in the area: Chickasaw Trail, Warrior Ridge, and Tushka Run. All of these courses are free to use (although the main park entrance fee is required as it is for all visitors), and rental equipment (including score cards) is available at the park office. The courses are open year-round. There are occasional tournaments offered through the Southern National Disc Golf Association.
Bear Creek Canoe Float Trip
From the middle of April through the middle of October, visitors can participate in a daily 6.25-mile canoe float trip down Bear Creek. There is a $40 associated fee and while reservations are not required, they are recommended. The park provides everything that you will need for your trip, including the canoe and life jackets. The creek contains Class 1 rapids, which are suitable for all ages.
Swimming Pool – A swimming pool is open to the public and offers a great way to cool off in the summer sun after a long hike on one of Tishomingo State Park trails. The pool is 75 feet by 45 feet and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Visitors should be aware there is no lifeguard on duty. Pool fees include $6 per adult and each child over 12 years of age. Children between the ages of 3-12 pay $4 each.
When to Go to Tishomingo State Park
The spring and summer months are the most popular times of the year for visitors to enjoy Tishomingo State Park. These warmer months are the best times to enjoy activities like swimming in the park’s pool, fishing in Haynes Lake, and wildlife watching. However, peak times also mean more traffic and less availability of campgrounds.
If you are looking for less crowded times of the year, plan your vacation outside the peak times, and look into the early spring or final months of the year. The fall and winter months are great times to rent one of the cabins and enjoy a weekend around the fireplace. These months are also perfect for stargazing around a campfire at one of the tent sites.
Must-Have Things to Bring to Tishomingo State Park
Bug spray is a must in the muggy summers of Mississippi. Mosquito season can last through November if temperatures hover over the 50s, so keep yourself protected by using a safe insect repellant.
Dehydration can easily occur in the hotter months when temperatures can reach the upper 90s. Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion, as these conditions can occur quickly when exposed to the sun and heat for any length of time.
Stave off hunger cravings with snacks. If you are heading out for a day hike, be sure to pack a few granola bars and pieces of fruit to prevent hunger on the trail. If you are camping for a period of time, make sure you bring plenty of meals as there are no grocery stores within a few miles.
The thick foliage within the park offers many opportunities for bird watching. A pair of binoculars can help you identify some of the brightly colored birds which are bound to cross your path during your visit.
Try your hand at fishing while you enjoy your stay. There are several varieties of fish in Haynes Lake, including largemouth bass. Take your boat and launch from the boat ramp to enjoy a quiet morning of fishing and relaxation.
Bring some friends and spend the weekend in one of the rental cabins. These cabins are the perfect opportunity to catch up with your friends and family. The less adventurous type can stay inside and enjoy the cabin amenities, while the more outdoorsy of your friends can go out for day-hikes.
If you are an experienced climber, you will want to make sure you bring along all of your rock-climbing necessities. Tishomingo is one of the best areas in the state of Mississippi for rock climbing.
Plastic Bag for Trash
Like any other wilderness area, make sure you bring a bag to pack out all of your trash. Litter can be a huge problem in state parks and endangers both humans and wildlife. Tishomingo State Park even hosts an annual “Less Litter, More Beauty” day.
Summer thundershowers can pop up seemingly out of nowhere, typically in the late afternoon. Be sure to pack a lightweight rain jacket in your bag so that you can stay dry if you find yourself caught in a sudden downpour.
As always, anytime you are planning a trip into the wilderness, be sure to tell someone your plans beforehand. Carrying a cell phone while you travel is a safety must, as not only will you have a way to call for help in an emergency, but you can also keep an eye on the weather forecast and any other warnings in the area.
Where to Stay in Tishomingo State Park
With over 60 campsites located within the park, your most convenient option for staying the night in the area is to reserve one of these sites. Whether you have a traditional camping tent or are visiting in a large RV, you will be able to stay in one of these sites comfortably.
If you prefer to stay indoors, there are many conveniently located hotels (such as a Days Inn) available nearby in the city of Corinth, Mississippi. Belmont, a few miles south of the park, offers the popular Belmont Hotel and Sparks Bed and Breakfast.
Food Nearby Tishomingo State Park
Food is available just off of Natchez Trace Parkway, the main road going into the park. Jekyll and Hyde Market, Bar, and Grill is a multi-faceted eatery that offers Americans staples such as hamburgers, pizza, beer, and lemonade.
Viva La Casita is a popular Mexican food restaurant featuring a lunch buffet and drive-through option for diners in a hurry. You can order traditional Mexican meals like enchiladas and tacos, and beverages include horchata, Jarritos, and your choice of alcoholic beverages.
Airports Near Tishomingo State Park
There are many smaller airports around the state park, but the largest ones with the cheapest rates will typically be Huntsville International Airport in nearby Alabama or Memphis International Airport in Tennessee. The Memphis airport is just over a two-hour drive to Tishomingo State Park. Another option is to use the Nashville International Airport, which is further north in Tennessee. This airport is a little less than three hours from the park, so a rental car may be necessary.