Route: Yockanookany Trail South (MS)

Submitted by BayouRougarou on Wed, 03/17/2021 - 10:01pm
Mississippi, US
12.3 mi
Vertical Gain
0 ft

"North of Jackson, Mississippi, the Yockanookany section of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail is the longest of the five developed trail sections at 26 miles. Eight miles run alongside the Ross R. Barnett Reservoir, and the other sixteen miles go through dense forests, seasonal streams and open pastureland."

"The Yock" is popular hiking and running route along the northern shore of Barnett Reservoir. Although the trail is separated by the lakeshore by the Natchez Trace, there are several nice overlooks nearby. It is a rolling, but generally net flat, route paralleling the roadway. The trail is completely bound on each side by private fenced property and the Natchez Trace, and marked by white bar blazes. The southern 8 miles of the trail are often used but horses and wet weather have muddied the trail in spots. It is best to choose a time when it has been dry for a week or two. There are wooden bridges traversing the lowest areas. The middle portion of the route, between Hwy 43 and Rock Rd are a bit weeded but easily navigable. My original intent was to create an OKT/FKT of the entire 25-mile Yock but the northern 10 miles have become shrouded with briars, weeds, fallen branches and recently devastated by logging. Signs state this portion of trail is unmaintained and I could argue it is on its way to being abandoned. 

The route can be done in either direction with no significant net elevation change either way. The southern end is a large parking area and the northern end is a dirt road crossing accessed from Old Natchez Trace which runs parallel a few hundred meters to the north. You cannot drive to the road directly from the main Natchez Trace, but could be dropped off there. There is no parking on the roadsides, but there are plenty of parking areas every few miles. The route could be solo'd with a one way run and a pleasant return bike ride on the trace or on Old Trace Rd. 

I wanted to create this route to bring more trails to the Mississippi section of FastestKnownTime. MS doesn't have the abundance of trails like many other places but this is one that I believe should be added.