As you can see by the list above, this is truly a multipurpose/multi-use trail. In addition to the activities listed above, you can... more » use this trail for inline skating and walking your dog on a leash. The trail is also wheelchair accessible throughout its entire length.
This trail is not only the longest rail trail in Mississippi, but it is the longest in the south-central United States. It is a very smooth trail with beautifully forested stretches. In addition to the usual trail scenery and tranquility, this trail has some unique and interesting features from a large beaver dam to a year-round Christmas tree.
This trail is probably one of the most family-friendly trails in the world. In addition to being fairly flat and smooth, it has frequent rest-stops with bathrooms, vending machines, refreshments, and covered seating.
Another unique feature of the trail is the forestry educational signs. All along the way, you will find dozens of signs identifying various common southern species of trees and other flora. You will find such varieties as Loblolly Pine, Supplejack, White Oak, Crabapple, Southern Magnolia, Mimosa, Sassafras, and the trail's namesake Longleaf Pine.
Other trail users exhibit that famous southern charm and gentility and trail-users are welcomed in the small towns along the way. The only large town along the trail is Hattiesburg, home to the University of Southern Mississippi on whose campus the trail begins. At this point, there is an information station and bike rental business called the Gateway at Southern Miss. The rental shop has friendly proprietors and an abundance of bikes including a nice selection of recumbents and some tandems. That works out nicely since this trail is ideal for riding recumbents and bicycles-built-for-two. If you've never ridden either, this is the ideal place to give them a try.
Some of the businesses along the trail are quintessentially southern with such establishments as Piggly Wiggly, Bumpers Drive-In, Ward's, and the A.F. Carraway General Store in Bassfield. You will feel like you are in an episode of Petticoat Junction as you browse the quaintly cluttered shelves and old-fashioned cash register in this last establishment. Say hi to Neil while you're in there.
Although it may be possible to ride the length of this trail and back in one day, I don't recommend it. You'll miss a lot of southern charm and beautiful scenery if you're in a rush. I found that the ride from Hattiesburg to Prentiss was good for one day. Although the hotel options in Prentiss were scarce , there were a couple options a ways beyond the end of the trail. Call in advance to make reservations. The good news is that lodging is quite inexpensive in Prentiss and there are some good eateries there. less «