I drove up to Desoto State Park to join up with one of my Meet-Up groups for a hike on Saturday. I arrived a few days early to do some exploring in the area.
I camped at the Primitive Campsites – $13/night. No electricity. Vault toilet. There is a community water source. You can drive to the “Improved Campgrounds” to shower, etc. http://goo.gl/Nn7mCYou access the campground by unlocking/opening the gate, driving past it, shutting/locking it. It ensured safety, but it was a pain in the butt for one person. There were approximately 20 sites plus 2 group “fields”. Each site had a fire ring. There was ample downed wood around for campfires – a hand saw would be helpful. Some you could park your car on your camp site. A few had picnic tables on the site (most didn’t). They were mostly quiet. I was in spot 10. Spot 11 was primo, but already taken.
The comfort stations were the cleanest I’ve ever encountered…It was a pain to have to drive about 2 miles to shower. I prefer to park my car & hike everywhere.
I found sunset & sunrise were ideal for deer & bunny sightings – particularly in the group camp areas. I sat down in a corner, stayed very still and saw numerous bunnies and several deer.
In the morning, I planned to hike most of the trails, hitting the various waterfalls including Indian Falls, Lost Falls, Lodge Falls & Laurel Falls. The trail maps, quite frankly, suck. Here’s a link to the pdf of the trails: http://goo.gl/BA8IE There are points of references, like bridges, streams that would be great to note on the trail. And there is a green & aqua trail – the colors are practically indistinguishable. And the route from Lost Falls to Laurel Falls is completely incorrect. I spent an exhaustive amount of time marking waypoints. If you can download them, I highly recommend it. I’m sharing it with the park as well…
Here are some shots from the Country Store to the CC Shelter. There were very few water views, but on occasion, I could hear water. I imagine in the fall/winter, the view of the water is much better.Then I hiked down to Indian Falls… Found the area awesome to explore. There is a footbridge that goes over the Falls, so you’d hear people talking, but head down to the base. It is a bit slippery in some sections.Then I took the yellow/DST trail along the Little River. So many awesome spots to swim, sun, or just chillax.
At times, the trails/spurs were confusing. the DST (Desoto Scout Trail) is the yellow trail on the park property. That section requires a careful eye. There were spots were debris from flooding was very apparent. You have to do some attentive stepping. Sometimes the path is narrow right beside the water. I didn’t spot any snakes, but several areas were just perfect snake habitats.There were no markers on the yellow/DST to indicate how to connect with the cabins. I encountered an occasional spur with an orange tape flag, but it gave no reference to where you were. I eventually just took one, ended up by cabins, passed the dry Lodge Falls,and then to the top of Indian Falls:
Then I continued on across the road, to the red trail to catch the other falls. There was a sign about archeological site, but no one could offer any information about it.
The sights up to “Lost Falls” – it was just a trickleThen on to Laurel Falls – I noticed this scat along with this ‘orange trail marker”The Laurel Falls sign was practically missable, particularly because the trail indicated one needed to be on a different trail… It was just a trickle. And definitely have bug spray on… skeeters were buzzing ALL over.
A few notable things along the day’s hike:
Then I took trail back to Improved Campground, showered, and went back to my Primitive Campsite.And made a campfire to enjoy a well-earned steak.