Outdoor Recreation

Get Outside!

You can live a lifetime at The Rez and not be able to take in all the outdoor opportunities. From hiking to fishing, kayaking to cycling, and even driving some amazing day trips, you’ll discover the beauty in all that Mississippi has to offer.

ON THE WATER

The Rez affords easy access from Jackson, Ridgeland and Madison, Mississippi – over two million people visit the Ross Barnett Reservoir each year for outdoor recreation, including boating, fishing, water-skiing, and camping. There are five campgrounds, 16 parks, 22 boat launches, three handicapped-accessible trails, two multi-purpose trails, and a mountain bike trail which meanders near Mule Jail Lake.

The surface area of The Rez is 52 square miles, resulting from a vast body of water that’s 16 miles long and 7 miles wide. Boaters frequently put in at one of many boat launches in Brandon or Ridgeland and motor across the “Big Water” to the mouth of the Pearl River. After entering the main river channel, a boater can travel miles upriver and stop at numerous easy-access sand bars, enjoy spectacular wildlife and admire the vast Cypress forests.

Kayaks typically put in their craft miles upstream on the Pearl at any number of spots and then float down toward The Rez. Non-motorized craft can also access The Rez though Pelahatchie Bay to discover another world of beauty only a few miles from downtown Jackson.

ROSS BARNETT RESERVOIR BOATING ACCESS POINTS

PEARL RIVER AND RESERVOIR KAYAK TRAIL ACCESS POINTS

PARKS AND TRAILS

People not familiar with the Mississippi outdoors may not realize how beautiful the terrain, the forests, swamps, waterways, and wildlife. Enjoy a beautiful hike along any of these nearby parks and trails. The Ross Barnett Reservoir is abundant with parks and trails and rarely crowded, offering a spectacular experience outdoors.

PUBLIC PARKS ON THE ROSS BARNETT RESERVOIR

RANKIN TRAILS PARK

BRANDON CITY PARKS

RIDGELAND CITY PARKS

MADISON CITY PARKS

THE NATCHEZ TRACE OFFICIAL SITE 

THE NATCHEZ TRACE IN RIDGELAND

DOG PARK ON THE REZ

PETRIFIED FOREST

ROOSEVELT STATE PARK

COAL BLUFF PARK

TIMBERLAKE CAMPGROUND

FISHING THE REZ

With 30,000 acres of water and an abundance of wildlife, there’s no end to the adventure you can have when boating the Barnett Reservoir. From the big water waves to the backwater channels and swamps, you can motor or paddle your way around.

MAP OF THE ROSS BARNETT RESERVOIR

FISHING REGULATIONS FOR ROSS BARNETT RESERVOIR

BAIT AND TACKLE SHOPS ON THE WATER

Main Harbor Store                        Ridgeland MS              601-853-0683
Tommy’s Trading Post                 Brandon MS                 601-829-1903
Pelahatchie Bay Trading Post    Brandon MS                 601-829-1709
Franks Bait & Tackle                    Canton MS                    601-859-5571
Ratliff Ferry Trading Post           Canton MS                    601-859-1810
Q&M Bait Shop                              Ridgeland MS               601-978-3428

MARINAS FOR SLIPS AND RENTALS

Main Harbor Marina                    Ridgeland MS               601-856-6562
Sunset Marina at 43                      Brandon MS                 601-829-1513
Jackson Yacht Club                       Ridgeland MS              601-856-8844
Sportsmen’s Marina                      Brandon MS                 601-992-8400
Pelahatchie Bay Trading Post     Brandon MS                 601-829-1703

KAYAKING

This is Mississippi’s gem for water sports that includes a variety of experiences for beginners to advanced paddlers. With a wealth of put-in options on both sides of The Rez, kayakers can enjoy a rigorous workout on big water or a zen-like cruise through the lily pads and cypress. The Rez offers backwater channels in Pelahatchie Bay, or a downriver trek along the upper Pearl River.

RENT KAYAKS FOR THE REZ

PEARL RIVER PADDLING TRAIL DETAILS

GATER BAIT RACE ON PELAHATCHIE BAY

YOUTUBE VIDEOS OF KAYAKS ON THE REZ

Blog post about The Rez from Paddling.com

Recent Rez Kayak News from WJTV

 

CYCLING

Ridgeland, MS is a designated Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists and home to the Natchez Trace Century Ride, a scenic bike ride on the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway. This race offers several distance options (25, 50, 62 or 100) and is perfect for all ages and ability levels.

Check out the 37.3 mile cycling trail around the entire Ross Barnett Reservoir. Click here for map

Ridgeland Natchez Trace Multi-Use Trail offers a superb trip parallel to the Natchez Trace Parkway just north of Jackson. The 10-mile paved pathway begins on the southwestern shores of the Ross Barnett Reservoir and transitions quickly into woodlands.

With the famous Natchez Trace running right alongside The Rez, it’s an incredible spot for cyclists from around the globe to enjoy the view and the great conditions. View the detailed map of the Mississippi portion of the Natchez Trace Route.

DAY TRIPS

Ross Barnett Reservoir is situated in central Mississippi and creates a superb base camp location for day trips to areas rich in history, culture, cuisine and entertainment.

ENJOY A SHORT TRIP RIGHT UP THE ROAD

VICKSBURG, Preserved Historic Homes, Beautiful Scenery, Cuisine, Blues Trail, the expansive Vicksburg National Military Park, which is the best representation of Civil War history in the U.S.

Vicksburg Military Park
Vicksburg National Military Park

CLARKSDALE, Home of the Blues, Great Food and Entertainment

MISSISSIPPI BLUES TRAIL

NATCHEZ, a City Reserved in Time with Antebellum Homes and Historic Sites

OXFORD, University of Southern Mississippi, Historic Homes and Famous Literary Tours

THE GULF COAST, right on the gulf of Mexico, you’ll find superb restaurants, guided fishing excursions, fun beaches, and casinos with terrific entertainment.

NATIVE AMERICAN MOUNDS, pre-history archeological sites representing the ancient tribes of the Mississippi region.

NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY, offers a driving tour through three states, following the historic travel corridor used for thousands of years by the first people of this continent through today.