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University of Mississippi

Take Care Tuesday

Get Out and Live!

Summer in Oxford is the perfect time to explore all of the beautiful natural resources we have in our community and neighboring counties. The weather is near perfect, and the town is quieter with most of our university students home for the summer.  You don’t need to travel far to find a picturesque place to relax, hike, bike, paddle, or camp.

Whether you are a seasoned outdoors person or you’ve never set foot on a trail or stepped into a canoe, there are many adventures within a 35-mile radius of Oxford, and most areas and activities require only a basic understanding of outdoor living skills and ethics. The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics offers a great overview of seven principles to follow to minimum impact on our environment, listed below.

Visit the Leave No Trace website to learn more about protecting the lands that we all love.

  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors.
  • Plan Ahead & Prepare.
  • Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces.
  • Dispose of Waste Properly.
  • Leave What You Find.
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts.
  • Respect Wildlife.

Outdoor Recreation Sites within 35 miles of Oxford:

  • South Campus Trail, Oxford – This is a favorite spot for many in Oxford, and it’s a pretty area that is very close to campus and owned by the university. There are single-track bike trails that extend off of the main rail bed, and you can hike a length of half-a-mile to more than 10 miles, depending on which paths you take. The trails are easy to moderate; several small lakes can be seen from many of the trails; and a system of creek beds – most of the time dry – add interest to many of the trails. We are currently adding trail markers to the bike paths to make wayfinding easier.
  • Sardis Lake & John Kyle State Park, Oxford – Sardis Lake is operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers, and is divided into the upper lake and lower lake by a dam. To access the Upper Lake (Clear Creek Rec Area, Coontown Crossing, Hurricane Landing), take Highway 314 North until it ends. Clear Creek offers camping, boat ramp, and a really nice bike trail system. To access the Lower Lake, Take Highway 6 West to Highway 315. John Kyle State Park is located on the north side of the Lower Lake, just across the dam, and offers camping, white sand beaches, swimming, and a boat launch.
  • Wall Doxey State Park, Holly Springs – This state park is just 20 minutes up Highway 7 North, and offers a variety of activities including paddling on 60-acre Spring Lake, hiking the lake nature trail loop, or playing disc golf. The campgrounds offer primitive (tent) camping, developed (RV hookups), and cabins & a cottage.
  • Puskus Lake Interpretive Trail, Lafayette County – Located about 15 miles from Oxford off Highway 30, Puskus Recreation Area is home to a 1.7-mile, easy loop trail that circles the lake. The unique feature of this trail are the informational signs located along the trail that describe the native plants and animals inhabiting the region. This is a great beginner hike.
  • Tanglefoot Trail, New Albany – Mississippi’s longest Rails to Trails conversion, this trail follows an abandoned railroad bed some 44 miles through the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. You’ll see many ecosystems of the state represented along this trail, and you can shuttle a vehicle and do section hikes of this trail. Fun fact: Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark, once hiked this trail.

Utilize Ole Miss Outdoors:

Here at Ole Miss Outdoors, or OMOD as we are affectionately known, our motto is “Get Out and Live” (GOaL!) – Ole Miss Outdoors is here to serve you and help you find your path. We offer an adventure coaching program, outdoor gear rentals (bikes, kayaks, canoes, stand up paddle boards, tents, sleeping bags, stoves, and much more), and a resource library with trained staff to help guide you in choosing your own adventure. Please reach out to us and we will be happy to assist you!

Wishing you all the best in our outdoor pursuits,


Shannon Richardson serves as the Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, specifically with Ole Miss Outdoors, within Campus Recreation and recently named Staff Council’s Overall Outstanding Employee, 2021.