West Floriday Boundary Trail Run

West Florida Boundary, Natchez Trace near Ridgeland, MS

West Florida Boundary, Natchez Trace near Ridgeland, MS

I don’t think there is a more cool name for a place to go run or hike around here than the West Florida Boundary. It just has this cool sound like it’s some place on the edge of civilization or out of the past. It’s a twenty minute drive from my house and there is a trail head there, so it makes a perfect location to hit some trails. Imagine this conversation.

“Pat, what did you do today?” “I ran the West Florida Boundary trail.” Sounds impressive, huh?

Apparently back in the late 1700’s what is now Southern Alabama and Mississippi was part of Florida. This particular historic marker sits right on what was the Northern border of the West Florida territory.

Trail Head

Trail Head

There is parking at the West Florida Boundary, then you go down the hill to the North of the parking area and you’ll find the trail head sign in the tree line. I’ve only been down the trail about 5 miles, so I have not made it as far as the Yandell Road Trailhead yet. But soon in a couple of weeks I’m planning on doing the 15.4 mile out and back to Yandell. There are actually two trails at the start. One is the long trail and the other is a 0.5 mile loop that comes right back to the trail head.

Typical scenery on the Natchez Trail.

Typical scenery on the Natchez Trail.

This is an easy trail to run. The surface is generally smooth, interrupted on occasion by roots or rocks. Often times you are running on a soft bed of pine needles. The trail is winding though so you have to pay attention especially if you are moving at a quick pace. When it rains there are some boggy spots with thick mud. This is a pedestrian and horse trail only, no bikes or motorized vehicles. There are some sections where the trail get’s cut off by the Ross Barnett Reservoir. When this happens you come out of the woods and have to run along the Natchez Trace Highway over a bridge, then head back to the tree line and pick up the trail again. It’s not to hard, but can be confusing if you have not run it before.

Happy Trail Runner!

Happy Trail Runner!

My most recent run on this trail was about 7 miles total. I ran 25 minutes up the trail, turned around and beat feet back to the start. Refueled on a banana and some sports drink then went back to the trail head. I decided to run intervals on the 0.5 mile loop through the woods. Here’s my splits:

1 – 4:35 – getting acclimated to trying to do speed work in the woods, had to negotiate a muddy, rocky spot
2 – 4:26 – didn’t know how fast I wanted to go, just wanted to go faster than the first lap
3 – 4:05 – starting to get the hang of it
3 – 3:43 – felt a little out of control on the down hills, it’ll take more speed work in the woods to get used to this

Looking for a nice trail run near Jackson, MS? Check out the Historic Natchez Trail. You might impress your friends when you tell them you ran the West Florida Boundary.

You Need to Be Here!

You Need to Be Here!

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