From boating to fishing, camping to golf, Madison County has it all when it comes to recreation. Learn more about Madison County’s various recreational activities below.
Ross Barnett Reservoir
Ross Barnett Reservoir is at the pinnacle of recreation in Madison County. Surrounding its 33,000 acres are golf courses, campgrounds, all types of sports facilities, and nature and cycling trails.
The reservoir is also home to boating enthusiasts who enjoy their sport year-round. Full-service marinas and public boat launching facilities make access easy for all water enthusiasts. The reservoir also draws many water skiers who want to enjoy their sport in a beautiful setting.
Fishermen from around the world come to the reservoir to enjoy its well-stocked waters. Largemouth bass, catfish, and crappie, as well as many other fish, abound in the waters of the reservoir.
Natchez Trace Parkway
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile National Scenic Byway which travels from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee and passes directly through the heart of Madison County. Administered by the National Park Service, the Trace follow the path of a historic trail that was first formed by migrating buffalo herds and used by Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians. The Trace was traveled by “Kaintuck” boatmen during the late 1700s and early 1800s, who would travel down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, where they would sell their goods and boat and return North by foot via the Trace.
Modern-day visitors will find the Natchez Trace to be a well-maintained highway lined with historic sites, wayside exhibits, and many scenic locations. The Mississippi Crafts Center, located on the Natchez Trace Parkway in the Ridgeland area, features art works created by members of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi. Since no commercial traffic is allowed on the Trace, the historic roadway is a popular destination for those traveling by bike, motorcycle, and RV.
For more information: Natchez Trace Parkway.
The City of Ridgeland provides over 13 miles of multiuse trails for the purposes of recreation, fitness, and alternative transportation. The main trail travels east-west across the city near the Natchez Trace Parkway. Connector trails lead off of this main trail to travel along Sunnybrook Road, Pear Orchard Road, Lake Harbour Drive, Old Canton Road and Rice Road. Recreational cycling, walking, running, strolling and in-line skating are some of the many uses of this very popular trail. Clubs, groups, individuals, families and friends of residents and visitors from all over the metro area can all be found on this trail every day of the week.
A well-used trail is a safe trail, but the City also adds police protection in the form of mountain bike patrol. Trail Rangers, a group of volunteers identified by their bright yellow shirts, are trained in when to call the police or fire department for assistance. If you would like to apply to this group, please contact Alderman Chuck Gautier at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is advisable to carry a cell phone and to let an emergency contact know when you are expected to return from the trails.
Trail etiquette is important for the enjoyment of the trails by all users. Littering is against the law and should be reported to the police if witnessed. Dogs must be on leashes and kept close to their human companion. If the leash is allowed to extend across the trail, it can cause an accident for others. If you use earbuds, please keep one ear open so you can hear someone approaching. Bicyclists should let walkers know when they are passing by saying, “on your left”. If there is an emergency, call 9.1.1. If non-emergency assistance is needed, call 601.856.2121, the dispatch center at police headquarters. Water fountains are available for your convenience, but we recommend bringing your own water as well.
Popular Parks & Public Recreational Facilities
Residents of Madison County have plentiful opportunities for outdoor recreation and athletic competition at a number of excellent park and recreational facilities.
Liberty Park (Madison) – A multi-purpose sports complex that offers: 5 lighted baseball/softball fields; 5 regulation soccer fields, 2 of which are lighted and can be subdivided as needed; 5 lighted batting cages; 2 beach volleyball courts; paved walking track; cross-country track under construction; and Liberty Village Playground, designed from the imaginations of Madison children.
Strawberry Patch Park (Madison) – A seven-acre neighborhood park has been built on this beautiful site, which also features a two-acre lake. Walking trails have been combined with exercise stations, playground equipment, and picnic areas to provide a place to exercise, or simply to enjoy the serenity of the lake. Designed as a nature area, Simmons Arboretum has walking trails that run through varieties of Mississippi’s native plant life, trees, and shrubs.
Freedom Ridge Park (Ridgeland) – Freedom Ridge Park, a 50-acre athletic facility, is located on School Street just behind the Ridgeland Police Department. The park features four lighted adult regulation softball fields, four lighted regulation soccer fields, four picnic pavilions, two playgrounds, two concession/restroom buildings, a lighted walking trail, and a maintenance facility.
Ridgeland Tennis Center (Ridgeland) – The Ridgeland Tennis Center, a full-service public facility operated by tennis pros, is located at 201 McClellan Drive, off Highway 51. The center is home to 17 lighted, hard tennis courts, men’s and women’s locker rooms, a 2000-square-foot covered porch for viewing, and a fully stocked tennis pro shop.
Wolcott Park (Ridgeland) – Wolcott Park, a 40-acre athletic facility, is located on McClellan Drive, off Highway 51. It features seven lighted baseball/softball fields, a playground, in-line hockey rink, four batting cages, two bullpens, two concession/restroom buildings, and a maintenance facility.
More information about Madison County parks and public recreation is available from: Madison Department of Parks and Recreation and Ridgeland, Mississippi, Recreation and Parks.
Other Metro Area Attractions
The Jackson-metro area offers a number of excellent attractions, including the Jackson Zoological Park, the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum, the Governor’s Mansion, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, the Mississippi Children’s Museum, Russell C. Davis Planetarium, and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.