Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is a 12,539-acre hardwood bottomland area bordering the mighty Mississippi River 13 miles north of Memphis featuring mature Bald Cypress and Tupelo swamp. Most of the facilities are on top of the majestic Chickasaw Bluffs that rise from the bottomlands and are covered with large oaks, American beech, hickory and sweet gum. There are 10 state Champion Trees and two National Champion Trees as well as endangered and protected plants.
There are a variety of camping opportunities throughout the park. Meeman-Shelby Forest has six two-bedroom vacation cabins situated along the Shore of Poplar Tree Lake surrounded by woods. The cabins are ideal for family vacations or fishing parties and sleep up to six people in each. The park campground provides 49 campsites equipped with table, grill, electrical and water hookups. Meeman-Shelby Forest also offers one group camp available to youth groups and can accommodate up to 140 persons.
Deer, turkey, otter, beaver, foxes and bobcats are plentiful throughout the forest. Over 200 species of songbirds, waterfowl, shorebirds and birds of prey, including the American Bald Eagle can be seen; the area is a favorite for bird-watchers.
The park offers activities focused on the nature and beauty of the park. The Nature Center is open Memorial Day through Labor Day, Friday-Sunday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and closed for an hour at lunch. Exhibits include live snakes, turtles, salamanders, fish aquariums, stuffed animal exhibit, indoor live butterfly garden (open seasonally), bone table, insect table and a Native American exhibit.
Meeman-Shelby Forest offers more than 20 miles of hiking trails that wind throughout the park. Visitors with an interest in hiking will enjoy the approximately eight-mile, wooded Chickasaw Bluff Trail. It is open to hikers and meanders along a bluff with the largest loop overlooking Poplar Tree Lake.
Poplar Tree Lake is the perfect place to relax with a paddle. The park rents canoes, kayaks, tandem kayaks, and paddleboards, but you can also bring your own. Pedal boats are also available.
The park is home to one of the largest and most beautiful disc golf courses in the Southeast. The 36-hole, wooded course is divided into two 18-hole courses that offer beginners and advanced players a challenging game. Visitors can find disc golf accessories at stores near the park.
The Audubon Society designated Meeman-Shelby an Important Bird Area in 2006. The 13,476-acre park contains bottomland hardwoods, swamps, lakes and upland forest. Over 240 species of birds have been reported from the park.
The park has a free launch ramp on the Mississippi River, and a year-round boat ramp on 125-acre Poplar Tree Lake. Jon boats are available for rent at the park boat dock from March through November.
Meeman-Shelby Forest offers more than 20 miles of trails that wind throughout the park. Trails range from moderate to very rugged and some are multi-use. Trail and topography maps are available at the visitors center.
The 5-mile bike trail is a down and back, intermediate trailsuitable for a cross or mountain bike.
Poplar Tree Lake and Piersol Lake provide good fishing for bass, bluegill and catfish.
The eight and one half mile Horse Trail is open to horses and hikers.
The park campground has 49 campsites, each equipped with table, grill, electrical and water hookups. A modern bathhouse provides hot showers. There is a dump station for self-contained trailer rigs. Reservations may be made well in advance through the visitor center or online. Maximum stay limit is two weeks.
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