A little over two-hours northeast of Memphis, on the east bank of the
Tennessee River, is Mousetail Landing State Park.
The park has two hiking trails, a 3-mile loop
trail and an 8.5-mile lollipop trail, Eagle Point Trail, with two overnight
shelters, each sleeping eight.
A friend and I traversed a portion of Eagle Point Trail on our recent winter
hike. The trailhead is located adjacent to a playground across from the
Park Office. The trail roughly parallels Kelly Creek for approximately
1/2-mile before starting up Spark's Ridge which crests at 625-feet (1.1-mile
point) after a gain of 250-feet. The trail continues down the opposite
side of the ridge and through a nice broad glen, green even in early February.
After crossing Parrish Creek we soon came to the end of the lollipop stick
and hit the junction of the loop portion of the trail. We took the west
fork toward shelter #2.
Shelter #2 sits on a bluff 150-ft above the Tennessee River and was a little
over 2.5-miles into our hike. We stopped
to eat a snack and inspect the wooden shelter. The shelter is three-sided
with the west-side, facing the river, open and screened. The overnight shelter has plywood bunk-beds
on the three hard walls, sleeping eight. There is a wood burning stove
that vents to the outside and a fire ring and picnic table outside of the
shelter. This is the best location on
the hike to enjoy a view of the Tennessee River.
We continued to hike another ½-mile toward Lick Creek, but the trail became
flooded so we reversed course at the 3-mile mark.
Hiking was easy going until we hit the northern base of Sparks Ridge. The climb up the ridge proved taxing and we
were breathing hard when we made it to top.
The remainder of the hike was downhill back to the trailhead.
Though it was early February, the temperature was perfect for hiking, and
without foliage obstructing our view we got a good feel for the expansiveness of
the park. From any location we could easily see 500-yds in any direction, the
line-of-sight only blocked by the ridgelines. We had the park to ourselves, not
seeing another hiker during the three plus hours we were on the trail, nor did
we see a single deer, squirrel, beaver, or bird.
I will return in the future when the water is down and can complete the
loop, but for this fine day the six-mile out and back hike was fulfilling.