Clark Creek Waterfalls (Tunica Falls)

Woodville / Natchez / Clark Creek Natural Area / Baton Rouge, Mississippi / Louisiana, USA

About Clark Creek Waterfalls (Tunica Falls)


Hiking Distance: 4 miles round trip (to 5 waterfalls); scramble
Suggested Time: 2.5 hours

Date first visited: 2016-03-15
Date last visited: 2016-03-15

Waterfall Latitude: 31.06695
Waterfall Longitude: -91.51782

The Clark Creek Waterfalls (also referred to as Tunica Falls in Google Maps) were a series of several waterfalls residing within the Clark Creek Natural Area within Mississippi near its border with Louisiana.

Now while none of these waterfalls exceeded 15-20ft or so, the fact that waterfalls even existed in the low-lying swamp lands of bayou country was quite a miracle in and of itself!

Clark_Creek_NA_041_03152016 - This was the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls that we encountered
This was the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls that we encountered

And it was for this reason that we made the detour to visit this place when we made the long drive between New Orleans and Shreveport.

The result of the time and effort taken to go on this excursion was about five waterfall sightings.

However, if we had more time to do more hiking in the preserve, there were other trail branches that led to even more waterfalls!

Hiking to the Clark Creek Waterfalls

Overall, I wound up spending about 2.5 hours away from the car to experience five of the Clark Creek Waterfalls.

Clark_Creek_NA_002_03152016 - A restroom facility right in front of the actual trail leading to the Clark Creek Waterfalls so there was some obvious infrastructure to make it clear to us where this hike began
A restroom facility right in front of the actual trail leading to the Clark Creek Waterfalls so there was some obvious infrastructure to make it clear to us where this hike began

According to my GPS logs, I wound up hiking about 3.5 miles round-trip, which is reflected in the difficulty rating you see at the top of this page.

However, it could be argued that the first waterfall was the most scenic of the bunch and the rest of the waterfalls would be optional.

If that was the case, then the out-and-back hike just to do that first waterfall would probably take around an hour round trip to cover about 1.2 miles round-trip of hiking (warranting more of a “2” difficulty rating).

Our hike began from a pretty busy trailhead (see directions below), which was decked out with a restroom facility as well as some picnic tables atop an adjacent hill.

Clark_Creek_NA_003_03152016 - Signage at the Clark Creek Natural Area explaining lots of rules as well as the entrance fee
Signage at the Clark Creek Natural Area explaining lots of rules as well as the entrance fee

There was also a self-help kiosk to pick up a payment envelope that we’d put money in, then detach the payment slip so we could put it on the dash of our car as proof of payment.

As of our visit in mid-March 2016, the cost was $4 per vehicle then 50 cents per person if there were more than 6 people in the vehicle.

I didn’t have exact change on me at the time so I paid $5, and I’d imagine this was pretty common as not everybody has that many singles on hand.

Trail Description – from the Trailhead to the First Waterfall

Once we got past the self-payment formalities, we then went on a pretty wide trail that went past a gate then descended on a ridge flanked by tall thin trees.

Clark_Creek_NA_015_03152016 - Julie and Tahia on the wide trail near the trailhead following a ridge as it descended deeper into the Clark Creek Natural Area
Julie and Tahia on the wide trail near the trailhead following a ridge as it descended deeper into the Clark Creek Natural Area

There were a couple of sections during this descent where there were steps alongside the wide trail.

At first, we wondered why they built this infrastructure besides an already present trail.

However, when we then saw the ruts and gullies on the wide trail, we realized that the trail could easily become muddy and difficult to climb back up after heavy rains (which is not uncommon in this part of the country).

And speaking of uphill climbs, we knew that all this downhill hiking meant that we would have to get all this elevation loss back at the very end of our return hike along this stretch.

Clark_Creek_NA_023_03152016 - Descending steps that seemed to bypass the steep sections of what might be an impassable sloping section of the Clark Creek Waterfalls Trail if there was too much rain and mud
Descending steps that seemed to bypass the steep sections of what might be an impassable sloping section of the Clark Creek Waterfalls Trail if there was too much rain and mud

Towards the bottom of this descent, there was a bridge traversing a seasonal creek before climbing up a hill.

Eventually, we reached a trail junction with a sign containing a topographic map of the area, which helped to orient us.

That junction with the topographic map sign was at about a half-mile from the trailhead.

We took the spur trail to our left for roughly 400ft, which descended towards what turned out to be the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls (shown in the photo at the top of this page).

Clark_Creek_NA_034_03152016 - When we arrived at the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls, it turned out that we weren't alone in this seemingly isolated part of the bayou
When we arrived at the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls, it turned out that we weren’t alone in this seemingly isolated part of the bayou

We were able to view this 15-20ft waterfall from around the rim of the small dropoff before taking the wooden platform and stairs further downstream to access the base of the falls.

There was a small rope that we were able to use at the very bottom of the descent, which was slippery, but it was very doable (even without the rope).

Anyways, this first waterfall had a satisfying drop, and we wound up spending quite a bit of time here.

Trail Description – from the First Waterfall to the Second Waterfall

Once we had our fill of the first Clark Creek Waterfall, we returned back uphill to the trail junction. It was at this point that Julie and Tahia returned to the car.

Clark_Creek_NA_073_03152016 - Julie and Tahia headed back to the car park after having seen the first Clark Creek Waterfall
Julie and Tahia headed back to the car park after having seen the first Clark Creek Waterfall

Their out-and-back hike ended up being about a mile in total, but that left me to pursue the remaining waterfalls solo.

In another 500ft of continuing on the main Waterfall Trail, I reached a second signposted trail junction with another topographic map.

I then went left at this junction, which again descended as I hiked another 0.1-mile towards the second Clark Creek Waterfall.

There was a set of stairs that brought me closer to the top of this waterfall.

Clark_Creek_NA_076_03152016 - The steps descending to the brink of the second of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
The steps descending to the brink of the second of the Clark Creek Waterfalls

There was also a branch of stairs that went to the base of this waterfall, but any further progress beyond the stairs meant some pretty rough scrambling with dropoff exposure.

Thus, I wound up with a view of the second waterfall that was somewhat obstructed by foliage.

So given how this second waterfall wasn’t as scenic as the first, I opted not to spend more time than I needed to here and returned to the trail junction.

Trail Description – from the Second Waterfall to the Third Waterfall

As I continued on the main Waterfall Trail, it undulated for the next half-mile (around 20 minutes).

Clark_Creek_NA_095_03152016 - Approaching some kind of shed on the trail between the second Clark Creek Waterfalls and the rest of the ones that I encountered
Approaching some kind of shed on the trail between the second Clark Creek Waterfalls and the rest of the ones that I encountered

Along the way, I went past a trail junction leading to some overlook before I encountered a shed or shelter with some graffiti on it.

Continuing past the shed for the next five minutes, the trail followed a ridge before it eventually descended a fairly long series of wooden steps that ultimately returned to Clark Creek at its bottom.

This marked the end of the official Waterfalls Trail, but I knew there were more waterfalls to be found here.

While I had the option of continuing to hike to my left (going downstream) to potentially encounter more waterfalls in that direction, I first decided to go right (upstream).

Clark_Creek_NA_101_03152016 - Descending the long series of wooden steps that went to the official end of the maintained part of the Waterfalls Trail
Descending the long series of wooden steps that went to the official end of the maintained part of the Waterfalls Trail

The hiking at this point was pretty much a stream scramble, but the stream was mostly shallow, and there were enough dry spots to avoid wading in most places.

At about 400ft from the end of the Waterfall Trail, there was a confluence of creeks.

I started off by going right, which quickly degenerated into an even rougher stream scramble over rocks and around a fallen tree.

But after roughly 500ft of this stream scramble (taking me around 15 minutes), I finally reached what I dubbed the third Clark Creek Waterfall.

Clark_Creek_NA_111_03152016 - Approaching the attractive 'third' Clark Creek Waterfall after a little bit of a stream scramble beyond the official end of the Waterfalls Trail
Approaching the attractive ‘third’ Clark Creek Waterfall after a little bit of a stream scramble beyond the official end of the Waterfalls Trail

This particular falls fell within a V-shaped cliff and had a drop that was probably between 20-30ft.

With the surrounding cliffs providing some sense of isolation, I really found this particular spot to be quite tranquil, especially given the adventure it took to get here.

Trail Description – from the Third Waterfall to the Fourth and Fifth Waterfalls

Scrambling back to the confluence of the streams, I then took the other fork, which actually turned out to be quite a bit muddier than the stream scramble to the third waterfall.

After only about 100ft or so from the confluence, there was a thin-flowing waterfall to the right.

Clark_Creek_NA_152_03152016 - Ascending to the 'fifth' of the Clark Creek Waterfalls which was ephemeral and involved a steep scramble to reach
Ascending to the ‘fifth’ of the Clark Creek Waterfalls which was ephemeral and involved a steep scramble to reach

I dubbed that one the “fifth” Clark Creek Waterfall because I punted on it until after I had visited the fourth waterfall, and this it was arguably an optional side excursion which I’ll explain right now.

In any case, there was a steep stream scramble leading up to the base of this fifth waterfall, which was very thin flowing.

Given all the rains that had hit the states of Louisiana and Mississippi prior to our arrival, I suspected that this “fifth” waterfall was probably more ephemeral than the rest of the falls seen so far.

Finally at roughly 500ft beyond the fork to the so-called “fifth” waterfall, I had reached the fourth Clark Creek Waterfall.

Clark_Creek_NA_142_03152016 - This was the fourth of the Clark Creek Waterfalls, which also involved a bit of a rock scramble to reach
This was the fourth of the Clark Creek Waterfalls, which also involved a bit of a rock scramble to reach

That final stretch of stream scrambling was a bit on the rough and muddy side as I had found myself scrambling both in the stream as well as over and around some fairly large rocks.

Anyways, that fourth waterfall had a bit of a freefall as there was a short alcove behind it.

Meanwhile, there were large rocks surrounding the plunge pool area of this waterfall.

This suggested that every now and then, parts of the neighboring cliff would chunk off.

Clark_Creek_NA_159_03152016 - Making it back to the bottom of the steps that marked the end of the maintained part of the Waterfalls Trail so the rest of it was a pretty straightforward uphill trail hike
Making it back to the bottom of the steps that marked the end of the maintained part of the Waterfalls Trail so the rest of it was a pretty straightforward uphill trail hike

After having my fill of this waterfall and that “fifth” waterfall that I had punted on earlier, I then returned back the way I came.

Authorities

The Clark Creek Waterfalls reside in the Clark Creek Natural Area near Woodville in Wilkinson County, Mississippi. It is administered by Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Clark_Creek_NA_008_03152016 - Looking back at the picnic area on the hill next to the restroom facility and the trailhead parking in the Clark Creek Natural Area
Clark_Creek_NA_011_03152016 - Julie and Tahia about to pass through a gate near the start of the Waterfalls Trail in the Clark Creek Natural Area
Clark_Creek_NA_014_03152016 - Julie and Tahia descending the trail as it traversed along a ridge to delve deeper into the Clark Creek Natural Area
Clark_Creek_NA_016_03152016 - Tahia leading the descent along the initial parts of the Clark Creek Waterfalls Trail
Clark_Creek_NA_017_03152016 - We noticed stairs were built alongside the Clark Creek Waterfalls Trail, which confused us at first, but then we realized that the trail itself could get muddy and difficult to climb after heavy rains
Clark_Creek_NA_022_03152016 - Here's another series of stairs descending alongside the wide Clark Creek Waterfalls Trail
Clark_Creek_NA_024_03152016 - Closer look at what appeared to be some kind of attempt at runoff diversion given the propensity of the Clark Creek Natural Area to get flooding rains
Clark_Creek_NA_026_03152016 - The Clark Creek Waterfalls Trail had quite a few undulations (ups and downs) so when you combine this profile with the typically hot and muggy weather the bayou typically experiences, then it becomes apparent why this excursion can be deceptively strenuous
Clark_Creek_NA_027_03152016 - Each major trail junction in the Clark Creek Natural Area had topographic maps like this, which kept us oriented (provided we could properly interpret the busy map)
Clark_Creek_NA_030_03152016 - Approaching the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_031_03152016 - More contextual look at the first Clark Creek Waterfall that we encountered.  It turned out to be perhaps the most attractive of the handful of waterfalls we wound up seeing here
Clark_Creek_NA_032_03152016 - This was the stairs that led us towards the base of the first Clark Creek Waterfall
Clark_Creek_NA_038_03152016 - There was another couple that was at the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls so we weren't totally alone during our hike
Clark_Creek_NA_044_03152016 - Looking up from the base of the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_057_03152016 - Tahia checking out the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_061_03152016 - Julie and Tahia checking out the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_068_03152016 - Julie and Tahia using the rope to assist to get past the somewhat steep part of this scramble to and from the base of the first Clark Creek Waterfall
Clark_Creek_NA_071_03152016 - Looking down from a higher vantage point towards the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_072_03152016 - Broad contextual look over the top of the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_074_03152016 - After Julie and Tahia went back to the Clark Creek Natural Area Trailhead, I continued on the hike to the remaining waterfalls, which involved more trail hiking through this kind of terrain
Clark_Creek_NA_075_03152016 - Descending on steps towards a view of the second Clark Creek Waterfall
Clark_Creek_NA_078_03152016 - Descending the steps to get a closer look at that second Clark Creek Waterfall
Clark_Creek_NA_081_03152016 - Reaching the second of the Clark Creek Waterfalls involved a bit more scrambling, but you can see that it was far less scenic than the first of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_084_03152016 - An obstructed view of the second Clark Creek Waterfall, which was probably as good as it would get
Clark_Creek_NA_086_03152016 - Looking back towards the steps that I had to take to get to the bottom of the second of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_088_03152016 - This was the lookout platform that stood above the second Clark Creek Waterfall
Clark_Creek_NA_090_03152016 - Returning to the trail junction where going right returned to the parking area but going left continued deeper into the Clark Creek Natural Area
Clark_Creek_NA_091_03152016 - While continuing on the Clark Creek Waterfall Trail beyond the junction for the second waterfall, I encountered some parts that still had puddles from the heavy rains that hit most of the state of Louisiana as well as parts of Mississippi
Clark_Creek_NA_094_03152016 - The Clark Creek Waterfall Trail then followed along another ridge
Clark_Creek_NA_096_03152016 - This lightly graffitied shed was roughly a half-mile beyond the junction for the second waterfall in the Clark Creek Natural Area
Clark_Creek_NA_098_03152016 - Beyond the shed, the Clark Creek Waterfall Trail narrowed a bit more as it continued along a ridge
Clark_Creek_NA_160_03152016 - Looking back up at the steps that took me down to the official end of the Waterfall Trail in the Clark Creek Natural Area. From this point forward, it was pretty much hiking and scrambling on 'primitive trail' or directly in the Clark Creek itself
Clark_Creek_NA_102_03152016 - Looking in one direction along the banks of Clark Creek as I pursued the rest of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_104_03152016 - Looking into some of the little chasms carved out by Clark Creek as I scrambled towards the rest of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_105_03152016 - As I went upstream from the end of the official Waterfalls Trail, I knew I had to do some stream scrambling to find more waterfalls in the Clark Creek Natural Area
Clark_Creek_NA_106_03152016 - It didn't take long before the stream scramble in Clark Creek also involved some rock scrambling
Clark_Creek_NA_107_03152016 - While making my way to the third Clark Creek Waterfall, I had to find a way around this fallen tree obstacle
Clark_Creek_NA_108_03152016 - Finally approaching the third Clark Creek Waterfall towards the end of one branch of the stream scramble
Clark_Creek_NA_114_03152016 - Here's a closer look at that third Clark Creek Waterfall, which was flanked by attractive cliffs with overhangs as well as possessing some color in the rocks
Clark_Creek_NA_121_03152016 - Looking up at the V-shaped contour of the cliffs above the third of the  Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_129_03152016 - Another look at the context of the base of the third of the Clark Creek Waterfalls
Clark_Creek_NA_132_03152016 - After visiting the third Clark Creek Waterfall, I had to backtrack on the stream scramble to get to the next fork in the stream
Clark_Creek_NA_134_03152016 - Going back over the fallen tree obstacle on the scramble from the third Clark Creek Waterfall
Clark_Creek_NA_135_03152016 - Now doing the muddy and rocky stream scramble to get up to the fourth Clark Creek Waterfall, which sat in a different branch of Clark Creek
Clark_Creek_NA_139_03152016 - Finally at the fourth Clark Creek Waterfall
Clark_Creek_NA_149_03152016 - On my way out from the fourth Clark Creek Waterfall, I pursued another side branch feeding Clark Creek and noticed that there was a fifth Clark Creek Waterfall
Clark_Creek_NA_155_03152016 - Closer look at the fifth or last one of the Clark Creek Waterfalls that I encountered on my hike
Clark_Creek_NA_158_03152016 - After finishing the visit of the fifth Clark Creek Waterfall, I then had to stream scramble my way out back to the official Waterfalls Trail
Clark_Creek_NA_161_03152016 - Ascending the steps to regain the official Clark Creek Waterfalls Trail, which from this point out was pretty much uphill trail hiking
Clark_Creek_NA_162_03152016 - Following the Waterfalls Trail back to the trailhead for the Clark Creek Natural Area
Clark_Creek_NA_163_03152016 - Now on the final uphill leading back to the trailhead for the Clark Creek Waterfalls Trail
Clark_Creek_NA_165_03152016 - After about 2.5 hours spent away from the car, I was finally back at the trailhead for the Clark Creek Natural Area

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The Clark Creek Natural Area and its waterfalls were about 90 minutes drive north of Baton Rouge, which itself was another hour’s drive northwest of New Orleans (where we based ourselves) along the I-10.

We’ll describe the specifics of the driving directions from the I-10/I-110 junction in Baton Rouge.

So from the I-10/I-110 junction in downtown Baton Rouge, we headed north on the I-110.

The freeway eventually ended towards the north end of Baton Rouge and became the Scenic Highway 61.

We stayed on the Hwy 61 for about 25 miles until we turned left onto Hwy 66 (around 2.5 miles north of the town of St Francisville).

Clark_Creek_NA_167_03152016 - Context of the Fort Adams Pond Road passing before the Pond Store on the way to the Clark Creek Natural Area
Context of the Fort Adams Pond Road passing before the Pond Store on the way to the Clark Creek Natural Area

We then followed Hwy 66 for nearly 12.5 miles before we left the highway and veered right onto the Route 969.

Next, we followed the Route 969 for a little over 7 miles (crossing the state border between Louisiana and Mississippi) before we obeyed the brown sign for the Clark Creek Natural Area.

That sign directed us to turn left onto the Fort Adams Pond Road towards the Pond Store (a white building just off to the side of the Fort Adams Pond Road).

We had to be careful while driving the Route 969 because it contained some water-damaged sections to the road as well as a few potholes.

Clark_Creek_NA_007_03152016 - Parking at the Clark Creek Natural Area Trailhead
Parking at the Clark Creek Natural Area Trailhead

Thankfully, most of the potholes were filled in.

In just under a half-mile on the Fort Adams Pond Road, we reached the Clark Creek Waterfalls Trailhead.

That was where we saw plenty of cars already parked here during our early afternoon visit on a Tuesday in March 2016.

This drive from Baton Rouge took us around 2.5 hours.

When we were finished doing this hike, we backtracked towards Baton Rouge before continuing our long drive to Shreveport.

Clark_Creek_NA_166_03152016 - A closer look at the Pond Store (which was closed during our visit) as we made our way to the long drive to Shreveport and Bossier City in Northern Louisiana
A closer look at the Pond Store (which was closed during our visit) as we made our way to the long drive to Shreveport and Bossier City in Northern Louisiana

That drive took us about around 4 hours.

To give you a sense of geographical context, Baton Rouge was 272 miles (4 hours drive) east of Houston, Texas, 81 miles (90 minutes drive) northwest of New Orleans, and 251 miles (under 4 hours drive) southeast from Shreveport.

Long movie checking out the base of the first Clark Creek Waterfall before walking back up the trail for other views of the falls


Checking out the second Clark Creek Waterfall from the end of the wooden steps before going up the steps and checking out different views of this falls, then finally ending up at the top of the falls


360 degree sweep showing the third Clark Creek Waterfall and the surrounding cliffs and overhangs


360 degree sweep showing the fourth Clark Creek Waterfall and the cliffs and rocks around and in front of it


360 degree sweep showing the fifth Clark Creek Waterfall which was trickling

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Tagged with: clark creek, natural area, baton rouge, louisiana, natchez, waterfall, mississippi, tunica falls, wilkinson county



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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