Red Creek, part of the Pascagoula watershed, flows in southeasterly direction through southern Mississippi, eventually emptying into Black Creek, which itself shortly empties into the Pascagoula River. The Creek is shallow and broad for the most part, with tannin colored water. The flow is normally gentle, with some logs and strainers providing obstacles, especially at low water levels. There are numerous white sandbars which accommodate overnight stops, or make good places for paddling breaks. The Creek enters the DeSoto National Forest about 5 miles above Ramsey Springs, and remains within it for another 8 miles or so. There is a minimum of development along the banks, with few visible structures to detract from views of the mixed hardwood and longleaf pine flora.
The Creek can be paddled from State Highway 26 to US 49 (9.5 miles), or down to City Bridge, which adds another 6 miles. Depending on rainfall during the late summer and Fall months, water levels are often low enough to warrant some pullovers, and bottoming out above City Bridge.
While these are our usual trips, our group of 10 from the Bayou Haystackers (LA) put in this November at City Bridge, and paddled an easy 2 days down to Ramsey Springs Bridge (hwy. 15), a distance of almost 14 miles. While the water was relatively low (4.0 ft on the Vestry gage), we were able to paddle most of the distance with few pullovers.
While the weather can be cool at this time of year (even in Mississippi), we were fortunate enough to have ideal paddling weather for both days, even though the water temperature at this time of year does not encourage swimming, by choice.
The Ramsey Springs takeout is a little steep, and best done with 2 man carries up the embankment of loose sand. Below Ramsey Springs it is possible to continue on, with takeouts at Vestry (15 miles), Hwy 57 (4 miles), and Hwy 614 (16 miles). According to Earnest Herdons book Canoeing in Mississippi, the Creek becomes wider and deeper past Vestry, becoming more swamp-like as it head towards the Gulf. ts not clear how frequent sandbars are in the lower portion of the creek, or how far power boats can come up the Creek.
All of this will give some of us an excuse for a second Red Creek venture in the near future. In addition to this, I later found out that there is an actual Ramsey Springs, the water from which was marketed in the 19th and early 20th Centuries as a cure for any number of aliments. It was the site of a resort hotel in the early 20th century where residents came to take the waters. No trace of any of this was seen by us, but it would be another reason to schedule an additional trip.
While there is no outfitter on Red Creek itself, there are several outfitters in the area that will rent boats, as well as run shuttles.
Camping options include developed sites in Flint Creek Water Park (Hwy 29 North, Wiggins, MS), or free primitive camping within the POW camp, run by the US Forest Service near Saucier, MS.
US 49 South from Wiggins, MS. Turn east on wire Road, and north on City Bridge Road.
Earnest Herndon - Canoeing in Mississippi