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. There are over 20 miles of trails in the park which offer great opportunities for birding. Over 240 species of birds have been reported from the park. Substantial numbers of neotropical migrants can be found during the spring and fall migrations. Summer breeding birds include cerulean, Swainson’s and hooded warblers, Mississippi kites, anhinga, yellow-crowned night-herons and great egrets. In winter, visit Poplar Tree Lake for waterfowl and the boat ramp to the Mississippi River for gulls, ducks, and geese flying over. Owls, woodpeckers, wild turkey and other resident birds are common year-round. For more locations, VIEW FLYER.
The bike trail is a five mile intermediate trail with a little bit of everything: flat areas, smooth pavement, switchbacks and some great turns. It’s also well marked so you won’t get lost. It’s short, but has good elevation gain without ever getting too steep. Most of the trail is along a paved closed road before narrowing to drop off the Chickasaw Bluffs. If you are looking for a great ride to get away from the city and weave your way through a large forest, look no further. This route can be traveled with a road bike but expect a few rough patches of pavement. A cross bike or mountain bike would be a better choice. Portions of the trail by Shelter 2 can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers.
Trail Length: 5 miles
Trail Rating: Intermediate
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. Personally owned boats with an electric motor are allowed on the lakes for a small launch fee, but gasoline motors are not allowed. Contact the park office for information about guided canoe and pontoon boat programs.
Poplar Tree Lake (100 acre) provides decent bank and boat fishing for bass, Bluegill and catfish. Some outstanding Largemouth Bass have been taken from the lake. Fish length and creel limits are posted. A special lake permit fee is required for fishing and a launch fee is charged for personal jon boats, canoes and kayaks.
Piersol Lake (32 acre) provides good fishing for bass, Bluegill and catfish. Black Bass, Bluegill and Redear Sunfish restrictions do not apply on Piersol Lake. A special lake permit fee is required for fishing and a launch fee is charged for personal jon boats, canoes and kayaks.
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. The Chickasaw Bluff Trail offers a longer trek while the Pioneer Springs Trail and Woodland Trail offer shorter jaunts. The multi-use Horse Trail is open to horses and hikers, and meanders along a bluff with the largest loop overlooking Poplar Tree Lake. The Horse Trail closes for inclement weather and wet conditions. The multi-use Bike Trail weaves through the forest and accommodates strollers. Trail and topography maps are available at the visitors center.
Woodland Trail — 3.5 Miles — Natural Surface — moderate
Chickasaw Bluff Trail — 8.0 Miles — Natural Surface — Moderate
Pioneer Springs Trail — 4.0 Miles — Natural Surface — Moderate
Bicycle Trail — 5.0 Miles — Paved Surface — Moderate
Horse trail/Multi use trail — 8.5 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy
The eight and one half mile Horse Trail is open to horses and hikers. It meanders along a bluff with the largest loop overlooking Poplar Tree Lake. Rental horses are not available. Visitors must bring their own horse. The horse trail closes for inclement weather and wet conditions. Please call 901-876-5215 to see if the trail is open. Trail and topography maps are available at the visitors center.