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The Mississippi River has been flowing across North American for hundreds of thousands of years. Over time, however, its course changes or adjusts, sometimes quickly as a result of geologic events like earthquakes or slowly as a result of erosion. It happened in the mid 1800's, and a small section of the river near Memphis, Tennessee was cut off creating Horn Lake. Nestled in the Hills Region of Mississippi and just crossing the state line into West Tennessee, Horn Lake is uniquely situated to provide weekend respite to the weary city dweller or even a quiet place for commuters at the end of every day.
Horn Lake is an ox bow lake. Named after their distinct curved shapes, ox bow lakes are formed when erosion separates a segment of a river from its main course. Primarily in DeSoto County, Mississippi, the 1,200 acre lake touches part of Shelby County, Tennessee. Much smaller North Horn Lake is entirely in Tennessee. DeSoto County is also home to Arkabutla Lake, a much larger recreation lake managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
A boat ramp provides access to Horn Lake, and it has a good reputation with anglers especially those fishing with children. There is shore access for fishing, and the pumpkinseed sunfish and black and white crappie are prevalent. The lake is also home to healthy populations of bluegill, largemouth bass, and channel and flathead catfish. The lake is large enough for both anglers and boaters, and there is plenty of room for canoes, kayaks and power boats.
Perhaps the most striking feature of Horn Lake, however, is its proximity to Memphis. The City of Horn Lake in DeSoto County is actually considered a suburb of Memphis, and it is just a five minute drive to Memphis making it a very manageable commute. There is real estate for sale both in the City of Horn Lake and around the lake itself. The lake is relatively undeveloped so commuters or visitors staying at one of the lake's vacation rentals feel like they are more isolated than they actually are. The City of Horn Lake has restaurants, shopping, various accommodations and any amenities a visitor might need.
Memphis' amenities are almost limitless. The area around Memphis was originally inhabited by the Chickasaw Indians. Spanish Explorer Hernando DeSoto crossed the Mississippi River in 1541 near the area that would later become Memphis and is credited as the first European discoverer. He was followed by the French and later the English. Memphis was established in 1819, and its nearness to the Mississippi River meant it was always an important industrial and trading city. It was known as "King Cotton" and later as the "Birthplace of the Blues." Beale Street in particular is given credit as the starting place for the uniquely American music. Musicians and visitors still flock to Beale Street to bask in the "Soul of Old Memphis." It isn't possible to mention Memphis without listing Graceland, Elvis's home, as one of its attractions. Millions of people make the pilgrimage to Graceland every year to pay homage to "The King." Memphis, however, has so much more to offer. In addition to its rich music history, there are museums, shops and restaurants of every kind. Horn Lake is just a short drive from all of it.
Whether it is for just a week or for a lifetime, Horn Lake is a welcome pause in all the activity Memphis and the Hills Region of Mississippi have to offer.
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