Camping, Hiking, and Nature on the Scenic Natchez Trace

Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace is more than a just scenic drive. It’s the ultimate place to camp, hike, and discover nature and wildlife. Whether you’re an avid outdoor explorer seeking adventure, or a parent looking to plan a family-friendly weekend trip, there are many recreational opportunities on the historic Trace.

Camping

Camping is a fun and relaxing way to explore the Natchez Trace Parkway. There are campgrounds located within the Parkway that are free and available on a first come, first serve basis. These campgrounds do not offer electricity, showers, or dump stations. Just like the original travelers of the Trace, you’ll be camping primitive style.

If you’re looking for a few more amenities, that’s also an option! You can find plenty of alternate campgrounds situated just off this 444-mile National Scenic Byway. Many of these offer niceties like electricity, showers, and dump stations.

You can check out the complete NPS list of campground locations on and adjacent to the Parkway here.

Those who are cyclists and plan to travel the Trace by bicycle, you may be interested in the bicycle-only campgrounds. By using the bicycle-only campgrounds in conjunction with other campgrounds and 18 communities near the Trace, you can plan your trip to ride between 30 and 60 miles each day. Each Parkway campground provides tent sites, picnic tables, and fire grates throughout the year.

Jackson Falls, milepost 404.7 (photo: Nashville Explorers Club)

Hiking

The 450-mile foot trail that became known as the Natchez Trace was the lifeline through the Old Southwest. You can experience portions of that journey the way earlier travelers did – on foot.

For your hiking enjoyment, the Natchez Trace Parkway offers over 25 nature and guided trails that range from 1/8 to 2.5 miles. You’ll find numerous hiking sections of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail connected by the Parkway, totaling over 60 miles.

Experience hiking fun on the Potkopinu Trail or the Blackland Prairie Trail along the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail. For a truly unforgettable experience, try horseback riding available within certain areas of the trail.

In addition to the National Scenic Trail, there are self-guided nature walks that offer natural, rare beauty. Many of the interpretive sites and attractions provide hiking trails for an incredible trek through history and scenic charm.

The Sunken Trace, milepost 41.5

Nature and Waterfalls

As you walk along the Old Trace and follow the footsteps of those that have walked hundreds of years before you, discover pure nature, waterfalls, and wildlife along the way. The Natchez Trace offers genuine opportunities to explore diverse natural environments that include wetlands, swamps, Spanish moss, hardwood forest, rock outcroppings, and overlooks.

Out of the 52,000 acres of Trace, almost 39,000 of those are maintained in a “natural” condition. That means you’ll find bountiful forests, non-agricultural fields, and open water. The Natchez Trace is exceptional from a natural resources standpoint. Over its length it crosses four ecosystem provinces, eight major watersheds, and twelve physiographic regions.

We also strongly encourage you to visit the sparkling waterfalls along the route.

Fall Hollow, milepost 391.9

Plan Your Trip

The Natchez Trace Parkway is an amazing place to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful nature. Ready to plan your trip? Download your free Visitors Guide, watch videos, and visit our Interactive Map to create your personal travel itinerary. You can also give us a call at 866.TRACE56 (872-2356)

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