Nature on the Natchez Trace

For a true picture of the great outdoors on the Natchez Trace, you might paint by numbers like these:

  • 136 types of birds (and still counting), from jewel-toned hummingbirds to lumbering flocks of wild turkey to graceful, long-limbed blue heron. The Parkway is a birder’s delight.
  • 2202 types of plant species, including hardwoods, conifers, old growth and new, from lacy spring dogwood blooms to knobby cypress needs breaking black swamp water to the blaze of fall colors on towering maples and oaks.
  • 205 mammals, herptiles, and fish species, including deer, fox, armadillo and coyote, and eight species federally listed as threatened or endangered. Altogether, a thriving ecosystem protected from commercial encroachment.
  • 15 nature trails for your enjoyment
  • 64 miles of national scenic trails; 28 different hiking and self-guided trails for a total of 100 miles of hiking heaven.

If you wanted to paint a picture of the Parkway outdoors, you might also use a magic-like the disappearing act of the “Sunken Trace,” a portion of the Old Trace pounded so deep by eons of human and animal traffic that riders on horseback could (and did) disappear from view.

Cypress Swamp, milepost 122
Cypress Swamp

Or you might choose mystery-like the curious enchantment of Cypress Swamp, where those knobby cypress knees share dark waters with reclusive alligators, which may be spied upon by diligent detectives from the elevated boardwalk above.

Or maybe you prefer the majesty of endless acres of brilliant blue, from Ross Barnett Reservoir to Colbert’s Ferry to Pickwick Lake, where blue herons skim the surface and bald eagles sail the deep blue canopy overhead.

Magical, mysterious, majestic–however you picture the outdoor beauty of the Natchez Trace Parkway, be sure you picture a spectacular view around every bend, and a place so unspoiled you can easily feel the centuries slip away, not to mention everyday cares and troubles. The natural world of the Natchez Trace is truly picture perfect.

To get the most out of your Parkway explorations, we suggest you bring binoculars and hiking boots. And yes, you’ll want to have a camera to capture all that perfection, and for souvenirs to go with great memories!

The Sunken Trace at milepost 41.5
The Sunken Trace, milepost 41.5

Winding 444 miles through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, the Parkway offers so many beautiful spots to enjoy nature’s beauty.

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