Unparalleled nature, powerful moments in history, families and friends making memories…
From national parks to local spaces in your community, the National Park Service protects places that connect us to our past, to ourselves, and to one another through preserving nature, history, and experiences. Each person has their own special connections with certain park places that are very meaningful to them.
In 2023, we are asking you to share your park story as our National Park Service staff and partners also share theirs. Follow the conversation on National Park Service social media channels using #YourParkStory and share your own story using #MyParkStory.
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Camping, Hiking, and Nature on the Scenic Natchez Trace
Calling all avid outdoors explorers seeking adventure, or families looking to plan a memory-filled weekend trip! The Natchez Trace is just for you. There are many recreational opportunities on the historic Trace that will give you a great taste of what nature has to offer. The Natchez Trace is more than a just scenic drive, it’s the ultimate opportunity to camp, hike, and discover the beauty of the outdoors.
What better way to fully submerge into the Trace experience than camping? Camping is an exciting and relaxing way to explore the Natchez Trace Parkway and all it has to offer. There are campgrounds located within the Parkway that are free and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please note these campgrounds do not offer electricity, showers, or dump stations. You get the whole experience of being just like the original travelers of the Trace- camping primitive style.
If you’re looking for a few more amenities, that’s also an option! We can gladly suggest plenty of alternate campgrounds situated just off this 444-mile National Scenic Byway. Many of these offer niceties like electricity, showers, and dump stations.
For more information check out the complete NPS list of campground locations on and adjacent to the Parkway here.
If you plan to travel the Trace by bicycle, we also have you covered! 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)
There is no better way to experience something than to experience it firsthand…or foot. So, come hike with us! 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.
We offer several different hiking experiences. The Natchez Trace Parkway has 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 a thrilling hike 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.
And of course, we also offer self-guided nature walks. These are a perfect way to see natural, rare beauty reveal itself on the Trace at your own pace. 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 breathtaking scenes along the way. There is truly nothing more enchanting than pure nature, waterfalls, and wildlife. The Natchez Trace offers genuine opportunities to explore diverse natural environments that include wetlands, swamps, Spanish moss, hardwood forest, rock outcroppings, and overlooks.
Because almost 39,000 of the 52,000 acres of the Trace are maintained in a“natural” condition,you’ll find an abundance of forests, non-agricultural fields, and open water. From a natural resources standpoint, the Natchez Trace is exceptional. Over its length, it crosses four ecosystem provinces, eight major watersheds, and twelve physiographic regions. This type of natural beauty is hard to beat.
Along your route, we also strongly encourage you to visit the idyllic waterfalls.
Fall Hollow, milepost 391.9
Plan Your Trip
Ready to unplug? The Natchez Trace is a wondrous place to get outdoors and enjoy all that nature has to offer.
The lovely Natchez Trace Parkway is the ideal location for individuals who enjoy outdoor sports, especially fishing! The Trace has outstanding spots to go fishing now that the weather is getting warmer. Along the Natchez Trace Parkway, fishing is permitted in lakes and streams (fishing regulations vary by state.)
Fishing is the ideal activity for unwinding alone or with loved ones and company. For many Southerners, it’s a pastime, and many of our guests enjoy dipping their lines in the water in the hopes of reeling in a large one. Your earnings can either be returned or used to cook a fresh dinner. In either case, it’s a beloved pastime or method to unwind.
So, venture outside to enjoy the sunshine, catch some fish, and take in all that the Natchez Trace Parkway has to offer. We have you covered if you’re interested in additional outdoor activities like horseback riding, hiking, bicycling, hunting, or enjoying the ocean.
Your trip can be planned right now! Don’t miss out on the dogwoods, the enlightening history, the mouthwatering cuisine, or the enjoyable neighborhood festivities along this stunning 444-mile scenic byway. Here you can get a free copy of the Natchez Trace Visitors Guide.
Yes! You can Recharge Your EV and Travel The Trace
Yes! You can Recharge Your EV and Travel The Trace
Recharge on the Natchez Trace Parkway
While the popularity of driving electric cars is growing, charging stations are few and far between. Recharging on the Natchez Trace Parkway has been made easy and stress-free with over 10 charging options from Tennessee to Mississippi. Traveling outside of a big city can be difficult and inconvenient when driving an electric car. We at the Natchez Trace Parkway are here to ease your anxiety, because throughout the 444 miles, 3 states, and over 20 communities along the route, we have the necessary charging stations for YOU!
Ready for an authentic experience? Then it’s time to visit Mississippi’s state capital, Jackson the “City with Soul.”
Jackson abounds with cultural and historic attractions, the kind that are iconic in our nation’s history such as the Medgar Evers Home Museum and the Mississippi State Capitol. The Mississippi Freedom Trail, which spans the entire state and contains several sites significant to the civil rights movement, meanders through the city as well.
LeFleur’s Bluff State Park is a lovely setting for the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science, which offers hiking trails and an aquarium. Its lush green space is a nice compliment to the Natchez Trace Parkway’s sense of nature. You can also find fishing, picnic areas, nature paths, and 28 sites for tent and RV camping in the area.
Jackson’s museums are where it excels. You can explore many significant facets of American history through a local perspective. I began at the International Museum of Muslim Cultures, which links Islamic civilizations worldwide with the earliest enslaved Muslims who came to Mississippi plantations. The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Mississippi History Museum and Civil Rights Museum tell the stories that touch the heart and soul.
For those ready to dive into the culinary scene, Jackson is a city for foodies. You’ll be in heaven if you enjoy Southern comfort cuisine as much as I do. Many eateries have been around for years. Comeback sauce, a Southern favorite, is thought to have origins at the 1935 Greek-style eatery Mayflower Cafe. Both Big Apple Inn and Bully’s Restaurant are well-known for their pig’s ears sandwiches and award-winning soul food, respectively. But it’s not just dated restaurants. Parlor Market and The Iron Horse Grill serve contemporary cuisine in historical settings. The Fondren neighborhood’s Walker’s Drive-In is also popular local hangouts with excellent options.
Jacksonians are enthusiastic people with a winning attitude. You’ll feel right at home because of their intrinsic feeling of genuine welcome! Because of its attractions, award-winning chefs, unique restaurants, various exciting events, three historic cultural districts, the abundance of visual and performing and trendy nightlife, Jackson is the perfect destination for your next adventure.