It’s officially springtime and the Natchez Trace Parkway is set to bloom into full beauty as the sun peeks out and the temperatures rise. This means it’s the perfect time to shake off the winter blues and have a look at the Trace’s most prized natural treasures – the blooming dogwoods.
Spring is the perfect time to visit the Natchez Trace for dogwood blooms. We are quickly approaching April, when the dogwoods reach their peak. To get the best look at the blooming flowers, take a break from driving and experience more outdoor recreational activities, like cycling or hiking.
That’s right — one of the best ways to enjoy dogwoods along the Trace is by cycling. There’s one thing all riders agree: the Parkway offers an easy-going, easy-to-love experience. The National Park Service has designated the entire 444 miles as a bicycle route, and with light automotive traffic, low speed limits of 50 miles per hour, and no stop signs or intersections, bikers can relax and enjoy an exceptionally scenic roadway.
Commercial traffic is prohibited from the Trace, and the surrounding land is unspoiled by commercial signage or development. The Parkway offers up gorgeous vistas at every turn, from forests to farmlands to rivers and lakes. Those who have biked the Natchez Trace suggest that planning is the key to a great experience.
If pedaling isn’t your first choice in transportation, break out your most comfortable shoes and take a walk through history. The 450-mile foot trail that became known as the Natchez Trace was the lifeline through the Old Southwest. You can experience the dogwood blooms along portions of the journey the way earlier travelers did – on foot.
There are several separate paths on the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail totaling over 60 miles of walking and hiking opportunities. It is open to the public and a great way to get a closer look at dogwoods and other springtime natural beauties along the Trace.
Here are a few trails you may want to check out:
Potkopinu Trail – Experience history as you walk along this quiet, three-mile “sunken” trail, altered by the feet of thousands of travelers. There are some shallow water crossings, so pay attention to the effects of warm spring showers.
Rocky Springs Trail – Near Port Gibson, this section offers ten miles of trails through hills and hollows near the Mississippi River. Like hiking? The Rocky Springs Campground is accessible to hikers only and is a beautiful spot for a picnic.
Yockanookany Trail – The Yockanookany Trail is 24 miles long and passes through a variety of areas of historical significance and natural beauty in what used to be known as the territory of West Florida. It is perfect for hiking and in some areas you can horseback ride!
While the springtime dogwoods may be the stars of the show, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the numerous other flowers that are native to the trace. Here you can find some great information on common wildflowers along the Trace from our friends at the National Park Service.
If you’re thinking you might need to get out and enjoy spring on the Natchez Trace Parkway, now’s the time to plan your trip! Don’t miss the dogwoods or the interesting history, savory delicacies, or fun community events along this 444-mile scenic byway.