The scenic Natchez Trace Parkway is known for its beautiful nature along the 444-mile route. Take a look at the waterfalls you can discover during your outdoor adventure!
Jackson Falls – Named for Andrew Jackson, the falls are on the intermittent Jackson Branch that empties into Duck River. Take out your camera to capture the sparkling water against the rocks. A steep trail takes you to a clear pool at the base of these falls. You won’t want to miss seeing this waterfall!
Fall Hollow – Fall Hollow is just off the Parkway. Fall Hollow is just north of the US 412 intersection. A path and a set of wooden bridges take you across the small creeks. The path ends at a deck where you can look down at the largest waterfall. Past this point the path becomes very rocky and steep. Fall Hollow is simply gorgeous.
Owens Creek – Owens Creeks Falls drops into a rock overhang. Sand gathers at the bottom of the pool. This was a landmark for early Natchez Trace travelers, and is a stopping point for drivers and hikers.
The Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail leaves the parkway and travels past Owens Creek Falls to a small picnic area. The trail heads in both directions from the parkway for extended hikes. Come see this pretty waterfall located northeast of Natchez.
Please note the flow of the waterfalls will vary throughout the year. Want to see more beautiful waterfall photos? Get social and follow The Natchez Trace on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!
Watch our YouTube video to see more you can enjoy on the Natchez Trace Parkway:
Follow the Path of the Kaintucks on the Natchez Trace
How much time to you spend on your daily commute? If you’re lucky you may work from home, or maybe you hop in your car for a few minutes everyday. Even the longest of commutes rarely top an hour or so. So how would you feel if your commute took a bit longer- say over a month?
Well in the old days of the Natchez Trace Parkway, thousands of rugged individuals made this commute year after year. These travelers were referred to as “Kaintucks,” and they were some of the toughest souls to tread the nearly 450 mile trail from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN.
These were the days before the advent of the famous steam engine and paddle-wheeled boats, which became famous all along the Mississippi river. Kaintucks were more familiar with flatboats, a simple craft that used the river’s current to travel from as far as modern-day midwestern United States. The boats were perfect for carrying huge loads of timber, coal, cattle, and whatever else was in demand. Their flat bottoms made the craft ideal for navigating seasonally low waters during the warmer months.
The Kaintucks would guide their boats hundreds of miles downriver to Natchez or New Orleans. There they would sell their cargo, and often their boats. Inexpensive to build and without a power source to head back against the currents, the boats were usually scrapped for their timber. This left their captains and crew without a way home other than their own two feet.
So how long was their commute? The Kaintucks took the Trace at least 440 miles north to Nashville!
Along the way these travelers encountered all kinds of hardship. Whether they were battling tent-battering summer storms, cold rivers and swamps, or rival traders, the trip wasn’t for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, more than 10,000 Kaintucks made this journey in the year 1810 alone!
Nowadays, the Natchez Trace Parkway is far less of a challenging road to travel. In fact, it’s extremely enjoyable! You can spend your days leisurely soaking in the gorgeous scenery, and dedicating your evenings in a cozy, friendly B&B in one of the many Trace communities.
The best part is you can still “trace” the footsteps of traders and pioneers that walked before you many years ago. Take for instance the Sunken Trace, where you can literally put your feet in the deep worn paths left over from wagons, feet, and horses’s hooves. Then, hop back in your comfy car or motorcycle and enjoy a luxurious cruise to your next Trace attraction! Don’t forget to stop for a tasty bite to eat in the communities dotted along this 444-mile scenic byway.
So next time you head to work, remember the Kaintucks and their epic commute. Once you’re properly thankful for your far easier journey, consider taking a relaxing trip along the Natchez Trace Parkway. It’s truly an incredible place to rediscover the stories of those that tamed the territory so many years ago!
There are many exciting and memorable places to visit along the historic 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway. From Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, you’ll have to the opportunity to take a break, stretch your legs and visit some extraordinary places, filled with beauty and 10,000 years of American history.
Natchez to Ridgeland:
Emerald Mound – Located at milepost 10.3, it’s the second largest Mississippian period ceremonial mound in the country. It’s also the largest mound along the Parkway. Take yourself back in time and imagine what it was like to live along the Natchez Trace at Emerald Mound.
Mount Locust Inn – Located at milepost 15.5, Mount Locust Inn is the only remaining inn on the Natchez Trace. It’s open year round (except on Christmas Day) and you’ll love learning more about the Trace’s history from the park rangers. Mount Locust allows you to see what the “Kaintucks” may have experienced at the stands.
The Sunken Trace – Located at milepost 41. 5, the Sunken Trace is a highly popular spot. The trail is sunken due to thousands of travelers walking on the eroded soil. Travel the Sunken Trace and imagine what it would have been like thousands of years ago.
Ridgeland to Tupelo:
The Ross Barnett Reservoir is a must-see in the Ridgeland area. This beautiful, man-made body of water parallels the parkway for about eight miles. Relax, watch the sunset on the water and even fish. Enjoy a walk and take in the views at Reservoir Overlook at milepost 105.6.
Cypress Swamp – Located at milepost 122.0, walk on boardwalks through a water tupelo/bald cypress swamp. It’s a great spot for taking pictures!
Little Mountain Overlook at Jeff Busby – This is one of the highest points in Mississippi along the Parkway. While the Jeff Busby campground itself is closed, you can still enjoy the picnic area and the stunning overlook, of course.
Bynum Mounds – This period burial mound site is located at milepost 232.4. The archeological site consisted of six mounds, five of which were excavated in the 1940’s. Two of the largest have been restored, and you can see them today. The interpretive exhibits tell the story of early residents of the Natchez Trace.
Chickasaw Village Site – This archeological site is at milepost 261.8 and reflects the village that stood here. See the outlines of Chickasaw homes and walk a short nature trail and learn about the area. If you’re interested in a longer walk, the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail is available.
Tupelo to North Alabama:
Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center – Visit Tupelo at milepost 266 to learn all about the Parkway! You can find a twelve-minute orientation film, interpretive displays about the cultural and natural history of the Trace and even a bookstore. This is the place where you can get your passport stamps for the Parkway, Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, Tupelo National Battlefield, and Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield.
The Old Trace – Find 13 Confederate grave sites at the Old Trace at milepost 269.14. The grave sites of these 13 unknown soldiers is an interesting places to stop.
Pharr Mounds – Visit milepost 286.7 to see eight mounds between two – 18 feet high! Over 2,000 years ago, Pharr Mounds was a trading hub and very active during its time. Learn about the interesting mound building process and village life in this area.
Colbert Ferry – In the early 1800s, George Colbert operated a stand and a ferry at this spot. Today you can enjoy a picnic by the river, fish and boat on the Tennessee River. Visit Colbert Ferry at milepost 327.3 for a fun time.
Rock Spring Nature Trail – Located at milepost 330.2, this short half mile loop trail takes you past Colbert Creek. Walk the stepping stones and enjoy the beautiful nature.
Fall Hollow Trail – Love the view and sounds of waterfalls? Take a short walk at milepost 391.9 to view this pretty waterfall on the Natchez Trace.
The Tobacco Farm and Old Trace Drive – Located at milepost 401.4, this is a great place to learn about growing and drying tobacco. The two mile drive on the Old Trace has great views of the forest, and is one of two places you can be on the “Old Trace” without walking.
Jackson Falls – Located at milepost 404.7, this is a popular walk along the Parkway. You’ll find yourself walking down a steep trail into a small gorge – it’s well worth the walk! There are picnic tables and even a short trail to Baker Bluff Overlook.
Birdsong Hollow – This spot provides spectacular views of the double-arched bridge on the Parkway. Did you know the bridge rises 155 feet above the valley below? It’s a must-see.
Winding 444 miles through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, there are so many places to make a stop on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Follow us on Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!
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.
As we all know, it has been pretty cold along the Natchez Trace Parkway. We recently made the case for why winter is a great time to visit the Trace, and it seems many folks agree! In fact, the Natchez Trace saw nearly 700,000 visitors during the last month of 2014. That’s an increase of over 200,000 visitors from the same time last year. That figure also puts the 444-mile scenic byway on track to nearly 7 million visitors for the year, and be quite the contender in the Top 10 Most Visited National Park Service Sites (again!) Those aren’t bad numbers to kick off the new year and begin the celebration of the National Park Services Centennial in 2016.
Still, there’s more to the story. In January 2015, Newsmax featured the Natchez Trace Parkway as one of 6 travel tips for those visiting the Nashville, TN area. Of course, if you’ve heard a little bit about the Trace before now, you are well aware that there is far more to the Trace beyond just its northern endpoint. There are 18 communities from Natchez to Nashville, and there’s plenty to see and do in each of them!
Let’s start out just outside of Nashville, in a town called Franklin, Tennessee. Here you’ll find incredible shopping and dining downtown, and the history of the Civil War Battle of Franklin for those that are interested in history along the Trace.
You’ll also find quite the gem a few miles further down the Natchez Trace Parkway in the community of Leiper’s Fork, TN. Here you can take in the beauty of Moonshine Hill Inn, a stunning bed and breakfast set on 20 acres of rolling hills. It’s truly an incredible place- a recent guest visiting all the way from China called Moonshine Hill Inn, “more beautiful than heaven.” If you can pry your bones away from the toasty fireplace at Moonshine Hill, there’s plenty more to be seen further down America’s most beautiful scenic byway.
Before leaving Tennessee, don’t miss Swan View Overlook near Hohenwald, Tennessee. This overlook is located on the Natchez Trace Parkway at milepost 392.5. The view is beautiful! After all, Hohenwald is the highest town between New Orleans and Chicago.
As you head through Alabama, make a pit stop near Tuscumbia, Alabama to visit Helen Keller’s childhood home Ivy Green. The house and gardens have been meticulously maintained, and visitors can see both the birthplace cottage where Helen did her work, as well as the main house furnished with the original family furniture. Not surprisingly, Tuscumbia’s Spring Park draws up to 100,000 visitors every year.
For a look at plantation life near the Mississippi River, take a short detour from the Trace near Port Gibson, Mississippi. Here you can marvel at Windsor Ruins, an incredible antebellum home situated near the key trade routes of the Mississippi River. The mansion, which costs over $4.5 million to build in today’s dollars, sat on over 2,600 acres and was completed in 1861. During the Civil War, the home became both a hospital and an observation post for both Union and Confederate troops, depending of course on who managed to control the area at any given time. The great home survived the war and housed notable guests such as Mark Twain, only to be burned to the ground by a careless guest’s cigar in 1890.
On the Trace, you’ll find a wealth of recreational activities, too. So now you know why this 444-mile scenic byway is finding itself on so many top lists. Maybe you should put a trip to the Natchez Trace Parkway and its communities (filled with excellent restaurants, lodging and dining) at the top of your list!
This historic, 444-mile scenic route links Natchez with Nashville and crosses some of the most beautiful terrain in the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. The Natchez Trace Parkway has been declared a National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road. Open year-round for motorists, hikers and bikers, it provides visitors the opportunity for an unhurried trip through time.
One of the more popular things to love about the Natchez Trace are the endless opportunities for outdoor fun — one in particular, camping.
There are more than a dozen campgrounds along the Natchez Trace Parkway corridor, three in the park, and many others just outside the park. The three Parkway campgrounds are free, primitive, and available on a first come, first serve basis. They don’t offer electricity, showers, or dump stations. They are spread out along the Parkway:
Camping can be a fun activity for the whole family, or a relaxing, quiet getaway for one or two. It’s all about how you want to travel and explore the great outdoors! And because39,000 acres of the Natchez Trace Parkway are maintained in a “natural” condition, your camping experience consists of bountiful forests and sparkling waterfalls. Feel free to pack a delicious lunch as you’ll find available picnic tables at various exhibits and stops.
In middle to late October, the maple, hickory, oak and other hardwood trees begin to change colors and visitors have the opportunity to view the brilliant fall foliage along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Each fall, as sunlight decreases, it signals the plant to stop producing chlorophyll. The best conditions to create fall color are when the autumn days are mild and sunny, and the evenings are cool and crisp, but not freezing. Ideal foliage is sparked by a warm, wet spring, a typical summer, and sunny autumn days with cool nights. While it is impossible to predict the peak time to see colors along the Natchez Trace, these locations and reports may help you plan your fall trip!
Locations to Enjoy the Fall Color in Tennessee:
The Old Trace Drive (milepost 375.8) provides spectacular overlooks of a hardwood forest.
Metal Ford (milepost 382.8) and Swan View Overlook (milepost 392.5) provide quick stops to view the fall colors.
Leisurely walks at Meriwether Lewis (milepost 385.9) or Fall Hollow (milepost 391.9) are great locations to enjoy the colors.
Those interested in seeing the colors more closely may find a day hike along the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail from the Garrison Creek Trailhead (milepost 427.6), or the Old Trace Trailhead (milepost 426.3) a rewarding experience.
Locations to Enjoy the Fall Color in Alabama and Mississippi:
The Freedom Hills Overlook (milepost 317.0) provides a spectacular overlook of a hardwood forest.
A short leisurely walk on the Rock Spring Nature Trail is an easy way to get out and see the colors more closely.
The view from Little Mountain Overlook in the Jeff Busby Campground (milepost 193.1), provides a wonderful quick stop to view the fall colors.
Those interested in seeing the colors more closely may find a day hike along the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail from the Old Town Overlook Trailhead (milepost 263.9), or the Beech Springs Trailhead (milepost 266.0) a rewarding experience.
Color Report for November 1, 2017
The fall colors are in full bloom and at their peak north of the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9). From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee fall colors are approaching peak color. They are about 40% of their full color. We expect these to be in full color in about a week..
The Tupelo area is finally showing some dark reds, light oranges and yellows along the Parkway. The color is about 30% in this area.
Color Report for October 25, 2017
If you want to see fall colors this weekend the northern end of the parkway is the place to be. With cooler temperatures in the northern end of the park this past week the colors have started to show through. The fall colors are showing from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) north with colors at about 50-55%of their peak color. This is quickly approaching peak color for this area. From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 30% of their full color. The Tupelo area is still only showing a low percentage of color change with light yellows and reds along the Parkway.
Color Report for October 19, 2017
The colors have not changed all that much from last week. Unfortunately the leaves that were light yellow last week are falling to the ground this week. The fall colors are showing from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) north with colors at about 30%of their peak color. From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 20% of their full color.
Color Report for October 12, 2017
The fall colors are showing from the Meriwether Lewis site (milepost 385.9) north with colors at about 30%of their peak color. From Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3) north into Tennessee trees are about 20% of their full color. Tupelo area is just starting to see some of the light oranges and yellows appear along the Parkway.
Color Report for October 5, 2017
The dogwoods and other trees are just beginning to change along the Parkway in Tennessee. From Meriwether Lewis (milepost 385.9) north to the terminus, colors are at about 10-20 % of their peak. Please remember that fall colors can change rapidly, and leaf color will vary widely along the 444-mile length of the Parkway.
You’re also welcome to contact the park at 1-800-305-7417 for the most up-to-date color report.
The Natchez Trace offers genuine opportunities to explore diverse natural environments that include wetlands, swamps, Spanish moss, hardwood forest, rock outcroppings, and overlooks. In some places you can even walk along the Old Trace itself and follow the footsteps of those that have walked hundreds, and even thousands of years before you.
We strongly encourage you to visit the sparkling waterfalls for a relaxing, scenic hiking adventure. For a hike through history and culture, visit the interpretive sites and exhibits. Winding 444 miles through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, you’ll findnatural beauty all along the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Hiking along the Natchez Trace Parkway is most popular during spring and summer, but generally temperate weather makes it enjoyable year round. No matter when or where you decide to go, one thing is for sure: you’ll have an awesome experience.
Natchez Trace Parkway Employees Receive Safety, Health, and Wellness Recognition
TUPELO, MS: As part of the National Park Services’ strategy to enhance employee safety, the Natchez Trace Parkway’s Safety, Health, and Wellness Committee developed an Award Coin program. This year, 21 employees received coins. Employees are recognized for providing visitor assistance, improving ATV/UTV safety plans, demonstrating the proper use of a chainsaw brake, adding shade canopies to riding mowers, reporting unsafe work conditions on and off duty, promoting a safe environment, and consistently demonstrating safety leadership.
“Ensuring employee safety is our number one priority,” stated Superintendent Mary Risser. “We want every one of our employees to go home at the end of the work day. We recognize employees for taking initiatives such as reporting issues on the Parkway that could affect employee and visitor safety, implementing safe procedures and improving working conditions, recognizing and reporting work hazards, training new employees on situational awareness, organizing employee community fitness opportunities, and more. Employees can accumulate the coins and exchange them for either a cash or time off award.”
The National Park Service (Service) implemented a new Safety, Health, and Wellness Strategy (Strategy) two years ago. The Strategy provides the framework for creating a sustainable culture of safety, health, and wellness to protect and empower our employees’ input on improving the safety culture across the Service. The new Strategy includes leadership, management, and employee expectations, tools, and a way to measure performance. With this Strategy, we seek to build into that culture a personal and organized commitment to Safety, Health, and Wellness.
“All employees must recognize and embrace their roles, responsibilities, and accountability for their personal safety, health, and wellness, as well as that of their co-workers,” explained the Committee Chair Maggie Walker. “Employees are also expected to be assertive when actions by others could lead to negative outcomes. If they see something, they should say something.”
MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, and TENNESSEE – Did you know that crash rates are three times higher at night? Did you know on the Natchez Trace Parkway 33% of all serious injury crashes and fatalities occur at night when visitation is the lowest? October is a good time to talk about the risks associated with night driving because days are getting shorter and daylight savings time is nearing an end. You and your families will be driving more in the dark for the next few months and the risk of being involved in a serious motor vehicle collision increases.
There are a number of reasons why collisions increase at night. Research shows that a driver’s field of view is narrowed to areas only illuminated by headlights, and depth perception and vision can be compromised. Fatigue is also a factor and is caused by sleep-deprivation and body-clock disruption due to the end of daylight savings time. The ability to sustain attention, see, and react to hazards decreases when drivers are drowsy. “We all know deer are more active this time of year,” said Chief Ranger Sarah Davis. “Being vigilant and driving slower speeds will reduce the chance for a collision.”
Parkway Rangers suggest these following tips to help keep you safe at night:
Adjust your speed for the range of your headlights; use high beams when possible
Keep your eyes moving
Watch for cars and deer on hilltops and curves
Try not to look directly into the headlights of oncoming traffic; blinding glare can cause distraction
The Natchez Trace Parkway is popular for RVers, motorcyclists, cyclists, and travelers alike. No commercial traffic is allowed on the Trace, and its smooth roadway and 50 MPH speed limit makes it a leisurely travel experience. The 444 mile scenic route takes you through woodlands, meadows, and hills, past waterfalls, historic sites, and across rivers and streams. Indians, explorers, frontiersmen, soldiers, boatmen, bandits, adventurers, and pilgrims have walked its length. Traveling it with a recreational vehicle (RV) is an exciting and memorable experience.
RVs are a popular way to see the Parkway for many reasons. Frequent pullouts provided at historic and scenic points of interest will accommodate even the largest RV. Plus, there are free campgrounds along the Trace on a first come basis. Commercial campgrounds can be found just off the Parkway all along its route.
Most stops along the Natchez Trace Parkway are accessible to RVs, with the exception of those marked “no circular drive”. The following sites are not accessible to RVs:
Grindstone Ford/Mangum Mound at milepost 45.7 (height restriction of 11 feet 6 inches)
Twenty-mile Bottom Overlook at milepost 278.4
Old Trace Drive at milepost 375.8
Devil’s Backbone State Recreation Area at milepost 394
Old Trace Drive at milepost 401.4
The length restriction for RVs is 55 feet, including a tow vehicle, and the height restriction is 14 feet. The Parkway can accommodate an RV weighing up to 40,000 pounds.
So why should you try exploring the Natchez Trace in an RV?
The Nature: If you’re interested in the great outdoors, a RV is a great way to vacation. You can tour famous landmarks, visit state and national parks off the Trace, and simply enjoy fresh air and natural settings. Take a hike. Ride your bike. Get some exercise or simply do nothing, except your surroundings, of course.
Autumn is a great time to visit the Trace and experience the gorgeous fall foliage as well. As the maple, hickory, oak and other hardwood trees change colors, the 444-mile route paints a stunning color backdrop for its visitors.
The Campgrounds: There are more than a dozen campgrounds along the Natchez Trace Parkway corridor, three in the park, and many others just outside the park. The three Parkway campgrounds are free, primitive, and available on a first come, first serve basis. Keep in mind: they do not offer electricity, showers, or dump stations.
Check NPS’ complete updated list of all the campgrounds along the Parkway for the locations and services offered by private and public campgrounds.
The Comforts of Home: With a RV vacation, you can have the best of both worlds. You can enjoy the great outdoors with more comforts than tent camping. Whether you own a RV or try a rental, most RVs are well equipped. You’ll likely have a kitchen with microwave, fridge and stove, television, beds, living and dining areas, and a bathroom with shower. Many RVs have slide out rooms that increase the living area. You can sit outside under your awning, get out of the rain if the weather changes, and turn on the A.C. if it gets too warm.
The Family: Family members of all ages tend to connect with each other when they are away from their normal routine enjoying a simpler lifestyle. While the RV is comfortable, it’s a small living area for large families. If you are renting, bear this in mind in choosing the size of your rental RV. During the day, spend time outdoors or in different activities. There are many fun recreational activities along the Natchez Trace!
The Kids: A RV vacation can be a fantastic way to travel with children. They can go out to play or take part in campground activities. There are likely to be other kids to meet and new places to explore. Children of all ages will enjoy an old-fashioned campfire complete with stories, songs and stargazing. And most kids think it’s pretty cool to be in a “home on wheels.” RVing tends to bring the family closer together with more communication and the sharing of good times.
The Affordability: The question of whether it’s cheaper to take a RV vacation doesn’t have a “one size fits all” answer. It depends on the type of vacation you want to take, as well as the way in which you plan to RV. You can compare the costs of renting a suitable RV to the costs of hotels, airfare or other means of travel. Many visitors like to cook and roast s’mores and hotdogs over campfires–not only is this affordable, but it adds to the RVing experience!
The Driving Experience: Driving yourself gives you control over where you go and the pace of your travel. You don’t have the hassle of airline counters and keeping up with schedules. You can stop and take a break when you choose. You don’t need a special license to drive an RV. Sure, it takes some getting used to — but the number of RVs on the road should tell you that it’s doable. If you feel the need to, practice before you load up your passengers.
The Flexibility: In an RV, you have the flexibility to change locations. It’s easy to find a good balance between seeing different areas, the amount of time spent driving and ensuring you have enough time to relax. An RV can give you a lot of freedom and spontaneity. Explore at your own pace and create your own adventures!
Winding 444 miles through three states and thousands years of American history, the Natchez Trace Parkway takes you places you’ll never forget. This scenic parkway links Natchez with Nashville and crosses some of the most beautiful terrain in the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.
Visitors can experience a rich array of wildlife, sparkling waterfalls, memorable hikes and historic sites. The Trace is especially gorgeous in fall, when the hardwoods lining the roadway explode in color. Visitors come from all over the country to experience this unique journey and explore the Parkway’s natural, historic wonders.
Declared a National Scenic Byway and open year-round, it’s no wonder visitors are taking notice. One in particular is none other than Lonely Planet, a trusted travel media company and the world’s leading guidebook publisher.
If you’re interested one of the “the best quick trips you can book right now,” you simply can’t go wrong with the Trace. Featured in Lonely Planet’s Easy Trips section in their 2017 Fall issue, the Natchez Trace Parkway offers a unique journey for all types of travelers: foodies, history buffs, music lovers, outdoor enthusiasts… or just your average couple or family looking for a weekend getaway — hence the “easy trip” label!
Quick Escapes for Fall
To check out Lonely Planet’s favorite Parkway stops listed in their Fall 2017 issue, flip to the sampler on page 16. (Note the final published article is page 32-33.) You can also read Huffington Post’s highlight of the article here!
What’s To Love About The Natchez Trace
Adventuring out on the scenic Trace is an easy-going, easy-to-love experience. Open year-round for motorists, hikers and bikers, it provides visitors the opportunity for an unhurried trip through time.
The Natchez Trace provides a near-continuous greenway from the southern Appalachian foothills of Tennessee to the bluffs of the lower Mississippi River. Along the way are sites like Emerald Mound, a national historic landmark and one of the largest American Indian mounds in the U.S. as well as Mount Locust, one of only two surviving stands.
The Parkway also crosses four ecosystems and eight major watersheds, and provides habitat for 1,500 species of plants, 33 mammal species, 134 bird species, and 70 species of reptiles and amphibians. Designated as a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road, the 444-mile route encourages modern travelers to experience historic and scenic landscapes at a leisurely pace.
With autumn just around the corner, it’s one of the best times to experience the gorgeous fall foliage displayed along the way. Take a look at some of these 2016 photos.
Winding 444 miles through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, the Natchez Trace Parkway provides an exceptionally scenic roadway for visitors and cyclists alike. This designated bicycle route from Natchez to Nashville has been declared a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road. Riders can relax and enjoy nature’s beauty, unspoiled by commercial signage or stop lights. If historic stops and picturesque vistas at every turn sounds up your alley, hop on two wheels and join us on September 30, 2017 for the second annual Bike Your Park Day!
Bike Your Park Day was created to encourage and promote bicycling in parks and public lands (September 30 is also National Public Lands Day). The idea is to inspire people across the country to discover nearby parks and public lands by bicycle.
Bicycling is a healthy, sustainable way to travel — this annual adventure is not only a great reminder of that, but also a fun, easy way to hit the outdoors with family and friends on the Trace. Plus, this national event is for all ages and abilities!
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
Register here for Bike Your Park Day on the Natchez Trace in Ridgeland, MS. This is a free, come and go as you please event. Parking and sign-in will be at Madison Landing beside Old Trace Park.
Many parks will offer activities and volunteer opportunities. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, please fill out this form.
There’s no denying the Parkway is one of America’s favorite bicycle-friendly scenic byways. Bike Your Park Day 2017 will be the ultimate opportunity to experience all it has to offer. (Fingers crossed the fall foliage will be starting to show!)
Natchez Trace Parkway Budget Analyst Receives Prestigious Department of the Interior Superior Service Award
Lana Lollar, Budget Analyst for the Natchez Trace Parkway, received the Department of the Interior’s prestigious Superior Service Award. “Honor awards, such as the Superior Service Award, are the most prestigious recognition that can be granted by the Department of the Interior for career accomplishments and exceptional support of the Department,” explained Superintendent Mary Risser. “Ms. Lollar received the Superior Service Award in recognition of the significant contributions that she made to the Department through her outstanding service to the National Park Service’s budget program.”
“Ms. Lollar has served as the Budget Analyst for the Parkway since July 1988. Her vast technical knowledge, detailed analytics, ability to lead team efforts, and “can do” attitude have been critical components of her success,” stated Administrative Officer Laura Perdices. “She is an expert on the accounting and budget systems that the National Park Service uses and is repeatedly requested to assist the Southeast Regional Office (SER) and other parks with year-end budget closeouts.”
Among her many accomplishments in recent years, she helped to account for charges incurred during the Gulf Oil spill response, which enabled the government to recover millions of dollars in costs. The SER often calls upon Ms. Lollar to provide other parks with guidance, training, and expertise in accounting procedures. She recently added budget support to the Southeast Archeological Center to her portfolio; she provides financial planning, budget tracking, and project dollars management. In addition, she plans and manages the Parkway’s $11M+ budget across five divisions of the Parkway and always closes within 1/16th of 1% of the base budget.
“We are honored to recognize Lana’s many accomplishments,” Risser said.
Every Kid in a Park Environmental Camp Held at the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace Parkway partnered with Tupelo Public School District (TPSD) to offer a fun and educational Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) Environmental Camp for fourth grade students who are attending summer day camp at the Haven Acres Boys and Girls Club. The EKIP Environmental Camp was held at the Beech Springs Outdoor Classroom near the Parkway Visitor Center, milepost 266 north of Tupelo, Mississippi.
The National Environmental Education Foundation awarded the Parkway and the TPSD with a grant to pay for the EKIP Environmental Camp. Teachers Allison Bedillion and Gail Burton wrote lesson plans based on Mississippi State curriculum. “We wanted to keep the activities fun and engaging, while including vocabulary and standards that supplement classroom instruction,” said Burton. The theme for the EKIP Environmental Camp was human’s impact on the environment. Students learned about worm life cycles and creating and maintaining healthy worm habitats, planted butterfly milkweed in celebration of National Pollinator Week, and donated a bat house to Tupelo Parks and Recreation Department to increase habitat for bats. When Camron Harris was asked to reflect on his EKIP Environmental Camp experience he said, “I learned that bats aren’t bad. They eat mosquitoes, and that helps us.”
America’s federal lands and waters are living classrooms. Make learning come alive by participating in Every Kid in Park. All current fourth grade students and their families can visit national parks, monuments, seashores and more for free. Learn more at www.everykidinapark.gov.
Mark your calendars for May 7-13, 2017 — National Travel and Tourism Week is happening all across the U.S. And while there are plenty of wonderful places to check out during this celebration of tourism and its positive impact on the country, we’re here to tell you why you should visit one of America’s favorite scenic byways, the historicNatchez Trace Parkway.
So what’s to love?
Stretching from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, there’s so much to explore and experience along this 444-mile scenic route. From the mixed forest of the Appalachians to the rolling hills of Mississippi, history makes its presence at every turn. National Travel and Tourism Week was established back in 1983, but the Natchez Trace has been alive for much long than that. Travelers and boatmen called “Kaintucks” wore the trail to its initial state hundreds of years ago. In fact, research indicates that more than 10,000 Kaintucks traveled the Old Trace in the year 1810 alone.
While luckily we no longer have to travel by foot, the steady stream of visitors hasn’t slowed since the early days. Today, you can learn all about the fascinating history of Kaintucks, American-Indians, early pioneers, and Civil War combatants at wayside exhibits along the route.
Did you know the Natchez Trace Parkway is a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road? Enjoy a leisure cruise while taking in the beautiful dogwoods and redbuds in springtime, and bright fall foliage during autumn. Spot numerous types of wildlife like Canadian Geese and wild turkeys ruffling their feathers. Because after all, it’s about the journey, not the destination…
Ready to experience the nature firsthand? The Natchez Trace offers a host of fun outdoor activities for all ages. Many visitors go for peddling along the route, where the entire stretch offers scenic roadway, unspoiled by billboards, stop lights, and commercial development. To enhance safety measures, new signs will be installed in 2017 to remind drivers that cyclists use the Parkway. We encourage all travelers to share the road, whether you’re on two wheels or four!
The Natchez Trace also provides innumerable walking trails for hiking and outdoor fun. Camping opportunities abound and interpretive exhibits offer a self-guided opportunity to explore the lives of Trace travelers past.
And last but not least, let’s not forget about delicious food and a cozy place to get some shut eye after a fun day exploring. The 18 unique Trace communities are sure to please all travelers from Natchez to Nashville. Just hop off the convenient exits and quickly find delectable dining, comfortable accommodations, and fun community events.
No matter where your Natchez Trace Parkway journey takes you, you’ll be sure to encounter friendly faces paired with an unforgettable experience!
So what are you waiting for? Come out and celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week and enjoy historic attractions, spring wildflowers, and outdoor recreational activities.
Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is a celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more people to give it a try.
Whether you hop on two wheels to save money or time, to preserve your health or the environment, or simply to explore the great outdoors, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle. And the Natchez Trace Parkway is the perfect place to do it!
Pedaling out to the scenic Natchez Trace offers an easy-going, easy-to-love experience. The National Park Service has designated the entire 444 miles as a bicycle route, where bicyclists can relax and enjoy an exceptionally scenic roadway, unspoiled by commercial signage or development, and offering up gorgeous vistas at every turn.
Along the historic route from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, the Trace provides numerous hiking trails, wayside exhibits, and fun outdoor recreational activities. Cyclists can even enjoy the convenient bicycle-only campgrounds.
10 reasons why the Natchez Trace Parkway is an extraordinary cycling route:
NPS designates the entire parkway as a bike route. Numerous signs instruct cars to share the road with bicycles. In fact, a new “BE SAFE, BE SEEN” campaign is underway in an effort to enhance safety measures. Learn more.
Commercial traffic is prohibited. And for regular vehicles, the maximum speed limit is topped at 50 mph.
You won’t find unsightly stop signs, stop lights, or billboards. Just the quiet sounds of nature and pure scenic beauty.
Declared as a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road, the breathtaking scenic overlooks are truly a special treat.
Rich in history — the historic attractions and interpretive exhibits along the 444-mile road offer interesting stops. From Andrew Jackson to Meriwether Lewis, fascinating history awaits you.
The opportunity to view wildlife. Find over 136 types of birds and over 200 mammals, herptiles, and fish species.
This May, get together with friends and family and start pedaling out to the Parkway this National Bike Month! Be sure to take a moment and look over these Safety Guidelines for Bicyclists from the National Park Service.
If you don’t know much about this exciting annual observance, let us fill you in… National Park Week is America’s largest celebration of national heritage. It’s about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks!
As we join the NPS in celebrating 101 years of protecting and preserving the nation’s parks and monuments, we encourage you to also #FindYourPark! Each one of the 417 national parks is a thread in the tapestry that tells the story of our country – its beautiful landscapes, diverse culture, and rich heritage – including the historic Natchez Trace.
National Park Week 2017 Events:
April 15: “Beavers: Making a Splash”
A special Junior Ranger program to be held at the Parkway Visitor Center (milepost 266) on Saturday, April 15 at 10:00 am. Join a park ranger for this 45-minute program to learn how beavers are perfectly adapted for this difficult job, and make your own craft beaver to take home. This program is ideal for kids 7 to 12 years old, but everyone is welcome.
April 22: The BioBlitz and Wildlife Festival
Held at the Parkway Visitor Center (milepost 266) on Saturday, April 22 from 9:30 am-4:00 pm. The festival is a great time to get outdoors and celebrate biodiversity. Enjoy the Parkway’s natural spaces by going on discovery walks with scientists as they record species. Assist them and learn interesting facts about the plants and animals that live in your own backyard!
At the Visitor Center, visitors can learn more about Mississippi’s biodiversity by visiting exhibit booths that include live fish, hunter education, wild mammals, wildlife rehabilitation, endangered bats, Mississippi black bears, pollinators, and more. Plus, award-winning educator Terry Vandeventer will present “Live Native Snake” programs! Oh my! For all presentations and times, contact NPS at (800) 305-7417.
Other highlights during National Park Week 2017:
April 22: Earth Day
Join a volunteer project or simply enjoy the natural wonders and wildlife preserved in national parks.
April 23: Park Rx Day
Get healthy and active with a ranger-led program, or with family and friends. Learn more.
April 23: Volunteer Recognition Day
Find volunteer opportunities at a national park at www.volunteer.gov
In addition to celebrating rich heritage, lush shade and a curving scenic road make the Parkway a pleasant route for motorists and bicyclists. These enjoyable features can sometimes reduce visibility — new bicycle safety signs, funded by the Natchez Trace Parkway Association Gary Holdiness Cycling Fund, will raise motorist awareness and remind drivers that cyclists also use the road. Learn more about the project from NPS.