If you love the outdoors, the Natchez Trace is a must-visit spot this summer. It’s the perfect place to hike, soak up the sun, and experience all of the outdoor recreational activities the Parkway has to offer. But don’t take it from us — take it from all of those who recently voted the Natchez Trace Parkway as Best Hiking Area/Destination in Mississippi!
The Natchez Trace Compact is thrilled that for the second year, the Natchez Trace Parkway was named as a category winner for the best hiking destination in Mississippi. The winners were chosen by a reader survey highlighted in the July/August issue of Mississippi Magazine. As a Best of Mississippi winner, the Parkway is showcased on the GoMississippi, Mississippi Magazine’s free travel application for smartphones.
On the Natchez Trace Parkway, a wealth of recreational assets makes for endlessly repeatable fun. Wildlife viewing, scenery stealing, fishing, hiking, biking and water fun are all possible. The Natchez Trace Parkway is an outdoor paradise. It provides recreational fun for all ages and outdoor lovers.
People love hiking trails along the Trace because it’s easygoing, uncluttered, and offers natural, rare beauty. It offers nearly 100 miles of happy trails, including:
- Over 60 miles of National Scenic Trail for hiking
- 52 different hiking, horse and nature trails
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, Rocky Springs Section (Milepost 59)
About 30 miles southwest of Jackson, Mississippi, near Port Gibson, the Rocky Springs section offers eight miles of trail extending from the Utica-Regantown Rd. trailhead (Milepost 59 on the Natchez Trace Parkway) south to the Rocky Springs Campground (Milepost 54.8) that is open to horseback riding. This 8-mile steep and challenging horse trail contains creeks and ravines. Riders will need to cross the Parkway motor road one time on this trail. The Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail continues on for two miles to Owens Creek Waterfall, but this section is open to hikers only. Click here for map.
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, Yockanookany Section (Milepost 115)
The Yockanookany Trail, just north of Jackson, Mississippi, is 24 miles and passes through a variety of areas of historical significance and natural beauty. Access can be gained from the Highway 43 trailhead at Milepost 114.9 of the Natchez Trace Parkway, and you can travel north about 16 miles, or south about 7 miles. This is an out and back trail, not a loop. Click here for map.
Witch Dance Horse Trail in the Tombigbee National Forest (Milepost 233)
The Witch Dance Horse Trail, located on the Trace Unit of the Tombigbee National Forest, is an 18-mile, multi-loop trail and is one of the most popular horse trails in Mississippi, winding through varied topography and changing forest settings. Toilet facilities, hitching posts, and parking are provided at the trailhead by the Natchez Trace Parkway; the trailhead is located on the Natchez Trace north of Highway 8 at the Witch Dance Rest Area.
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, Blackland Prairie Section (Milepost 260)
A 3.5-mile loop trail is located in southwest Tupelo, Mississippi, within the boundaries of the Parkway. The parking/staging area is accessed from Jackson Street in Tupelo, MS. From the Natchez Trace Parkway, exit onto Highway 6 at Milepost 260. A portion of the Blackland Prairie Section of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (not the Parkway) between milepost 265.5 and Old Town Creek is currently closed to trail users due to construction under Tupelo’s Major Thoroughfare Construction Project. Click here to read more about the closure.
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, Highland Rim Section (Milepost 408 to 428)
The horse trail, approximately 25 miles in length, is located one mile south of Tennessee Highway 46 near the Leipers Fork Community, within the boundaries of the Natchez Trace Parkway. The trail parallels the parkway from the Garrison Creek comfort station (Milepost 427.6) parking/staging area to Tennessee Highway 50/Shady Grove (Milepost 408.0) parking/staging area. Click here for map.
A special thanks to the National Park Service for providing these maps. We hope you enjoy exploring the Natchez Trace Parkway’s beauty and fresh air this summer! Don’t forget to like The Natchez Trace on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @TheNatchezTrace to stay up with the latest Trace news.