One of the many reasons people people love the Natchez Trace Parkway is that it’s a bicycle-friendly route. Commercial traffic is not allowed, so this environment allows cyclists to be worry-free of large trucks. There aren’t any stop signs or stoplights–simply pure beauty and the sounds of chirping birds and wind blowing through the trees. Bicycling the Trace is an incredible experience! To ensure a wonderful trip before you hop on your bike, it’s important to know about safety.
In honor of National Bike Month this May, it’s all about bicycle safety! The Natchez Trace Parkway Association through its Gary Holdiness Cycling Fund, and the Natchez Trace Parkway staff members are celebrating National Bike Month AND the National Park Service Centennial by actively promoting bicycle visibility and safety.
To promote just that, park staff are launching a campaign to interact with bicyclists in a new, engaging way. When bicyclists are seen using and wearing the proper high-visibility safety equipment, they will be acknowledged and given a small gift. There’s nothing wrong with that!
Meanwhile, to increase visibility and safety of all bicyclists, those who are not easily seen will be given a gift from the Gary Holdiness Cycling Fund. Thanks to the generous donation, a high-visibility vest and set of bicycle lights will be given to cyclists to use while bicycling the Natchez Trace while the supplies last. Amazing!
Of course, the Parkway encourages all motorists and bicyclists to follow practices for a safe and enjoyable trip. Motorists are reminded to safely change lanes when passing bicyclists, and to always avoid distracted driving. Bicyclists should keep to the right, ride single file, and wear high-visibility clothing- to name a few. See the Bicycle Rules of Road here.
If you’re part of an organized group and looking to plan a bicycling event, head on over to NPS site for information about the Parkway and obtaining a special use permit.
Want to know why the Natchez Trace is the best place to ride this summer? Here are 10 great reasons:
- National Park Service designates the entire parkway as a bike route. Numerous signs instruct cars to share the road with bicycles.
- Commercial traffic is prohibited.
- Maximum speed limit for cars is 50 mph.
- Motorized traffic is generally very light, however cyclists should plan ahead to avoid peak commuting times. (Tupelo and Ridgeland have the highest traffic).
- No stop signs or stop lights. Access on and off the Trace is via on/off ramps which means no need to worry about cross traffic.
- The scenery is beautiful. Cyclists get to see forests, farmland, creeks and pretty vistas.
- All along the Trace through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, historical and nature attractions offer interesting breaks and rest stops.
- Restroom facilities on the Trace are available about every twenty miles.
- Numerous side trails take you past antebellum and victorian homes, sunken roads, civil war battlefields and Southern towns.
- There are many “cycling friendly” bed and breakfasts located along and near the Trace.
Before you get behind your bike, give the Parkway a call at 1-800-305-7417 to get your free biking packet. The packet contains not only safety regulations, but also convenient information such as a map as well as lists of bicycle suppliers and outfitters, convenient places to purchase food, the location of bike-only campgrounds, and more. Or, cyclists can email for the packet here.
We want your wheels on the scenic 444-mile Natchez Trace this summer. So get to pedaling and be safe out there! We’re always happy to see bicyclists on the beautiful Natchez Trace, and we hope you’ll be visiting soon. Just remember, safety first!
Download our Visitors Guide above and watch our YouTube video below!