Spring and summer means prime time to get to hiking along the Natchez Trace Parkway. That’s right — there are plenty of places along this 444-mile scenic route to enjoy unspoiled nature with friends and family. Folks who have visited the Trace love the hiking trails because they are easygoing, uncluttered, and offer natural, rare beauty. If you would enjoy exploring nature and outdoor beauty, the Parkway should be at the top of your list!
Did you know that the Natchez Trace Parkway offers nearly 100 miles of hiking? It sure does, and you can find over 60 miles of Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail hiking, and at least 52 different hiking, horse and nature trails!
There are numerous hiking trails on the Trace, but let’s take a look at just a couple of the incredible treks you can make along America’s favorite scenic route.
Near Sheffield and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, you can find several miles of hiking, walking, jogging and biking trails available to the public. On the TVA Reservation, nature and wildflower walks are scheduled on a regular basis. Fifteen miles of hiking trails are maintained in Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve, which is located just a few miles outside of the city limits of Tuscumbia, Alabama.
About 30 miles southwest of Ridgeland, Mississippi near Port Gibson, the Rocky Springs* section offers eight miles of beautiful hiking trails. Extending from the Utica-Regantown Rd. trailhead (Milepost 59 on the Parkway) south to the Rocky Springs Campground (Milepost 54.8), it’s also open to horseback riding.
**Park Alerts** Part of the Rocky Springs section of the National Scenic Trail, and the Owens Creek Trail and waterfall site at milepost 52.4 is closed due to safety concerns For your safety, please observe posted closures.
Now, for those of you that are really in for a good hike, the Highland Rim Section of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail runs approximately 25 miles through the Tennessee hills near the eclectic Leiper’s 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. This is quite an ambitious hike, but feel free to take a short stroll along just a small section of the route. Click here for map.
Hiking the Trace is like 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 portions of that journey the way earlier travelers did – on foot. Amazing!
So next time you’re planning to get outdoors in this sunny weather, consider taking a hike along the Natchez Trace. We would like to extend a special thanks to the National Park Service for providing these maps, and we hope to see you out exploring the Natchez Trace Parkway’s beauty and fresh air this spring and summer!