Traveling the Natchez Trace Parkway Responsibly During COVID-19

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues, it’s important to practice social distancing and choose open, outdoor spaces when possible. The Natchez Trace is the perfect place to do just that.

After months of quarantining, it’s also important for our health to get outdoors, stretch our legs, and enjoy the fresh air. Luckily there are a number of outdoor activities, like cycling, hiking, and camping. But even with an ideal spot like The Natchez Trace to social distance outdoors, travelers’ safety always comes first.

The National Park Service is closely working with federal, state, and local public health authorities to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. Our 18 Trace communities are also closely monitoring and complying with COVID-19 mandates to keep you safe. Here’s what’s open, what’s closed, and some frequently asked questions:

Open:

  • Outdoor spaces such as roadways, trails, pullouts, and roadside exhibits
  • Parkway Visitor Center (mp 266) in Tupelo, MS with limited access to restrooms and park information
  • Rocky Springs (mp 54.8) and Jeff Busby (milepost 193.1) campgrounds for self-contained camping only
  • All bicycle-only campgrounds with no potable water access
  • Both Comfort Stations at Colbert Ferry (milepost 327.3)
  • Comfort Station nearest the motor road at the Meriwether Lewis Site (milepost 385.9)

Closed:

  • All remaining comfort stations and drinking fountains along the Parkway
  • Meriwether Lewis Campground and Contact Station (milepost 385.9)
  • Parkway Information Cabin (milepost 102.4) in Ridgeland, MS
  • Mount Locust (milepost 15.5)

Pullout and Trail Closures:

Rocky Springs Trail – Partial Closure (milepost 55 – 59) Part of the Rocky Springs section is closed from Rocky Springs Campground to Fisher Ferry Road due to unsafe conditions caused by trail erosion and bridge deficiencies.

Yockanookany Trail – Partial Closure (milepost 108 – 131) Closed to equestrian use due to safety concerns with bridges and boardwalks. The trail remains open to pedestrians.

Cypress Swamp (milepost 122)
Closed due to storm damage sustained in 2020.

River Bend (milepost 122.6)
Closed due to storm damage sustained in 2020.

Myrick Creek (milepost 145.1)
Closed due to storm damage sustained in 2020.

Blackland Prairie Trail – Partial Closure (milepost 260.8 – 261.8)
The Blackland Prairie Trail from West Jackson Street to Chickasaw Village Site is closed due to storm damage sustained in 2020. Pedestrians may access the trail from milepost 261.8-266. The entire trail is closed to equestrian use.

Cave Spring (milepost 308.4)
Closed due to storm damage sustained in 2020.

While the listed areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased, and services may be limited. When recreating, please follow local area health orders, practice Leave No Trace principles and avoid crowding and high-risk outdoor activities. Remember to #RecreateResponsibly! See tips to recreate responsibly in National Parks.

FAQs:

Are restrooms open?
NPS is working to increase access in a phased approach. Parkway Visitor Center and restrooms (mp 266) are open with limitations. All Colbert Ferry comfort stations are open.
Most restrooms, contact stations, and Meriwether Lewis Campground remain closed. For all other locations, we encourage you to visit the Trace communities.

Are park rangers on-site?
Rangers are at the Parkway Visitor Center behind a plexiglass panel to provide travel information. There is no access to the interpretive panels and exhibits at the Visitor Center.

Are Ranger programs and events happening?
No, there are no in-person Ranger programs right now. You can participate in virtual Ranger programs on the Natchez Trace Parkway Facebook Page.

Are masks required along the Parkway?
No, masks are not required in outdoor spaces. When visiting public indoor spaces and communities just off the route, please check your state’s mask requirements.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. NPS will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with COVID-19.

For the most up-to-date travel information, visit nps.gov/natr/planyourvisit/conditions

Stay safe, everyone!

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