The last few months of autumn on the Natchez Trace Parkway have been great ones. From Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, visitors from all over the country made use of the Trace’s numerous attractions and communities. Since fall, the days have grown steadily shorter as the hardwoods showed off shades of yellow, red, and orange in a beautiful display of fall foliage.
As we shift from fall to winter, the days become shorter, the air becomes chillier, and you may be losing your itch to get out and enjoy the Trace. But don’t do that quite yet! First, let us give you a couple of reasons why the Natchez Trace is unique and fun to visit during the winter months.
Discover New Sights
During the summer and fall months, the Natchez Trace Parkway develops an almost tunnel-like quality, with the winding road surrounded by thick trees and brush on both sides. While it is certainly beautiful, the thick leaves make it hard to see much further than the edge of the road.
During wintertime, the trees let their guard down. You’re far more likely to discover points of interest you wouldn’t notice at other times. Whether it’s a historic farmhouse hidden among the trees, a sunken trail forming the original Trace, or a family of whitetail deer, you’ll be able to enjoy all the Trace’s treasures that it keeps to itself during the warmer months.
More Excuses to Indulge in Local Specialties
All along the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway, communities of various sizes populate the trail throughout Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. In sum, 18 communities offer local foods, drink, lodging, and entertainment of all sorts.
Exploring the Natchez Trace on a crisp winter’s day gives you all the more reason to stop at a local coffee shop in Natchez, Mississippi for warm Southern hospitality, known for its historic B&Bs. Take your coffee on-the-go and enjoy the fresh air while exploring Cypress Swamp, a popular attraction near Canton and Ridgeland, Mississippi.
Make a pit stop in Tupelo, Mississippi to see the interpretive displays at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center. Tour the tiny home where it all began for the King of Rock ‘n Roll at the Elvis Presley Birthplace. If you’re looking for more music to add to your journey, head to The Shoals to learn about the role of Alabamians in America’s music.
The opportunity to step into the past and inside cozy museums continues in Hohenwald, Tennessee, where you’ll find the Lewis County Museum of Natural History. The exhibit on Meriwether Lewis includes the key to the cabin where the famous explorer died on the Trace.
Make your way to Franklin, Tennessee, known for its award-winning Main Street and small town charm. The downtown district showcases antique galleries for a unique shopping experience. Franklin also offers the grand beauty of Antebellum architecture and Civil War history.
If you get too chilly, there’s no better way to warm up than get down to live music in Nashville, Tennessee AKA “Music City.” Be sure to stop in The Loveless Cafe located at the northern terminus of the Parkway for delicious hot biscuits.
No matter which few miles of the The Natchez Trace you decide to explore, the winter cold will reward you with plenty of reasons to take a break and indulge in local charms!
Let It Snow
Generally a common encounter for our northern neighbors, much of the Trace lies in areas where snow is a little more special. Because the Natchez Trace Parkway is maintained in a natural condition, you’ll get to enjoy the pure beauty of winter along the 444-mile route the way you’ve never seen it before.
Now that we’ve made our case on why the Natchez Trace Parkway is a fantastic trip to take during the winter months, let us offer one more bonus: You’ll have it to yourself! While the locals and most experienced Trace travelers know the scenic byway is great in the winter, many folks do not. This means that you–the savvy adventurer–can ply the Trace more like its original passengers did hundreds of years ago, and enjoys all the thrills and chills along the way.