Have you traveled Tennessee's own historic byway, the Natchez Trace Parkway? The 444-mile route is a popular one for cyclists and drivers alike as it winds its way up from Mississippi, through northwestern Alabama and ends right on the fringe of Davidson County, far west of Nashville.
Plan to drive the route in its entirety or at least the part that bypasses Tennessee. Here are some stops you should make along the way:
The circumstances surrounding famed explorer Meriwether Lewis' mysterious death are still unknown some 207 years later; but in Hohenwald, where he was found with two gunshots to the head, there remains a monument to his memory.
Fall Hollow Waterfall | milepost 391.9
It's a short walk to the viewing platform of this series of small waterfalls, enveloped by lush greenery. If you want to go further down to the base of the falls, pack your hiking boots as the descent is rocky and steep.
The Devil's Backbone State Natural Area | milepost 394
Adjacent to the parkway, this moderate three-mile-long hike takes you out into peaceful wilderness, along the ridges of Tennessee's Highland Rim, down beside a creek and back again.
Jackson Falls | milepost 404.7
The 900-foot drop of this waterfall gives way to natural slides among the cascading falls and swimming opportunities in the clear, cold pools below.
Leiper's Fork | milepost 428
This quaint country town is a breeding ground for artisans with galleries like David Arms and Leiper's Creek Gallery, boutiques and antique shops such as Serenite Maison proving popular stopovers for passersby. Leiper's Fork is also home to the original Puckett's Grocery, a restaurant, market and live music venue that first opened in the 1950s and has since spawned five additional across Tennessee.
Birdsong Hollow | milepost 438
For the picture-perfect scene of the iconic double-arched bridge, which soars 155 feet above Highway 96 and the valley surrounding it, get off the parkway and follow signs for Birdsong Hollow.
The Natchez Trace bike path comes to an end in the most convenient of spots: right beside the grounds of the Loveless Café, a former roadside motel that serves some of the best biscuits, pies and Southern cooking around. Settle in for breakfast or poke around the general store for jams, preserves, cured meats, local products like Goo Goo Clusters and more.