Explore the Natchez Trace Parkway: National Park and National Scenic Byway
The Natchez Trace Parkway stretches 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville. It follows and connects a series of ancient trails used by animals and people as they traveled through this area to find food, to hunt, to travel from place to place, to settle in a new territory, to march to battle and to create communities. Today, the many short hiking trails are some of the best examples of what it must have been like to travel on the Old Trace.
The phrase “the journey is the destination” certainly applies to today’s Parkway. Protected and preserved by the National Park Service, the landscape along the Trace is unspoiled by modern development. You won’t find any billboards, travel plazas or businesses as you drive along the Trace itself — just natural beauty, fresh air, and a few friendly and historical markers along the way. The only homes you’ll find along the Trace belong to wildlife, and the 50 mph speed limit allows plenty of time to take in the stunning scenery along your journey.
Though the Trace is beautiful year-round, autumn is a spectacular time to experience the brilliant foliage of the hickory, maple and oak hardwood forests. Regardless of your interests, there are plenty of opportunities to experience the history and beauty of the Parkway. There are more than a dozen campgrounds along the Tennessee portion of the Natchez Trace Parkway corridor and many opportunities for hiking, biking and horseback riding at trailheads right on the Trace — it’s as easy as parking your car and stepping into this enchanting piece of Tennessee.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is both an All American Road and a National Scenic Byway. All American Roads are the very best of the National Scenic Byways, meeting the same criteria but possessing multiple intrinsic qualities of national significance. To be considered an All American Road, the byway must be considered a destination and a reason for travel on its own. Natchez Trace Parkway certainly is. Learn more on Nashville’s Trace: Backstage to Backroads, our trail built around the Tennessee portion of the Trace and its surrounding communities.
Bike through Civil War History on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi
150 years ago, artillery fire thundered across the land, thick plumes of gunsmoke choked the air, and the fruitful fields of northern Mississippi shook under the boots of thousands of soldiers. Today, you’ll hear only echoes of the past and the wind in your ears as you bike the Natchez Trace Parkway through northern Mississippi's Civil War past. Few traces of the upheaval remain in the tranquil countryside, but Civil War history is alive and well at Tupelo National Battlefield in Tupelo and the Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site near Baldwyn.
Native Americans, Kaintuck boatmen, post riders, government officials, and soldiers all moved across this trail, creating a vital link between the Mississippi Territory and the fledgling United States. Pass through forests, cypress swamps, and farmland to meander through the rock-studded hills of Tennessee, cotton fields in Alabama, and Mississippi's rural countryside.