Natchez Trace Parkway

Description

For centuries, Native Americans tracked bison along the ancient Natchez Trace. As America began to expand westward, the path became the most important route to the "Old Southwest." A popular route with boatmen who had to return to their upriver homes on foot after delivering goods in Natchez, the trace was all but abandoned when the steamboat made traveling against the heavy river currents possible. In the 1930s, a scenic parkway that closely follows the historic trace between Nashville, TN and Natchez, MS was begun. The parkway is now complete and provides a chance to motor at a leisurely pace on this 444-mile-long thoroughfare through American History. The trace winds through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi providing access to a wide range of recreational activities and historical points of interest. There are many places to park your car and walk along the original trace or stroll a short, self-guided nature trail. Cultural sites along the trace run the gamut from ancient burial mounds to a Chickasaw village and from historic town sites, farms, and industrial sites to Civil War battlefields. The visitor center is located in Tupelo, MS at milepost 266 (calculated south to north), and features exhibits about the history of the trace and its importance to river trade and the westward expansion. Seasonal ranger-led activities are held here; call the visitor center for schedules and additional details. Several information stations are located along the route. The National Park Service operates three campgrounds along the trace on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no hookups, but restrooms and picnic areas are provided. Meriwether Lewis campground is located on the site where the famous explorer (who led the first expedition to the Pacific Northwest with William Clark) died from gunshot wounds in 1809. He is buried here, his grave marked by a monument designed to look like a broken shaft. In addition to the 32-site campground, the area boasts hiking trails, a pioneer cemetery, and historical exhibits. This site is located at milepost 385.9. A concessionaire operates a service station and camp store at Jeff Busby campground, milepost 193.1. The site bears the name of a U.S. congressional representative who was instrumental in establishing the parkway. The 18-site campground is located near Little Mountain, at 603 feet one of the highest elevations along the route. The gas station here is the only service of its kind directly on the parkway. Rocky Springs, milepost 54.8, was once a bustling community with a Methodist Church, Masonic Lodge, post office, and a number of shops. It never recovered from the host of troubles that followed in the wake of the Civil War; today only the church and graveyard remain. A trail leads from the 22-site campground to the town site. Overnight accommodations, food service, gas stations, and other amenities are available in neighboring communities. The speed limit along the Natchez Trace Parkway is 50 mph, unless otherwise indicated, and commercial vehicles are prohibited. Stay alert for the wildlife that regularly wanders onto the road. For general park information, call 800-305-7417.

Address

2680 Natchez Trace Parkway
Tupelo, MS 38804

Lat/Long

34.33022800, -88.71052700
Visit Website
(800) 305-7417

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