A day along the Natchez Trace is a day well spent
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile national parkway that moseys (the speed limit is 50 m.p.h.) from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi, near the Mississippi River mouth in New Orleans.
The road is pristine, closed to commercial traffic, lined with lush greenery, and best observed on two wheels or two feet (but a car or RV are almost as good).
You’re almost guaranteed to see someone cycling the whole Trace on any visit. Or a group of retired bikers who insist on pulling their Harleys over at every historical marker along the way (there are more than 150).
All along the way, local towns have connected themselves to the recreational highway with hiking, biking, and running trails, making places like Tupelo, French Camp, or Ridgeland great places to stop to stretch your legs and snack.
Carmigo, Tupelo, and the Trace
Carmigo is headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi, which is also where the Natchez Trace Park maintains its HQ.
And across from that headquarters (where they host really cool educational events for kids) is a 6-mile hiking trail that dips in and out of local neighborhoods and past historical Native American sites.
The Natchez Trace Parkway began as a series of game trails grazing herds used to travel between vegetation surrounding the Mississippi River delta and the salt licks of the Nashville area.
From there, the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez tribes used the trails to hunt and travel between camps.
Eventually, traders began wearing an even more distinct trail after sailing their goods down the Mississippi River on barges to sell in New Orleans. The barges couldn’t be floated back up river before the invention of steam engines, so they were disassembled and sold for parts. The traders then made the return trip to Nashville on foot.
In 1801 congress designated the Trace as a postal road and small local roads began popping up on previously foot and wagon warn paths.
In 1938, Congress decided to begin paving the road, and continued piecemeal until 2005 until it was fully completed.
Hit the Road
Whether you live along this majestic parkway, or are looking for a road trip that’s the perfect mix of historical, recreational, and cultural, it’s time to spend some time on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Shameless Plug: Are you thinking about getting a new car, but kind of sad about getting rid of your old one. Take it for a day on the Trace, one last ride down easy street, and then we can help you find a new home for it.