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Natchez Trace Parkway

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Natchez Trace Pkwy, Nashville, TN, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit the Natchez Trace Parkway during the weekdays if you can; it's much less crowded, and you'll have a serene experience surrounded by nature's beauty. Also, don't miss the sunset at the Birdsong Hollow where the double-arched bridge offers a breath-taking view - it's a hidden gem that's not as well known among tourists."

What is Natchez Trace Parkway?

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic drive through history, stretching 444 miles from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi. It roughly traces the "Old Natchez Trace," an ancient path used by Native Americans, European settlers, traders, and travelers for thousands of years. Today, it's a National Parkway maintained by the National Park Service, offering a peaceful and picturesque route through the southern United States. With plenty of stops for historical sites, hiking trails, and picnicking areas, it's a favorite among road-trippers and history enthusiasts alike.

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History of Natchez Trace Parkway

Its origins can be traced back to the indigenous people who first used the Trace, but it gained prominence in the early 1800s when it became a key post-road for the burgeoning United States. The Parkway we know today was conceived as part of the New Deal in the 1930s, aimed to memorialize the historical importance of the Trace and promote tourism and recreation. It was completed in 2005 when the last segment near Jackson, Mississippi was finalized. What we see and travel today is the result of decades of careful planning and conservation efforts that aimed to preserve the pathway's natural beauty and historical significance.

Why is Natchez Trace Parkway Important?

The Natchez Trace Parkway is more than just a road; it's a living museum chronicling the American history and natural beauty of the South. It's important for its conservation of the cultural and historical landscapes which include key sites from the prehistoric era, the Mississippi Mound Builders, the Civil War, and the development of the United States. Additionally, it serves as a haven for wildlife and a corridor linking diverse ecosystems. Its role in heritage tourism also supports local economies and fosters a deeper appreciation for the history and ecology of the region.

Things to Do & See at Natchez Trace Parkway

Driving the parkway itself can be a leisure retreat with the picturesque views and serene nature, but stopping along the way is where the adventure truly begins. You can explore ancient mounds at Emerald Mound, take a hike on trails like the Old Trace Footpath, or visit the Meriwether Lewis site to learn about the explorer's mysterious death. There's also the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center near Tupelo, Mississippi, where you can dive deeper into the parkway's stories and the people who traveled it.

As someone who treasures the hidden nooks along the Trace, I recommend the lesser-known spots like Jackson Falls—a short walk to a beautiful waterfall. For cycling enthusiasts, the entire Parkway is a designated bike route and offers an exceptional experience. If you're into fishing, opportunities abound in the numerous streams and lakes dotted along the route. And let's not forget the scenic overlooks, such as Baker Bluff, which offer stunning views, especially during the fall foliage.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Natchez Trace Parkway?

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic highway that runs 444 miles from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi, following the historic travel corridor used by Native Americans, settlers, and traders.

How do I access the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville?

You can access the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville at the northern terminus near Pasquo, TN, typically via Highway 100.

Are there any historical sites along the Natchez Trace Parkway near Nashville?

Yes, there are several historical sites near Nashville, including the gravesite of explorer Meriwether Lewis, the Old Trace Drive, and the Tobacco Farm and Old Trace Exhibit.

What are some popular activities on the Natchez Trace Parkway?

Popular activities include scenic drives, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and visiting historical landmarks and interpretive sites along the parkway.

Is there a visitor center for the Natchez Trace Parkway where I can learn more?

Yes, the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center is located near Tupelo, Mississippi, offering exhibits, a bookstore, and information about the parkway. Although not located in Nashville, it's a valuable resource for travelers on the parkway.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Natchez Trace Pkwy, Nashville, TN, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps