I’m not talking about the fact that there is no milepost to mark the location. I’m referring to the fact that there simply isn’t enough roadway to accommodate 444 miles on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The official map for the parkway says this:
However, I’ve traveled the Parkway from start to finish several times. And no matter how I count it, there’s no way to reach the 444th milemarker on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The closest I’ve come to calculating the actual mileage for the northern end of the Natchez Trace Parkway is this…
The last (or first, depending on which way you’re heading) milemarker post for all to see on the northern end of the Natchez Trace is this one:
This brown milemarker post correctly aligns with the rest of the milemarkers on the Trace — from this point on, heading South. So rest assured, all the other mileposts along the Parkway are dead-on accurate.
And from milemarker 442, heading North to the very end of the Natchez Trace Parkway, there are not 2 more miles of roadway. Period (…even if you include the the ramp at the Highway 100 interchange itself).
Here’s what I’ve found:
From milemarker 442 and heading north (to the exit at Highway 100), it is exactly 7/10ths of a mile at the point where you touch Highway 100.
That’s nowhere near the 2 miles required to satisfy the “444 northern terminus” statement.
Coming the other way…
From the point where Highway 100 connects with the ramp to the Natchez Trace Parkway and heading south (toward milemarker 442), it is exactly 4/10ths of a mile at the point you reach the 442 milepost.
That’s also nowhere near the 2 miles required to satisfy the “444 northern terminus” statement.
So, no matter how you add it up, it is physically impossible to reach milemarker 444 on the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Of course, this is all trivial… and really no big deal at all. It’s just a fun little fact for the Natchez Trace Parkway trivia buffs out there.
My guess is they initially had plans for a longer ramp, or maybe even a bit more roadway on the Natchez Trace Parkway itself, but they cut it a tad short for some reason — years ago during the construction phase.
Or… maybe the land (read: trees & forest) that has been allotted to the Natchez Trace Parkway actually extends beyond the roadway and ends at what would be milemarker 444 if the road were to continue there.