Tips For Biking The Natchez Trace Parkway

by Lynnette



The Natchez Trace has been designated as one of the Top 10 U.S. Biking Routes.

In fact, the entire length of the Natchez Trace Parkway is designated as a bicycle tour route. However, there are no shoulders or designated bike lanes.

Here are some tips for bicycling on the Natchez Trace Parkway…

Who Bikes The Trace?

You will find cyclists of every skill level out there pedaling along the Trace (especially on weekends, when most of the novice cyclists tend to come out).

The primary reason that cyclists flock to the Trace is for the mere fact that there are hundreds of miles of open road that few motorists ever travel. Not to mention the fact that it’s an incredibly scenic ride and can be challenging in some places.

According to Michael Williams, a fellow cyclist and writer for Nashville’s City Paper:

During a 2-hour ride, a car might pass an average of every 5 minutes. And when vehicles do pass, it’s slower than 50 mph, lest the Rangers traveling up and down the road ticket them.

How Challenging Is It?

The ride is primarily rolling hills and winding roads on the northern end, with flatter winding roads the closer you get to Alabama.

You will find your most challenging hills nearest to Nashville. That’s where you can expect to find some long grades featuring very slightly uphill sections and lots of “false flats”. These kinds of roads can wear you down if you’re not in shape for the long haul.

When I was biking a lot, I considered my time spent riding on the Trace to be my “training” or “conditioning” time. The mild hills were just enough of a challenge to keep me strong and in shape. And the unlimited distance meant I could ride as many miles as I had the time (or energy) for on each particular day.

biking natchez trace parkway

Tips For Out-of-Towners Biking The Trace

Many cyclists even fly into Nashville with their bikes just to be able to “do the Trace”.

If that’s you, here’s the best cycling route from the Nashville Airport to the Natchez Trace — on bicycle.

If you’re planning on cycling the entire northern end of the Trace (between Nashville and Alabama), you may be interested in the bicycle-only campground, which is located at milepost 408. Or, check out these bed & breakfasts along the Natchez Trace.

On the other hand, if you’re just planning on pedaling for the day, then you might want to park your vehicle at one of the road-side stops (there are three located at the northernmost tip of the Trace between mileposts 427 and 440). And word is, that the Shell Station located at the entrance to the Trace on Highway 100 is also accommodating of cyclists who park their vehicles there while they spend some time biking along the Trace.


Here’s the best book I’ve found for tips & advice on bicycling the Natchez Trace Parkway.