Biking, Hiking & DrivingTravel

Who & What You Will See On The Natchez Trace

jim-natchez-trace-map.jpgThere are no commercial vehicles are allowed on the parkway.

In fact, violation is a federal offense!

The maximum speed limit on the Trace is 50 mph most of the way.

As the exception, rather than the rule, the speed limit dips down to 40 mph at the northernmost tip (from Leiper’s Fork at milepost 427 to the Natchez Trace Bridge near milepost 444).


What You Will See…

There are no stoplights.

No billboards either.

Just rustic, wooden signs to point you in the right direction.

And you won’t find any food outlets, restaurants, stores or gas stations along the entire route.

Good News: You will find all of the “normal stuff” once you leave the Trace via an exit ramp, because you’ll end up in one of the many tiny towns that line the entire Natchez Trace Parkway.

Exits themselves, however, are few-and-far-between.

Which is why you’ll want to have one of these maps (they’re available for free at many of the restroom areas & tourist sites)… and pay close attention to the mile markers which line the roadway!

Here’s what the milemarkers look like:

natchez-trace-mile-marker.jpg milepost-marker-natchez-trace.jpg

Few People, And A Slower Pace

The only people you’ll see along the way are long-distance bicyclists (remember to share the road), fellow leisure drivers (on motorcycles, in cars, SUVs and RVs), and those travelers who stop to photograph the sites, picnic at roadside pull-offs or explore the nature trails.


motorcyclists-bikers-suv-drivers.jpg horseback-riding-natchez-trace.jpg hikers-and-horseback-riders.jpg
garrison-creek-restroom-picnic.jpg jogging-natchez-trace-parkway.jpg

Points Of Interest

natchez-trace-scenic-overlook.jpg Along the way, you will find a number of pull-offs, indicated by half-mile warning signs that let you know whether the spot ahead is a historic/sightseeing landmark, a horseback riding or hiking trailhead, or a segment of the original Natchez Trace roadway that has been preserved.


jacks-branch-natchez-trace.jpg You will also find plenty of picnic areas (not all are viewable from the roadside). On the other hand, you won’t find nearly as many public restrooms as you might like. In fact, bathrooms and drinking fountains are few and far between along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

cooling-off-natchez-waterfall.jpg Several picturesque waterfalls can be found along the parkway. To view them, you must walk a short distance from the roadside pull-off. Don’t fret it… it’s always worth it in the end!



Natchez Trace Parkway: The Long And Winding Road


Wildlife Galore

tennessee-deer-hiding.jpg Whitetail deer are found everywhere along the parkway, as are wild turkeys.


turkeys-natchez-trace.jpg In fact, deer and turkey are often spotted in very large groups along the roadside and even crossing the road. Be on the alert for them, as they can necessitate a sudden stop on the roadway.
(Think I’m kidding???)

Also, whenever you are walking along the Trace or hiking on one of the many hiking trails, you should also keep an
eye out for copperhead snakes, cottonmouths, and rattlesnakes which are native to the area.


There Isn’t A More Scenic Drive Anywhere!

The wildlife… the beauty of nature… the lack of traffic… A trip along the Natchez Trace is certainly one of the most relaxing drives in the United States!

You can travel it several times and find something new to admire every time.

natchez-trace-fall-leaves1.jpg natchez-trace-fall-leaves2.jpg
To some, the long ride at a fairly slow pace (50 mph and below) may seem tedious and boring. To others, it’s the chance of a lifetime to escape all of the hustle and bustle when you’re driving in your car.

One thing’s for sure: To avoid fatigue, make sure that you stop often and take short walks. There are plenty of spots to pull off along the entire route.