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The fact of the matter is, you will find many people walking on the roadway itself — especially around the big expansion bridge over Highway 96 in Franklin, TN.
Because walking the Trace is a great way to get some exercise and see some of the most beautiful countryside in America!
I would also say that it’s a relatively safe place to walk for the following reasons:
#1 There are very few cars which travel along the Natchez Trace, and if you stick to the northernmost end of the Trace (near Nashville), the speed limit is only 40 mph so you won’t be dodging fast-moving vehicles the whole time.
#2. There are many bicyclists, motorcyclists, RVers, and joggers sharing the road with you. If you ever needed assistance (during daylight hours), a number of people would certainly lend a hand.
#3 The “locals” who tend to frequent the Trace for sightseeing and exercising purposes are, as a group, some of the nicest people you will ever meet. I’ve talked with lots of them on my bicycling trips throughout the years, and everyone has always been friendly and helpful.
Another good thing:
No matter where you’re coming from, you can find plenty of places on the Trace to park your car while you walk.
So, on the next beautiful day when you’re in the vicinity of the Natchez Trace Parkway (especially on the northern end), I’d encourage you to take a drive to out to the Trace… park your car… and enjoy the walk!
This trail [the Natchez Trace Parkway] may never be a serious footpath. Only 50% of the original Trace lay within the parkway corridor when it was created in 1938. 85% of that was destroyed by roadbuilding, leaving only 7.5% of the original Trace on protected National Park Service land. However, several through-hikers have had a good time roadwalking the parkway, which is totally unlike the turnpike-like parkways of the northeast. Think mellow country road, and you’re close to the truth. — GORP
We've lived in the Nashville area since 2001 — and all 3 of our houses have been situated relatively close to the Natchez Trace Parkway. To me, the 'The Trace' is a hidden gem of Nashville — a place to go when you want to get away from it all and be one with nature. I've hiked it, biked it, motorcycled it, walked it with my dogs, and driven my car on The Natchez Trace Parkway more times than I can count! This is where I share some of my favorite things to do along the Natchez Trace Parkway — which runs 444 miles from Nashville Tennessee to Natchez Mississippi and through parts of Alabama. When I'm not enjoying the beautiful outdoors along the Natchez Trace Parkway, you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).