Somewhere Down South

The Ultimate Natchez Trace Trip Planner

The Natchez Trace Parkway was literally made for road tripping! The parkway is 444 miles of beautiful scenery with no billboards, no stop lights, and very little traffic. As you drive or pedal or ride on the trace you will feel as if you have gone back in time. Enjoy this Natchez Trace trip planner!

SIgn at the beginning of the Natchez Trace. Ultimate planning guide to driving the Natchez Trace

Table of Contents

What is the Natchez Trace Parkway?

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a National Scenic Trail. It is a 444 mile road through three states beginning in Natchez, Mississippi, passing through the northeast corner of Alabama, and then through Tennessee to just south of Nashville.

All along the trace are historic markers as well as many opportunities for recreational activities and a lifetime of history.

History of the Old Natchez Trace

There is SO much history on the Natchez Trace! This is a very brief overview.

The trace roughly follows a trail that has been used by both animals and people for around 10,000 years. It is believed that Bison originally created the trail by traveling from the Mississippi River to the salt licks in Tennessee.

Pre-historic American Indians as well as the more recent Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez Indians traveled the trace left by the animals for hunting, trading, and just getting from place to place.

The first recorded European explorer to travel the trace in its entirety was an unnamed Frenchman in 1742. He wrote about the trail and its “miserable conditions.”

Thomas Jefferson was the first US President to order improvements on the trail. He wanted a postal route to be built from Nashville to the Mississippi River. By 1809 the trace was navigable by wagon. However, it was still such a rough ride that was often called “the Devil’s backbone.”

By this time traders, colloquially known as “Kaintucks,” were regularly traveling the trail. They would float their wares by raft or boat south on the Mississippi and then make the long trek northward home on the trace.

Due to peace treaties with the Indians and the increased traffic on the trace a series of “stands” were developed. Stands were often owned by Indians or frontiersmen with their American Indian wives. The stands were a type of inn that offered basic food and shelter to those traveling the Natchez Trace.

The invention of steam power, the removal of the Indians from their native lands, and the completion of a shorter route to the Mississippi River under President Andrew Jackson caused the decline of the trace.

By the mid 1800’s there was very little traffic and the portions of the trace that weren’t being used by locals were returning to the wilderness.

The trace was a difficult and colorful place. It was traveled by animals, Indians, frontiersmen and women looking for a new home, anonymous traders just wanting to get back to their families, presidents, the postal service, the army…and now us…history buffs, nature lovers, and road trip aficianados.

The sunken trace is an area where the natchez trace had been so heavily traveled that it sunk much lower than the surrounding landscape.

The Development of the Natchez Trace Parkway

In the 1938 President Franklin E Roosevelt signed legislation to create the Natchez Trace Parkway. The federal government began construction of the Natchez Trace Parkway in 1939.

It was designed as a limited access two-lane scenic road between the river city of Natchez, Mississippi up to just southwest of Nashville, Tennessee. The current parkway encompasses more than 45,000 acres and is managed by the National Park Service

Things to Know About Driving the Natchez Trace!

  • There are no stops signs or stop lights on the trace
  • There are no billboards or other forms of advertising
  • There are approximately 90 marked stops on the parkway.
  • You will not see any commercial vehicles including dump trucks and 18 wheelers
  • The entire trace is also designated as a bike route and bicyclists may use the entire lane. You will need to pass them leaving at least 3 feet of clearance as you go by. Always keep in mind a bicycle might be around the next corner.
  • The speed limit is 50 mph most of the way but lower in certain areas
  • There will be areas with very little cell phone service
  • You can download the Natchez Trace Parkway section of the free National Park Service app to your phone.
  • There are no gas stations right on the trace although there are plenty at the towns just off the trace.
  • There are restrooms at some of the marked stops on the trace (though not all)
  • Although most of the trace has very little traffic although you might encounter some near the bigger cities. (Near Tupelo, Ms was the only place we encountered any traffic and it still wasn’t bad.)
  • There are animals, particularly deer, that might decide to jump in front of your car. Be especially careful when driving at dawn and dusk. All the wildlife on the trace (including snakes) is protected.

Here is How we Planned Our Trip on the Natchez Trace

We were two adults without kids driving the trace in a car. We stayed 4 nights in towns near the Natchez Trace and we drove it from north to south.

  • Day 1: We drove to the northern end of the trace and began our southward trek spending the night in an Airbnb in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee
  • Day 2: Spent the morning exploring Leiper’s Fork and then traveled south to a bed and breakfast just off the trace near Florence, Alabama
  • Day 3: Spent the morning exploring the sound studios of Muscle Shoals, Alabama and then drove the trace to Tupelo, Mississippi. Spent the night in a chain hotel in Tupelo.
  • Day 4: Spent the morning seeing the birthplace of Elvis and eating lunch in Tupelo and then drove the trace to Jackson, MS. Spent the night in a nice inn in Jackson .
  • Day 5: Drove to the end of the trace in Natchez and headed straight home from there.

view of the bridge on the Natchez Trace Parkway from above.

This felt about right for us. We didn’t get to spend much time in Jackson as we were heading home on the last day and we have already spend quite a bit of time in Natchez so we didn’t do anything there.

If you haven’t been to Natchez I do recommend spending some time in this quirky city! You can read my posts about things to do in Natchez , where to stay , and places to eat!

Planning Your Own Personal Road Trip on the Natchez Trace Parkway

So, I’ve told you how WE planned our trip but you might want yours to look completely different!

As mentioned above the Natchez Trace Parkway is 444 miles.

  • The trace can be done in one long stretch like we did or you might do bits of the trace as day trips.
  • You can spend a day on the trace or a week or longer depending on how much you want to explore the surrounding area.
  • You might choose to stay longer in the cities off of the trace.
  • You can stop at each and every one of approximately 90 historical and recreational markers along the trace or you can stop at none of them and just enjoy the scenery. Or you can pick and choose which stops to make!
  • You can choose to drive from north to south or south to north. The “official” beginning of the trace is Natchez but you can go either way.

Really there are so many ways to enjoy this gorgeous and historic stretch of uniquely American and southern parkway.

Here are some more tips for planning your road trip on the Natchez Trace.

Natchez Trace Trip Planner: Important Tips!

There are none. The Natchez Trace Parkway is free to drive

Speed Limit and Traffic

As mentioned above the speed limit is 50 miles per hour and sometimes less. Watch the speed limit signs as you drive.

Usually there is no traffic at all! In fact, you might drive for long stretches without seeing another vehicle.

There can be a little traffic around some of the bigger cities as the locals might use the road to commute.

We found the trace to be blissfully traffic free, well-maintained and just wonderful driving.

Accessibility

Although not everything on the trace is accessible for varying abilities many things are. Here is a list from the park service of accessible facilities and features.

Where to stay on the Natchez Trace

There is only one place to stay that is right on the trace and that is at the French Camp Historic Village Bed and Breakfast .

However, there are numerous cities and small towns along the trace with chain hotels. You can also find plenty of nice bed and breakfast places just off the trace.

Here is a list from the park service of some of the towns with places to stay along the trace.

French Camp Historic Village on the Natchez Trace

Eating on the Natchez Trace

As with places to stay there are very few places to eat right on the trace. The Council House Restaurant is one and it is also located at the French Camp stop. The Loveless Cafe is a fun place just a few yards off the trace at it’s northern end. The Dragonfly Emporium is a great little shop and cafe just off the trace near Collinwood, Tn.

In addition to those mentioned there are some great places to eat a little farther off of the trace. Tupelo in particular has some delicious restaurants. We loved Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen and highly recommend a detour to eat there!

However, if you don’t want to get too far off of the trace to eat then I suggest bringing a picnic lunch, plenty of waters, and snacks.

Here is a list from the park service of some of the towns with places to eat along the trace.

The Loveless Cafe right at the beginning of the Natchez Trace

Facilities on the Trace

There are bathrooms on the trace at some, but definitely not all, of the stops. We found them generally to be clean and stocked with soap and toilet paper.

A couple of times we noticed that the bathrooms weren’t open.

There were drinking fountains at some of the stops that typically weren’t in service. Definitely bring your own cooler of water.

Historic and Recreational Stops Along the Natchez Trace

These marked stops range from simple informative signs, to monuments, to walkable portions of the old trace, to hikes, to historic buildings, to Indian mounds, to waterfalls and springs.

Some provide tables for picnicking. Some have bathrooms and additional information.

Although the historical and recreational stops are all along the parkway they do tend to be somewhat more concentrated in the north. You may find yourself be making more stops with fewer distance between them. Take this into consideration when planning.

The stops will be marked with signs located approximately 1/2 mile before the actual pull-off. This will give you time to prepare to turn.

Check out this post about what are, in my opinion, the best stops on the Natchez Trace .

Indian mounds on the natchez trace

Mile Markers are Your Friend on the Natchez Trace

These milepost markers stand about three feet tall and are found along the eastern side of the road. They begin with zero on the south end of the parkway. You will find them to be very helpful as you drive between the various stops.

Camping on the Trace and traveling in an RV

There are three campgrounds along the trace. Those campgrounds are Meriwether Lewis at Milepost 385.9, Jeff Busby at Milepost 193.1 and Rocky Springs at Milepost 54.

The three Parkway campgrounds are free, primitive, and available on a first come, first serve basis. They do not offer electricity, showers, or dump stations.

The Natchez Trace Parkway does not allow dispersed camping so you will not be able to just pull over and set up your tent.

We spoke with several people who were traveling in RV’s and they did tell us that there are some nice campgrounds with more facilities in some of the towns along the trace.

The length restriction for RVs is 55 feet, including a tow vehicle, and the height restriction is 14 feet.

There are only a few of the marked stops that are not accessible for RV’s because they don’t have a circular drive.

Biking on the Natchez Trace

Check out this information by the park service about bicycling on the Natchez Trace Parkway. We saw a lot of bikers while we were traveling.

There are even some bicycle only campgrounds on the trace if you are riding long distances.

I can’t claim to know anything about long distance biking. My only piece of advice is that the road is winding and hilly at times and drivers can be somewhat distracted by the scenery so I would suggest that bikers make themselves as visible as possible.

For drivers please watch out for bicyclists especially as you come around corners. Also stop completely at one of the many pull-overs if there is something you want to see or if you need to look at your map.

Horseback Riding on the Natchez Trace

Horseback riding has become a popular recreational activity along the trace.

Please note that horseback riding is not allowed on the parkway itself but only in designated areas. Also horses are not allowed in the camping or scenic area.

There aren’t horse concessions available on the parkway but you can bring your own horse to the specifically established trails. You can also check out Natchez Trace Stables .

Traveling the Natchez Trace with Children

First, I have to be honest and tell you that we did not travel the parkway with children.

However, as a former homeschool mom of three who still finds herself always noticing educational opportunities – I think this could be a great trip for families.

If you are traveling with children then my suggestion would be to travel shorter sections. I personally would start with a day trip to see how it goes. That said, you know the interest level of your children.

I would definitely alternate the history with some fun recreational activities.

The park system has some coloring pages about the Natchez Trace Parkway that you can download for your children as well as a junior ranger program .

You will find plenty of places to get out and run around and have a picnic.

There are some short hikes that would be good for all ages and, best of all, there are plenty of creeks and water features. If you are traveling in the summer I would definitely bring water shoes, bathing suits, and towels in order to allow the kids to play in some of the creeks along the trace.

Unless you plan to get off the trace often then I would bring plenty of drinks and snacks.

Garrison Creek one of the stops on the Natchez Trace

Closing Thoughts About Driving the Natchez Trace

One word to use to describe the drive on the parkway was restful. It was amazing to be able to cruise along past gorgeous scenery with no 18 wheelers or gaudy billboards blocking the view.

We found our drive on the Natchez trace to be both peaceful and educational. I hope that you do, too!

I also hope that you will find my Natchez Trace Trip Planner to be helpful!

Let me know in the comments if you do and also please let me know if you think of anything that I have forgotten to include.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

The Natchez Trace crosses a bridge over the Tennessee River near Cherokee, Alabama, on a cloudy day

The Scenic Natchez Trace Parkway: our Ultimate Road Trip Guide

Most travellers would say that a really great road trip lets you explore stunning landscapes, historic places and amazing cities - and the Natchez Trace Parkway is all three in one.

The 470-mile road trip from Nashville to Natchez along the Natchez Trace Parkway takes 9 hours to drive, passing Leipers Fork, Fall Hollow Falls, the Meriwether Lewis Monument, Florence, Dogwood Valley, Tupelo, Bynum Mounds, Jackson and Sunken Trace.

One of the best things about the Natchez Trace Parkway is that for almost its entire length, it's free of development, so you can really enjoy this beautiful and unspoiled landscape, while still being able to visit some great towns and attractions on or near the route. So sit back and enjoy the ride as you travel a route that's crossed this fascinating part of the country for centuries.

Where is the Natchez Trace Parkway?

Natchez Trace Parkway, located in the southern states of Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, is famous for being a historic cross-country trail used first by Native Americans and then by European settlers, to make the difficult journey from Nashville to the Mississippi River.

The forest trail that came to be known as the Old Natchez Trace has been used since prehistoric times, but it was President Jefferson who gave the order that turned the trail into a postal road from Nashville to the Mississippi River which, at the time, marked the United States frontier.

Barn and pond in a valley near the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee

Back in the day when folk travelled this route in wagons and on horseback, they called the Trace the Devil's Backbone, since it was such a hard route to travel. It used to take up to 3 weeks to make the journey, and it was frequented by highwaymen.

It's a much easier route to travel now though, since the Parkway was constructed in line with the historic trail. The road is closed to commercial traffic, and speed limits are mostly 50 mph or under, so it's a relaxed drive that lets you explore some untouched scenery at your own pace.

Where does the Natchez Trace Parkway begin and end?

The Natchez Trace Parkway runs between Nashville and Natchez. It mainly runs through Tennessee and Mississippi, with a short section in the northwest of Alabama too.

The modern-day Parkway is a national park which follows the historic route of the Old Natchez Trace, taking you between towns, cities and former settlements which mainly grew up around this important trade and transportation route.

It passes through or near a number of towns and cities, including Collinwood, Florence, Tupelo, French Camp, Kosciusko, Jackson, Clinton and Port Gibson, and crosses the Tennessee and Duck Rivers.

The whole length of the route is a national park, but the road also passes near Devil's Backbone State Natural Area, Laurel Hill Wildlife Management Area, Tishomingo State Park, Tombigbee State Park and National Forest, Chickasaw Wildlife Management Area.

How long is the Natchez Trace Parkway, and how long will it take to drive its entire length?

If you join the Natchez Trace Parkway in the early morning, you could make the 9 hour 10 minute drive all the way from Nashville to Natchez in a single day.

However, that won't leave much time to stop and enjoy all the amazing places you'll pass along the way, so we'd recommend allowing 3 to 4 days to drive the whole 470-mile length of the route.

This means that on each day you'll only have 2 or 3 hours of driving, so you can really immerse yourself in the natural and historic sights you'll see along your trip.

The shorter route option from Nashville to Winona takes around 3 hours less, so we'd suggest taking 2 or 3 days for this 330-mile journey along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Whether you're driving the full route or exiting at Winona, the section from Jackson Falls to the Meriwether Lewis Monument is the busiest part of the whole Parkway, so don't expect to have the road to yourself until you're further into your drive.

Road running through Tishomingo State Park, with bare winter trees either side and an old barn beside the road

The shortest option of all, from Jackson to Natchez, only takes 2 hours to drive. You can make this manageable 110-mile trip in a single day. However, seeing as this stretch is also a popular commuter option linking the two cities, it can get busy in the morning and evening rush.

Best way to drive the Natchez Trace Parkway

The whole length of this route is stunning, whatever time of year you travel. As well as the many beautiful Overlooks that you can stop and enjoy as you pass, you'll find numerous trailheads which let you hike out to explore the beautiful surroundings.

Some of the highlights of driving the whole route include sections of the Old Trace that you can hike and sometimes drive along (depending on your vehicle), Jackson Falls, the Meriwether Lewis Memorial and Native American Burial Mounds,

If you don't have the time to get all the way to Natchez, you can follow the route as far as Mathison and then exit towards Winona. You'll cover three quarters of the full route, so you'll still get a real feel for the Parkway, with many chances to see parts of the Old Trace, burial mounds, historic settlements and of course, hike some fantastic trailheads.

By following the Parkway from Nashville to Winona, you'll find yourself back on the Interstate, so you can continue your journey to other destinations if that's what you have planned. Or you can be back in Nashville in around 5 hours, if you're taking a round trip.

Jackson Falls, Tennessee, USA with a beautiful waterfall in the foreground.

For travellers with only a little time to spare, the drive from Jackson to Natchez is the perfect way to enjoy a part of the Natchez Trace Parkway. This route can be driven in a day. You'll still get a flavor for the area's beautiful landscape and fascinating history, and you can take some time to explore Sunken Trace.

Joining the Parkway at Jackson means you're right on the Interstate too, so it can easily be combined with a longer road trip – an East-West trip from Savannah or Montgomery towards Dallas would link up especially well, or join the Parkway as part of a longer trip south via St Louis or Memphis.

So, whether you have the time to drive the whole route or just a part of it, it will be a truly unforgettable trip. Keep reading to find out what's in store.

Driving the entire length of the Natchez Trace Parkway

This is a route that has been used to travel from Natchez to Nashville for centuries, so driving the whole length of the modern-day Parkway lets you revisit that long and challenging history journey in full.

You'll see everything that the Natchez Trace Parkway has to offer, and follow in the footsteps and wagon tracks of countless travellers in the past.

To join the Parkway, take the highway out of Nashville to Pasquo, where you'll have the chance to grab a coffee or refuel before joining the northern end of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Soon, you'll cross the impressive Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge, and you'll really feel like your road trip is underway!

Seeing as this is a dedicated scenic parkway, it's pretty easy to navigate your way along the length of the route. Simply follow the road until you reach the final exit point at Natchez! However, there are a number of places to look out for as you pass them along the way.

Part of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail in Mississippi. Lush green trees all around

Stop for food in Leipers Fork, or enjoy some time outdoors at Garrison Creek Park or up at Water Valley Overlook. Next, you'll pass Gordon House Historic Site, right by the Duck River, then continue on to beautiful Jackson Falls.

You can really get the feel for the history of this route when you stop at places like Old Tobacco Farm, then continue on past Devil's Backbone State Natural Area, Swan View Overlook and Fall Hollow Falls.

One of the most visited parts of the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Meriwether Lewis Monument, is you next waypoint. Then think about a short detour off the Parkway to visit Florence, Alabama, before crossing the Tennessee River just by Rock Springs Nature Trail.

As you carry on south, you should definitely stop off at Bear Creek Mound, the first of several Native American ceremonial mounds that you'll pass on this drive.

If you have time, take a short detour off the Parkway to visit Bay Springs Lake, then head back to the main route to walk through the beautiful Dogwood Valley and then stop in Tupelo, which as well as being the birthplace of Elvis Presley, is also where you'll find the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center.

From here, carry on past Bynum Mounds and then the towns of French Camp and Kosciusko which are right by the Parkway. Then continue further south past Pearl River State Wildlife Management Area until you get to Mississippi's state capital, Jackson.

If you're visiting the city, it's a simple run in and out of Jackson along the highway. From here, the last stretch of your drive will take you through Sunken Trace - one of the most visited parts of the Old Trace - and Brandon Hall Plantation. Then you'll pass Natchez State Park just before reaching the end of the Natchez Trace Parkway in the city of Natchez.

Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway from Natchez to Jackson

To reach the southern entrance to the Natchez Trace Parkway, pick up Liberty Road as you travel South West out of the city and it will take you straight there.

After visiting Natchez State Park, you can visit Emerald Mound, then continue north until you reach the lovely small town of Port Gibson. From here it's only a short drive until you reach Sunken Trace, which many say is the most atmospheric and special part of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The towering Windsor Ruins at Port Gibson, MS, casting shadows across the ground

After around an hour, you'll exit the Natchez Trace Parkway onto Interstate 20, then follow the interstate into the center of Jackson to complete your short road trip in Mississippi's stunning state capital.

Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville to Winona

If you're only following the Natchez Trace Parkway as far as Winona, you can save a little time by joining the Parkway a few miles after its starting point. Simply take I-65 south out of Nashville, then continue west past Burwood. From here, pick up Leipers Creek Road which will take you onto the Parkway just after the small town of Fly.

From here, simply follow the route south - it's impossible to get lost!

Along the way you'll pass many of the same waypoints as the full route, including Gordon House Historic Site, Jackson Falls, the Meriwether Lewis Monument and Bear Creek Mound.

You can also stop and spend some time in Tupelo as you make your way along the southern part of this route, then you'll pass the impressive Bynum Mounds.

Cypress Swamp near the Natchez Trace Parkway, with trees reflected in the water

After a few more miles it will be time to leave the Natchez Trace Parkway. Follow signs onto Route 82, which you'll follow west through Stewart and Hendrix into Winona, at the end of your amazing road trip.

Best places to stay along the Natchez Trace Parkway

To enjoy the Natchez Trace Parkway to the full, we'd recommend making a couple of overnight stops, so keep on reading for our top picks along the route.

If you'd like to see more options for an overnight stop along the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway, check out our ultimate guide to the best stops on the route here .

Overnight stop in Tupelo

Whether you're driving the whole of the Natchez Trace Parkway or just going as far as Winona, Tupelo is one of the larger cities along the route. With plenty to see and do, and some great restaurant and hotel choices, it's the ideal place for an overnight stop.

Tupelo, which is around 4 hours out of Nashville, is best known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley, and most visitors to Tupelo head straight to see his childhood home. It's only small, as the legendary musician came from humble beginnings, so tag on a visit to the Elvis Presley Museum too.

There's more to the town than just its musical heritage though. Natchez Trace HQ is located right here in Tupelo, and can fill you in with more details on the Parkway and its history.

The Oren Dunn City Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the area around Tupelo, you can find out more about some of the places you'll have driven through on the Parkway.

History fans might also like to pay a visit to Tupelo National Battlefield Site, where a significant Civil War battle is commemorated, or the Tupelo Veterans Museum. The city is also a great place to go hunting for antiques - check out Relics Antique Marketplace to see what you can find.

Back on the road and not far from Tupelo you can explore the Dogwood Valley, a beautiful, wooded section of the Old Trace. A little further afield is Tombigbee State Park, a beautiful habitat full of wetlands and waterways where you can fish and hike.

Elvis Presley's Birthplace in Tupelo, with a sign outside

One of the best hotel choices in town is Hotel Tupelo , which is more central than most Tupelo hotels. The hotel has spacious rooms which feature simple but elegant design with a nod to Tupelo native Elvis Presley and the 1950s and 60s.

There are all the facilities you'd expect here, including a fitness center and in-house restaurant and bar, plus a terrace with views across the town. You can also walk to Elvis Presley's birthplace from here.

Parking is easily available nearby, and as it's just off the highway which takes you back to the Parkway when you're ready to carry on your drive.

Overnight stop in Jackson

Mississippi's state capital prides itself on its southern hospitality, and as one of the biggest cities on the whole of the Natchez Trace Parkway, it's a great place to spend a night if you're driving the whole route or the shortest section which ends in the city itself.

There's plenty to see in the City With Soul, including the Old Capitol Museum. The Old Capitol was the state's seat of government during the 19th century, and at this informative museum you can learn about this period, when wagons still followed the Natchez Trace.

State Capitol building at night in Jackson, Mississippi

Rolling forward in time, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum tells the important story of some of the people who helped shape the modern United States

You can also follow the self-guided Freedom Trail, which illustrates the African-American history of the city, and includes parts of the Farish Street Historic District. Or for a different view of Jackson, take a guided kayak tour through the center of the city.

With welcoming staff, spacious rooms and smart, modern design throughout, The Westin Jackson is an amazing place to stay in the city . It also offers a great breakfast, and with a pool and on-site spa you can treat yourself to some relaxation time.

The hotel is really centrally located. It's just a short walk to the state capitol and also near to Mississippi Museum of Art and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

On-site parking will take away some of the stress of arriving in a new place, and seeing as the hotel in only a couple of blocks to the main interstate and highway, you can get on and off the Natchez Trace Parkway really easily too.

Things to see on a road trip along the Natchez Trace Parkway

From stunning hikes and historic sites to charming small towns, there's plenty to see and do when you take a road trip along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

What you can see depends on the route you take. If you drive the whole Parkway, you'll pass all the attractions listed for the shorter routes, plus some extra gems that sit outside of the other sections.

The Natchez to Jackson section:

  • Natchez State Park - Centered around Natchez Lake, you can enjoy fishing and other outdoor activities here, or take a tour of one of the 19th century mansions which have been preserved here.
  • Brandon Hall Plantation - A former cotton plantation, the historic buildings here have been preserved and now operate as a bed and breakfast.
  • Emerald Mound - This man-made mound is thought to have been used for hundreds of years, as a ceremonial meeting point for local populations.
  • Mount Locust - At this house dating back to the 1780s, you can now admire the historic building and also take a moment of reflection in the cemetery for the slaves who worked for the house's owners.
  • Sunken Trace - This atmospheric part of the Old Trace Trail was trodden down by travelers over many years so that the path now makes a hollow through the forest.
  • Owens Creek Waterfall - The spring which feeds this waterfall often dries up, but after heavy rain, this atmospheric small cascade can still be seen at times.
  • Jackson - Mississippi's state capital is a rare urban break as you travel along the Parkway. Visit the Old Capitol Museum, or follow the Blues Trail and Freedom Trail around the city.

Historic Mount Locust Inn, as seen through the trees

The Nashville to Winona section:

  • Water Valley Overlook - As the name suggests, this hilltop overlook will reward you with beautiful river views, which are spectacular when decked out in fall foliage.
  • Gordon House Historic Site - This brick-built house has been a landmark on the Old Trace for over 200 years. Even after Trace become less used as a trading route, locals continued to use the Duck River ferry which operated from the house.
  • Jackson Falls - Hike up to this beautiful woodland waterfall – be prepared for a fairly steep climb though.
  • Old Tobacco Farm - Tobacco was big business along the Natchez Trace, and this farm is set up as it would have been around 1900.
  • Devil's Backbone State Natural Area - This is a great hiking opportunity, which follows a creek through the forest.
  • Fall Hollow Falls - This impressive cascade is only a few meters off the route, so it's easily accessible even if you don't have time for a long hike.
  • Meriwether Lewis Monument - One of the great pioneers of the United States, who famously traveled to the Pacific Ocean in 1805, was found dead as he made his way along the Trace just 4 years later.
  • Rock Springs Nature Trail - Seek out beaver dams and watch the flourishing birdlife in this beautiful wetland area.
  • Bear Creek Mound - This ceremonial mound, thought to be almost 1000 years old, has been restored after being damaged by farming.
  • Bay Springs Lake - Take a short detour off the Natchez Trace Parkway to enjoy boating and fishing.
  • Dogwood Valley - Lined with the dogwood trees that this section of the Old Trace is named after, you can take a relaxing and peaceful walk along the old trail here.
  • Tupelo - The birthplace of Elvis Presley is a great place to pause and refuel, rest your legs or grab a meal. Take a detour to Tombigbee State Park to fish and hike if you have extra time.
  • Bynum Mounds The oldest mounds here date from around 100 years BC, and formed a cultural meeting point for the Chickasaw people who built them.

Things you can only see if you drive the whole Parkway:

  • Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge - Take a moment to appreciate the views from this stunning man-made feature, which marks your entry onto the parkway.
  • Leipers Fork - This small Tennessee town is a hidden gem, full of great restaurants and boutique shops, and with a buzzing live music scene. Get a taste of bourbon at the distillery while you're in town too!
  • French Camp - Visit the reconstructed historic village here to get a real feel for what life would have been like in the heyday of the Natchez Trace.
  • Kosciusko - This much-visited small town was named after a Polish general who fought in the American Revolution, but one of its more well known modern inhabitants is Oprah Winfrey, who was born here. Take a stroll around the town's historic buildings and visit the Cultural Center while you're in town.
  • Pearl River State Wildlife Management Area - Take a short detour off the route to enjoy hiking or bird watching in this peaceful wetland habitat.

Historic veranda at French Camp, with old wooden rocking chairs

Best time to visit the Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is open 365 days a year, but seasonal variation means you'll have a very different experience depending on when you travel.

The region enjoys a sub-tropical climate, so conditions can be quite hot or humid from April through to October, with temperatures into the 90s Fahrenheit during the peak summer months. There's frequent rainfall, so come prepared!

Winters here tend to stay mild, but temperatures can drop below freezing and there's a chance of snow right the way from December to March, which will occasionally close sections of the Parkway. Keep an eye on updates on closures and local conditions from the National Parks Service if you're planning on taking the trip in winter.

Also, be sure to drive safely, as there are no street lights on the road, and make sure your vehicle is ready for the drive – GPS coverage is limited on parts of the route. With cooler weather, most travellers prefer not to drive this scenic route in winter, as the hikes and the views are better from spring to fall.

Spring and fall are probably the most popular times to travel along the Parkway, with average temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees as the seasons change. Popular Spring and Fall Pilgrimage Tours run for a month in each season, so popular attractions will be busier at these times – check ahead for dates to avoid if you prefer to have a quieter view of these historic sites.

In spring, you'll see wildflowers bursting into life. In May, the Natchez Trace Century Ride sees cyclists coming from miles around to ride up to 100 miles of the Parkway, so you might like to load up your bike and make this a part of your trip. Cyclists share the road with cars, so your drive is likely to be a little slower if you visit the same weekend.

Along the Natchez Trace Parkway, the fall foliage is some of the best in the US. It will be busy at times, especially in the areas closest to the cities.

Historic Antebellum home with pink flowers and a wrought iron fence in Natchez, Mississippi

During Fall, several of the towns along the Trace hold Harvest Festivals, where you can enjoy food and drink, traditional crafts, live music and horse and carriage rides. Natchez also holds an impressive Hot Air Balloon Festival each year in October.

Travellers should also be aware that, although this is technically a scenic drive, it's also used by local commuters. This means peak times can see heavy traffic on the sections nearest bigger towns - the perfect excuse to linger over breakfast before setting out!

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Natchez Trace Parkway Highlights: 4-Day Road Trip Itinerary

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Most American travelers are familiar with famous scenic driving routes such as the Blue Ridge Parkway , Route 66, or the Beartooth Highway, but when I’ve shared stories of my experience driving the Natchez Trace Parkway, the common response has been, “what’s that?”

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444 mile national scenic byway through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi that follows the path of the “Old Trace,” a historic walking and wagon trail developed in the 1800s. The Old Trace was roughly based on original Chickasaw and Choctaw footpaths, but was repurposed by colonists as a postal, military, and trade route. Merchants who sailed their goods down the Mississippi River would sell their boats for lumber in Natchez, Mississippi, then walk the Trace back north to get home (where they might contend with robbers or hostile run-ins with indigenous people). “Coffles” of enslaved people were marched down the Old Trace to be sold at market. Soldiers in the War of 1812 followed Andrew Jackson up and down the Trace, and used it to return home after their victory at the Battle of New Orleans.

When you drive the parkway from Nashville to Natchez today, you’ll have opportunities to pull over at historical markers, ghost towns, ancient Native American earth mounds, remnants of 1800s traveler’s “stands” or inns, waterfalls, state parks, and even recent landmarks related to rock’n’roll legends. The Natchez Trace is a tangible journey through eons of American history in the Deep South.

It’s hard to narrow down which road trip stops to choose from all the options! This Natchez Trace itinerary pinpoints the top highlights you shouldn’t miss while driving the parkway over four days, plus additional sites you could fit in depending on your interests and priorities. If you only have three days, you could easily combine days three and four of this itinerary. If you have more than four days, you could spend extra time in Nashville, Franklin, Leiper’s Fork, Jackson, Tupelo, Natchez, or take a detour to Vicksburg.

Click the icon at the top left of the map to see other map layers, such as restaurants along the Natchez Trace.

How to pronounce “Natchez” : Having been born in Texas, I really want to pronounce Natchez similar to how we would pronounce the Neches River, like “naychis,” or at the very least I’m tempted to go for “natch-ehz” with a Spanish flair on the end. Both would be wrong. A common rule of thumb is to remember that the town of Natchez, Mississippi is pronounced by local southerners as if it rhymes with “matches.” However, the indigenous Natchez tribe would pronounce it differently. “The –chez portion of Natchez was kind of a Frenchized version on paper of what the French people were hearing when they encountered the Natchez Indians. The Natchez people who are in Oklahoma pronounce it ‘Notchy.’” – Jim Barnett, director of the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians .

Getting to the Natchez Trace Parkway

Most people will drive the Natchez Trace north to south, beginning in Nashville and ending in Natchez. This is mainly because Nashville is easily accessible from most other points in the country. However, if you choose to drive south to north from Natchez to Nashville, this will mirror the journey merchants would have taken to get home after sailing their wares down the Mississippi. People would have walked the Old Trace in both directions for different purposes, so either way would be historically “correct.” It’s up to you!

I approached the Natchez Trace from Colorado, so I paired this road trip with other fun stops in Kansas and Missouri before making my way south to begin the Trace in Tennessee. This added valuable context for me because I saw Cahokia , the largest Native American earth mound city north of Mexico. There are many earth mounds along the Natchez Trace and seeing the foremost example of such mounds, Monk’s Mound in Cahokia, really informed my understanding of them. I also visited Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, MO , which lies along the Mississippi River. His books about adventures on this river have contributed to Americans’ national identity, and he undoubtedly navigated its waters to and past Natchez.

Prior to your trip, be sure to check the latest Alerts and Conditions on the Natchez Trace Parkway official website. Some historical sites or sections of roads may be temporarily closed.

When is the best time of year to drive the Natchez Trace Parkway?

Autumn is the best time of year to drive the Natchez Trace Parkway if you want to see the beautiful fall colors dominating its miles of untouched forest land. Fall is also when the Natchez Balloon Festival and Natchez Pilgrimage take place (there is a spring version of the Pilgrimage too)! The scenic drive is extremely pleasant and relaxed any time of year because it has low traffic and is heavily tree-lined and cozy, but when I drove it in winter, the lack of leaves and occasionally overcast skies gave it a slightly creepy tone. This also has its benefits; it depends on what you’re looking for.

In winter, because the leaves had fallen, I could see back behind the first rows of roadside trees in order to understand how truly deep the wilderness goes and how alone 1800s travelers must have felt while enveloped by it. If you’re someone who enjoys dark tourism , there will be plenty of ghost towns and cemeteries along the Trace to interest you, and going during a drearier time of year like winter will highlight their gravity. If you’re looking for a travel destination in the United States to escape colder climes in the winter, the Natchez Trace is a good choice, but don’t expect it to be like summertime there. It can still get cold – just not as cold as the northern states.

If you are excited about the waterfalls, you might consider spring or summer when they’ll be flowing more heavily. If you are camping, nights will be warmer in spring and summer. I was comfortable car camping on the Trace in winter, but I have a super warm 0 degree sleeping bag. The parkway might be slightly more touristed in summer than winter, but I would guess not by much. I hardly saw another soul throughout my winter trip and have heard that it’s pretty lowkey in summer too – the Natchez Trace is underrated!

Road conditions and amenities on the Natchez Trace Parkway

The road itself is smooth and in fantastic condition. There is nothing harrowing about driving the Natchez Trace, as it’s mostly flat and you will not be on precarious mountainsides. You only thing you might contend with is weather. The area can experience heavy rains and maybe even a freak snow storm and icy roads every few years.

Note that in order to maintain the integrity of the historic Trace, there are very few modern buildings or amenities directly along the road. I really enjoyed this; I can’t remember another time I’ve been able to “unplug” in this way on a road trip! I don’t recall any gas stations or cafes, though a few times I could pick out homes or farms buried back behind the trees. There are no advertisements, billboards, or stop lights, but there are wooden road signs signaling when to pull over for historic monuments and hiking trails. One thing you can rely on is that there are plenty of well maintained NPS restroom facilities all along the Trace.

You will need to get off the Trace and visit nearby towns for food and gas, which is easy to do. You may feel quite isolated and far from civilization while on the byway, but in reality it should rarely take more than 10-15 minutes to find a community if you drive off the Trace. I usually had good enough cell service for my maps app to guide me to the closest gas station, but I did lose service often enough that it’s a good idea to start thinking about where to fill up before you get into a “last minute” situation. You should also pre-download music and podcasts in case you lose service.

Camping and accommodations on the Natchez Trace Parkway

There are three free campgrounds along the Natchez Trace Parkway and they are perfectly evenly spaced so that you could stay in one each night on a four-day trip! They are the Meriwether Lewis Monument Campground , Jeff Busby Campground , and Rocky Springs Campground . In Natchez there are paid campgrounds, or you could choose a proper hotel.

These first-come first-serve free campgrounds have bathrooms, picnic tables, and potable water, but no showers, electricity, or dump stations. Campers can stay for up to 14 days.

If you prefer hotels across the board, you can stay in Hohenwald, TN or Florence, AL the first night, Tupelo, MS the second night, Jackson, MS the third night, and Natchez, MS the last night (if you’re not getting a head start on your journey home at the end of day four).

Day 1 Highlights on the Natchez Trace: Tennessee

The northern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway begins near Loveless Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee. This is convenient because Loveless Cafe is a very popular spot for southern comfort food – if you plan ahead. I tried to go without a reservation and it would have been an hour wait! Luckily you can grab a quick and easy bite at the Biscuit Kitchen next door instead. 

Double Arch Bridge at Birdsong Hollow

Sometimes referred to simply as the Natchez Trace Bridge, this double arch architectural feat at Birdsong Hollow is the first stop that greets you soon after passing the Natchez Trace Parkway northern terminus entrance sign. Built in 1994, it received the Presidential Award for Design Excellence and is quite impressive in-person. Pedestrians can’t be on the bridge, but there is a convenient pull-off just before you drive over it where you can park and walk a short trail to a photography viewpoint.

War of 1812 Monument

When I set out to begin my Natchez Trace drive, my top priorities were the Native American earth mounds and Old Trace stands/inns. I’m not typically interested in war history and have never visited any battlegrounds. That said, war related monuments along the Trace did end up luring me, starting with this stark War of 1812 monument.

It’s just a stone pillar erected to honor fallen soldiers on the Trace, but something about it struck me. I had seen no-one else on the lonely parkway yet, and I was the only person at the monument. It was very quiet, and while reading about the hardship they endured while marching along the Trace, I looked around in each direction through the trees and tried to imagine what it must have been like in their shoes. I would have this opportunity for reflection countless more times on the Trace.

Gordon House

Unlike many buildings of the time, the brick home of Captain John Gordon, built in 1818, is still standing today. It was situated directly along the Old Trace and would have been a welcome sight for travelers who needed to use Gordon’s ferry service to cross the Duck River. Gordon served in the War of 1812 and the Seminole War, and was praised by Andrew Jackson himself.

In addition to viewing the house from the outside, visitors can also walk down to the ferry site. At least, you’re supposed to be able to, but I found this walk confusing. While attempting to read the (unreadable) information sign in front of the house, there is an obvious trail to your right which goes into the woods. I went this way for awhile before realizing it wasn’t correct. While facing the information sign, it turns out your back is facing the correct direction of the trail. You need to walk down the big hill into a clearing, where you’ll find a path into the trees which leads to a creek called Fattybread Branch ( map here ). If you are able to cross this creek, you can continue on the Old Trace until you reach the ferry site on the Duck River. I didn’t see an obvious way to cross the creek without sloshing in the water a bit, which would have been fine and not dangerous, but I knew I’d be visiting Colbert Ferry the following day and decided not to continue searching for Gordon’s Duck River ferry. The house itself was the main draw.

Baker Bluff Overlook

Shortly after Gordon House, there is a place to pull over on your left for the Baker Bluff Overlook. This is a quick stop to take in a pretty view of the surrounding landscape. I found some of the other panoramic viewpoints throughout the Trace a bit underwhelming in wintertime (forest overlooks might be nicer when the leaves are colorful in autumn), but this one was worth it.

Fall Hollow Waterfall

Between Jackson Falls and Fall Hollow, I much preferred Fall Hollow because it had a heavier stream. Jackson was barely dripping and had frozen icicles during my visit. If you have time to do both though, there is some interest to Jackson Falls. For that one you’ll follow a paved walkway down into a deep canyon and watch the water pour into it from the rim.

After Jackson Falls, drive on to Fall Hollow. The Fall Hollow site has two different falls. When you park and begin the walking trail , you’ll pass the first trickle almost immediately. Continue past this for the more impressive one. You’ll first walk by its source, and then the trail will bring you down to the base of the fall. The descent to get there may be a bit slippery, but it’s short. Just take your time; the view from the base of the fall is cooler than from the top! Once you’re down there you’ll also have a new perspective on the first fall. 

Meriwether Lewis Monument and Grave Site

If you’re camping, you’ll end your first day on the Natchez Trace at the Meriwether Lewis Monument and campground near Hohenwald, TN. Grinder’s Stand was located here, a place where weary travelers could book accommodation and a meal. It’s where Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame, had the last meal of his life in October of 1809. Late at night the sound of two gunshots rang out, and in one account, a cry for help, but no-one investigated. By morning, Lewis was dead in a log cabin. A replica of this cabin can be seen today. He was buried only a few hundred yards away, where a gravesite monument marks the spot.

The circumstances surrounding his death were mysterious; it was hastily ruled a suicide, but because there were two shots and his money was missing, some historians are not so sure.

A “stand” was like an inn and safe haven where traveler’s could rest, eat, and (attempt to) take sanctuary from potential dangers on the trail. As a long distance hiker myself, I know what a relief it is to arrive at a refuge or mountain hut!

Other potential stops on Day 1

  • Jackson Falls : Read above in my explanation of Fall Hollow.
  • Old Trace Walk : You will have many opportunities to stretch your legs and walk on surviving sections of the Old Trace throughout this entire road trip.
  • Devil’s Backbone State Natural Area : A 3-mile hiking trail for nature lovers.
  • Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee : A cute village for those who love shopping, antiques, and galleries.
  • Franklin, Tennessee : A Civil War battle took place here and there is a lot to see in historic downtown Franklin. You can take tours of three Civil War era homes, including Carter House, Carnton, and Rippa Villa. Taking a detour to Franklin requires getting off the Natchez Trace.
  • The Natchez Trace Parkway website has a list of everything you can see on the Tennessee section of the drive here .

Where to stay, end of Day 1

  • Free camping at Meriwether Lewis Monument.
  • Hotels in Hohenwald, TN or Florence, AL . There are some good breakfast spots in Florence and a fancy dinner place called Odette .

Day 2 Highlights on the Natchez Trace: Alabama and Mississippi

You have a couple options on how to start Day 2. You can begin by driving from your campsite at Meriwether Lewis Monument towards Sunken Trace and Colbert Ferry. After Colbert Ferry, get off the Trace in order to visit Muscle Shoals. Then retrace your “steps” back to the Trace and continue on to the Native mounds. Or, after Sunken Trace, get off the Trace and head straight into Florence, AL and Muscle Shoals, then visit Colbert Ferry afterwards. If you are planning to have breakfast in Florence/Muscle Shoals, that may decide your timing.

Sunken Trace

There are two pull-offs called “Sunken Trace”; the second one will come on Day 4. At this site, you can still make out three parallel paths where travelers tried carving different trails to get their wagons through the muddy, waterlogged, and “sunken” terrain. It’s a quick stop where you can pretty much look at the three paths, say “yup,” and then keep on your way, so not everyone may be interested in prioritizing this one. Personally, I think landscape archaeology is really cool. I get a kick out of being able to see cuts from pioneer wagon wheels still leaving their mark on the forest.

Muscle Shoals Sound Studio

Like Abbey Road, Electric Lady, and Sun Studio, the iconic Muscle Shoals Sound Studio is known to music fans around the world. Artists including The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Cher, Bob Seger, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, and the Staple Singers recorded there. More recently, The Black Keys and Lana Del Rey have added to its history.

Muscle Shoals was known for the iconic “swampy” sound of the studio musicians who accompanied the artists who recorded there. This backing band ultimately became known as The Swampers.

Today when you visit the studio, you can take a $20 guided tour which is offered every hour on the half hour from 10:30am to 3:30pm. The tour I took was guided by the sound engineer Chase, who provided a lot of context for the “artifacts” in the studio. I put artifacts in quotes because Muscle Shoals is still a working studio, and Chase said they don’t clear out any of the historic instruments or furniture when modern artists come in to record!

Bob Seger’s song “Old Time Rock & Roll” was recorded using that Yamaha piano pictured in my gallery. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Billy Powell wrote the piano part on “Freebird” on that Yamaha as well, though it was ultimately recorded elsewhere. The Swampers’ bassist David Hood had a special corner of the room where he always played; can you pick out David’s corner from my gallery? In the Staple Singers song “I’ll Take You There,” Mavis repeats the phrase “little David” a handful of times, a reference to David Hood.

Colbert Ferry

George Colbert ran a stand and ferry on the Tennessee River from 1800-1819. Andrew Jackson and his soldiers crossed the river via this ferry on their return from the Battle of New Orleans. Unfortunately the stand itself no longer exists, though you can see the clearing of land where it would have been located and look out over the riverbank to imagine how useful the ferry dock would have been before the bridge was built. 

Colbert had a Scottish father and a Chickasaw mother and was bilingual, so he was the perfect person to run a business that catered to many types of travelers along the Trace. When the Chickasaw people negotiated the treaty allowing the Americans to transform the Natchez Trace into a road through their lands, they did not give Americans all rights to the region. Colbert, as a member of the Chickasaw nation, retained the right to run this ferry (if you’re wondering why Gordon was allowed to establish a ferry on the Duck River despite not being Chickasaw – he came to a special agreement with Colbert).

Colbert was often referred to as a “chief speaker” representing Chickasaw interests. He traveled and met with presidents, including George Washington, to negotiate additional treaties with the US government. He even served in the Creek Wars and War of 1812. Despite all of this goodwill between cultures, ultimately he and his people were removed from their lands and forced to march towards Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears.

Pharr Mounds

The Pharr Mounds site is particularly scenic. You will look out over a large, idyllic meadow dotted with a collage of hay bales and Native American earth mounds. Eight of them, built and used about ~1-200AD during the Middle Woodland period, are spread over 90 acres. According to the National Park Service, some of them are burial mounds. You can read about the archaeological excavation of Pharr Mounds here . 

For context throughout the rest of the trip, you may find this chronological timeline of all the Natchez Trace mounds or this list by milepost helpful.

Graves of 13 Unknown Confederate Soldiers

Just outside of Tupelo, pull over to embark on a short 5 minute walk into the woods where you’ll find the grave markers of 13 unknown Confederate soldiers. Their final resting place is quiet and isolated, another opportunity to imagine what life might have been like for infantry who contended with unpredictable conditions in an America yet to be fully developed. Perhaps these soldiers died of exposure, untreated injury, or disease. This is also a place to reflect on the principles this country was (or wasn’t) founded on, and on whose backs. 

Civil War soldiers didn’t rely on the fading Trace as much as War of 1812 soldiers did, but they clearly found themselves on sections of it. As a result, some of them, these thirteen at least, died on the same trail that enslaved people would have been forced to march down in order to be sold at market in Natchez. Considering many Confederate soldiers fought to keep slavery alive as an institution, there’s some irony there. 

After seeing evidence of beautiful indigenous villages, stops like this juxtapose and cut through the charm of the Old Trace to remind you that the subsequent societies we built on top of them and the belief systems we imposed were not much of an improvement.

Note : On my Apple Maps app, there is a site called “Confederate Gravesites and Old Trace” that sits right on the Trace, and nearby there is another site called “Old Trace Confederate Cemetery” in the woods. If you put the second one into your device, it will take you on a weird suburban backroad where you can spot the back of the cemetery through the woods but you can’t park anywhere. Choose the first option, which has a pull-off parking spot.

Unfortunately, because of European influence, Chickasaw and Choctaw people also bought, sold, and owned African slaves. They continued this practice after their removal to “Indian Territory” on the Trail of Tears and even after slavery ended with the Civil War. Owning slaves was one criteria for acknowledgement as one of the “ Five Civilized Tribes .”

Elvis Presley Birthplace

Considering Tupelo, Mississippi is pretty much known for one thing and one thing only, it would be a shame to pass through without paying homage to The King!

Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in a small house built by his father, grandfather, and uncle in Tupelo. His twin brother was stillborn. His father Vernon had been loaned $180 to build the house but was not able to repay the loan, so the family was forced to move out when Elvis was 3 years old. They bounced around different residences in Mississippi until they moved to Memphis, Tennessee when Elvis was 13 years old. When he became successful, he ultimately bought Graceland in Memphis.

That first house is still standing in Tupelo, and you can actually go inside. With only two rooms, it reminded me of the historic 1800s stands that used to dot the Trace, which threw my sense of chronology for a loop. Elvis’ heyday was really not that long after the removal of Native American tribes from their ancestral homelands, and not that long after the end of slavery. In the other direction, Elvis died only 15 years before I was born, so I suppose my own lifetime is not that far removed from these events either.

There is also a museum on the grounds featuring stage clothes and casual clothes that Elvis wore, concert ticket stubs, artifacts that speak to the technology of the time, and contextual information about what it would have been like for their family to live “on the wrong side of the tracks” in Tupelo in the early 1900s. It is a small museum, so perhaps if you’ve already been to other Elvis-themed tourist attractions you might find it redundant, but as an Elvis “newb” I thought it was a great collection and very informative. 

You can also visit the church the family would have worshiped at. Since the ticket is more expensive if you visit all three buildings, I opted out of including the church. It’s $10 to visit one site, $15 to visit two sites, and $20 to visit all three. I chose the house and the museum .

Other potential stops on Day 2

  • Alabama Music Hall of Fame : I was satisfied with my visit to Muscle Shoals, but if you want to dig deeper into regional music history, this museum is highly rated.
  • Bear Creek Mound : This mound sits right on the border of Alabama and Mississippi and is one of the later examples from about 1100 CE. Prior to the mound, this was a village site with history dating back to 8000 BC. I think every mound is worth a stop, but this one is quite small compared to the others, and partly reconstructed after excavations . If you are trying to prioritize only a few Native American mounds, I would pick Emerald Mound, Pharr Mounds, and Bynum Mounds.
  • Tishomingo State Park : Tishomingo was the last Chickasaw chief and war leader before the tribe’s removal to Oklahoma.
  • Chickasaw Village Site : A Chickasaw village once stood here, but there is little remaining evidence. It is more of an interpretive site with some informational signs and depressions in the earth where we can assume structures once stood. They’ve been paved over to highlight the outlines, which seems like an odd choice from a preservation standpoint.
  • Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center .
  • Woodall Mountain : If you are a peakbagger, this is the tallest peak in Mississippi at 806 feet.
  • Rock Spring Nature Trail : This is just over the river on the opposite bank from Colbert Ferry. After stopping so long for Muscle Shoals, I wasn’t in the mood to do a walk and wanted to put some driving mileage under my belt to get back on the Trace. I skipped this one, but the peaceful pictures make me regret that a little.
  • Tupelo National Battlefield and Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield .
  • The Natchez Trace Parkway website has a list of everything you can see from milepost 341.7-249.6 in Alabama and Mississippi here .

Where to stay, end of Day 2

  • Free camping at Jeff Busby Campground. There is a nice lookout point called “Little Mountain” that you can check out at Jeff Busby even if you don’t plan on staying to camp, though I think the forested view is probably more impressive when there are leaves on the trees. If you camp at Jeff Busby tonight, then you will pass by Bynum Mounds on the way and I would recommend adding that to your list of stops for today instead of tomorrow.
  • Hotels in Tupelo, MS .

As you leave Tupelo behind, you are making your way out of ancestral Chickasaw lands and into Choctaw territory.

Day 3 Highlights on the Natchez Trace: Mississippi

Bynum mounds .

If you stayed in Tupelo last night instead of camping at Jeff Busby, then the Bynum Mounds are your first stop on morning three. The two surviving Bynum Mounds are the earliest examples of Native American earth mounds that you’ll find along the Natchez Trace, dating to the Middle Woodland Period between 100 BCE-100 CE. Human remains were found in the mounds they excavated on this site. I enjoyed this site because you can take a paved walkway up close to the mounds.

French Camp Historic Village

French Camp is so named because it was established in 1812 by Frenchman Louis LeFleur, who ran a stand to accommodate travelers on the Natchez Trace. More businesses set up shop around him, and soon there was a small village. Today about 200 people live at French Camp, in more modern homes of course, but some historic buildings are still standing. Drive or walk a loop road to visit the old blacksmith shop, Colonel James Drane House, the Alumni Museum with Natchez Trace memorabilia, and some kind of barn building that has cute miniature ponies outside! With no-one around to explain, I was confused as to why a seemingly working and active stable was mixed in with the old 1800s log cabins. 

Make sure you time your trip so that you aren’t visiting French Camp on a Sunday! I really messed up in this regard. Gift shops and other buildings are closed on Sundays. The quaint Council House restaurant with its consistently well-rated cuisine is a main draw of French Camp, and it’s also closed on Sundays. It’s attached to an 1840s building so that you feel as if you’re experiencing the same hospitality you might have enjoyed in LeFleur’s day. The problem is that the two museums in Jackson are free on Sundays , so if you’re trying to see French Camp and the Jackson museums on the same day, Sunday is both good and bad. You might time it so that you visit French Camp on a Saturday, stay in Jackson overnight, and visit the Jackson museums first thing Sunday morning.

“LeFleur married a Choctaw woman. Their famous son who changed his name to Greenwood Leflore, became a Choctaw chief and a Mississippi State Senator. Named after him are the city of Greenwood and the county of Leflore.” NPS

Cole Creek and Cypress Swamp

The swamps were some of my favorite stops along the entire Natchez Trace Parkway! Having grown up in southeast Texas, I’ve contended with my fair share of mosquito-ridden, hurricane-ravished, smelly swamplands, but the baldcypress and water tupelo swamps at Cole Creek and Cypress Swamp were something else entirely. Rather than rotting, decaying cesspools, these water forests were pristine and elegant. The trees twist and turn like artful sculptures, and the water reflects rainbow color palettes.

There are two separate swamp stops, each with boardwalks that allow you to venture on short interpretive nature trails. The first and shorter stop is Cole Creek, and about an hour’s drive later you’ll come to the longer Cypress Swamp stop. Since I was particularly enchanted by these walks, I would recommend stopping at both, but if you want to prioritize one over the other, go with Cypress Swamp. 

As you make your way into Jackson, Mississippi, don’t forget to cue up Johnny Cash and June Carter’s “Jackson” on your radio!

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History

These two museums in Jackson are brand new and immaculate.

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum ’s mission is to “document, exhibit the history of, and educate the public about the American Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. state of Mississippi between 1945 and 1970.” Touring the museum’s eight galleries will teach visitors about Jim Crow Laws, Brown vs. Board of Education , the murders of Vernon Dahmer, Medgar Evers, and Emmett Till, the practice of lynching, the formation of the KKK, the Freedom Riders, the Biloxi Wade-In, and more. The museum also looks back on the experiences of the first enslaved Africans shipped to Virginia in 1619 and Caribbeans brought to Mississippi in 1721. 

You could spend hours in this museum, and most people pair it with visiting the Museum of Mississippi History , which covers 15,000 years from the mound-builders to present day. This really puts a lot of what you’ve been seeing along the Natchez Trace into context. Some travelers on the Natchez Trace may want to dedicate an extra day to staying around Jackson to experience both museums fully.

Both museums are closed on Mondays but have FREE entrance on Sundays! Otherwise, general admission includes both museums for $15 per adult.

Jackson is also a good place to stop for lunch. Check out the restaurant layer on my Google Map above .

Rocky Springs Townsite

If you are camping, you’ll end Day 3 at the Rocky Springs ghost town and campground. There is also a hiking trail here if you need to stretch your legs. If you spent a lot of time in Jackson at the museums, you might arrive at your campsite after dark and decide to check out the ghost town in the morning. If you decided to get a hotel in Jackson, then Rocky Springs will be your first stop on morning 4.

Rocky Springs was first settled in the 1790s along the creek that gave it its name. According to the Park Service, 2,616 citizens plus 2,000 slaves lived there by 1860. It ultimately declined for multiple reasons, including crop failure due to a boll weevil infestation, a yellow fever epidemic, and the Civil War.

The only building still standing at Rocky Springs is the old church, which apparently still holds services for surrounding communities (after I posted my pictures of it on Instagram, a friend from Mississippi told me he got married there!). If unlocked, you are welcome to go inside. Behind the church is a cemetery with graves dating throughout the 1800s. I assume some of the people buried there were victims of yellow fever.

Across the trail from the church is a loop walk with information plaques about Rocky Springs. Along this loop you’ll find two metal safe deposit vaults, left behind because they were too heavy to move, I presume, and the remnants of a cistern. One of the safes is the only remaining evidence of the Rocky Springs post office. 

Other potential stops on Day 3

  • Boyd Mounds : Again, I made an effort to stop at every single mound site, but if I had to recommend visiting only the most impressive, Boyd would not be on that list since it’s quite small.
  • Detour to Vicksburg : You’ll need to get off the Trace to visit the U.S.S. Cairo Museum and Old Courthouse Museum. Thoroughly exploring here could add an extra day to your Natchez Trace itinerary. If you do go, check out a self-guided audio tour of Vicksburg here .
  • Raymond Military Park : A Civil War battlefield where the Battle of Raymond took place.
  • The Natchez Trace Parkway website has a list of everything you can see from milepost 131-249.6 in central Mississippi here .

Where to stay, end of Day 3

  • Free camping at Rocky Springs Campground.
  • Hotels in Jackson, MS .

Day 4 Highlights on the Natchez Trace: Mississippi

This stop really drives home the meaning of the word “sunken” more than the other “Sunken Trace” stop from Day 2. Where the Old Trace path was soft with loess soil, thousands of walkers, wagons, and riders wore a deep fissure into the ground. I didn’t realize that was the case when I made this stop. At Rocky Springs the night before, signs explained how similar features at the ghost town were caused by erosion, so I thought it was the same situation here. I only parked and took a quick look, but you can join walkers of years past by strolling on this section of the Old Trace.

Windsor Ruins

The Windsor Ruins are not listed on the National Park Service’s official Natchez Trace Parkway website under “things to do” in southern Mississippi, so I’m glad I heard about it elsewhere and was able to work it into my trip!

Construction on Smith Coffee Daniel II’s Greek Revival-style 23-roomed mansion was completed in 1861. This opinion may be in bad taste considering a tragic 1890 fire left only these ruins, but the main draw of Windsor Ruins is how gorgeous the charred and slowly decaying 45-foot pillars look as they tower above your head. As I arrived early in the morning, sunshine glinted through the trees and highlighted the columns from behind, casting long shadows over the grounds. It’s a photographer’s dream.

Mount Locust Stand

Mount Locust is the only surviving stand along the Natchez Trace. By the time you arrive here, you’ve really earned it after seeing so many empty plots of land that require you to squint to imagine where an inn once stood.

Unfortunately, Mount Locust was also a cotton plantation that kept slaves; there is a cemetery behind the stand where 43 enslaved people are buried in unmarked graves. Some of these slaves were likely bought at Forks of the Road market in Natchez, which we’ll visit when we arrive at the southern terminus of the Trace later today. 

There is also a cemetery onsite for the white family that ran Mount Locust, featuring much nicer headstones. The same Ferguson-Chamberlain family continued to live on the grounds until 1944. Rick Chamberlain was the last member of the family buried here, and he was the first interpretive Park Ranger at Mount Locust.

When I visited in January of 2024, this alert was on the NPS website: “Due to storm damage the visitor center and restrooms are closed. The grounds, and historic inn and stand will be open intermittently throughout the winter.” I didn’t understand what exactly “intermittent” meant or how to plan around it. When I arrived, the gate to the parking area was closed and I couldn’t drive in. I parked outside of the closure and walked the rest of the way in. I avoided the cordoned off visitor center and restroom block, but continued on to Mount Locust and the cemeteries. I was the only one there. Signs indicated that visitors can enter the stand through the back door, so I walked around back and tried all four doors. I struggled to open three of them and didn’t want to force it. The fourth door opened onto a bedroom with creepy dolls inside. I shut it pretty quickly.

As I made my way back towards my car, two volunteer rangers were walking their dog and found me. I thought I would get in trouble for trespassing, but instead they took me on a private tour of the stand and opened all of the locked doors for me to go fully inside! They taught me more about the history, letting me know the background about Rick Chamberlain, that some travelers would actually sleep underneath the stand, that the high chair in the dining room is thought to be original and passed down through the Ferguson-Chamberlain family for generations, and that some historians belief Mount Locust was built on top of a Native American mound.

Emerald Mound

Emerald Mound is the second largest Mississippian Period Native American temple mound after Monk’s Mound at Cahokia in St Louis . If you only visit one mound on the Natchez Trace, make it Emerald Mound! This one is absolutely massive and has a paved walkway that you can climb to actually get up on top of the first square-shaped flat-topped tier. Once atop this tier, please do not climb up onto the smaller rounded mounds.

Emerald was built and used around ~1300-1600 AD (some sources date the beginning at around 1350 AD and the end as late as 1750. It was built over a prior Mississippian village that existed c. 1200 AD). Cahokia was abandoned circa ~1350 AD. This made me wonder if perhaps Cahokians migrated south and went on to build Emerald? Like Monk’s Mound at Cahokia, Emerald has smaller temple mounds on top of a giant platform mound. Of course, as we’ve learned throughout our Natchez Trace road trip, other mounds were being built all along the Mississippi River Valley since before Cahokia’s emergence.

Grand Village of the Natchez

As travelers arrive at the southern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway, they’ll finally enter the town of Natchez, Mississippi.

The National Park Service believes the Natchez are descendants of the Native Americans who built Emerald Mound; when they abandoned Emerald in the 1600s, they established their new capital at the Grand Village site in modern day Natchez. If my theory about Cahokian connections to Emerald is correct, then this was the latest in a long line of southward migration before the Natchez were ultimately removed to Oklahoma reservations, or sold into slavery in the USA and Haiti.

A massive, thunderous storm poured buckets over Natchez on the day I arrived, so I wasn’t able to wander the grounds to check out the mounds, but the indoor museum was free. Here I learned how the Natchez tribe battled against French colonists in the 1700s to protect their homelands. I was also enthralled by accounts of Natchez cultural practices and societal hierarchies written by French ethnographer Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz. 

The chief of the Natchez was called the Great Sun, and the war chief was the Tattooed Serpent. The person who held the office of Tattooed Serpent was always the younger brother of whoever held the position of Great Sun. The Tattooed Serpent during the time of Le Page du Pratz died in 1725. At his funeral, many of his family members and servants were voluntarily sacrificed along with him, strangled at a temple atop a platform mound. The war chief’s body was carried to this temple on a palanquin, and everyone was buried within and around it. 

Forks of the Road

Forks in the Road slave trade “market” operated in Natchez from 1833 to 1863 and was the second largest domestic slave market in the Deep South. Enslaved people were brought here from Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and the Carolinas. Shackles and chains embedded in cement on the ground serve to mark the location of Forks in the Road, a particularly heinous reminder of our country’s past.

There is a lot of charm throughout the Natchez Trace Parkway, but by the time I got to Natchez, I struggled to see it anymore. I had no interest in visiting the stately, genteel Old South mansions built from slave labor that are advertised as pretty tourist attractions. They are mixed in with poverty that’s been passed down over generations. 

I found the final day on the Trace to be extremely somber. Throughout the Parkway, travelers are physically confronted at every milepost with eons of history, and that history is often traumatic more than celebratory. You watch as beautiful Native mounds stop being inhabited, as enslaved people are forced to build new towns on top of them, and as tombstones of soldiers begin to dot the forest. It made me look around and wonder, “…and for what? So this could take its place? People had to die so that towns like Natchez could exist?” I feel bad talking down on what is many people’s hometown today, but Natchez is quite gloomy. A lot of towns that colonists created in Alabama and Mississippi did not turn out to be some grand wonderland.

While this may sound like a downer of a wrap-up to my Natchez Trace Parkway road trip itinerary, I think it’s appropriate. Elements of this road trip should feel unsettling. We are pilgrimaging through American history, which was not always noble.

Other potential stops on Day 4

  • Owens Creek “Waterfall” : This spring would have once been important to the Rocky Springs community, but today it’s just a small trickle. It’s still a pleasant little stop, but a very quick one.
  • Mangum Mound : This mound is rather large, and before I got to Emerald Mound, I figured this would probably be the largest example on the Trace. Since Emerald is bigger and you can’t walk on top of Mangum, this one takes a backseat as my second favorite mound of the day.
  • Antebellum homes : There are tons of old buildings in Natchez, a few of which you can take tours of. Check out Rosalie Mansion, Melrose Mansion, The Burn, Longwood, Stanton Hall, and St. Mary Basilica. During the Natchez Pilgrimage event held in spring and fall, additional homes are open for tours. Third-party operators also offer history tours in Natchez .
  • Natchez Balloon Festival : If you’re in Natchez in autumn, you might be in time for the festival !
  • The Natchez Trace Parkway website has a list of everything you can see from milepost 0-131 in southern Mississippi here .

Where to stay, end of Day 4

  • Hotels in Natchez, MS .
  • There are free campsites 30-60 minutes from Natchez but they aren’t particularly well rated. Staying at one of the paid campgrounds nearby is more convenient.

Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway is so affecting because it’s relatively untouched by modernity and allows visitors to experience history as authentically as possible. There is rarely anyone else around to remind you what decade you’re in. It’s easy to imagine yourself traversing this route in the 1800s, concerned about robbers and the distance to the next stand.

Even if you never step foot in any of the curated museums along the Trace to look at artifacts behind glass enclosures, the roadside pull-offs teach you the same lessons more viscerally. If following my four-day Natchez Trace Parkway itinerary, I guarantee even the most studied historian or ecologist will come away with new perspectives on the peoples and places of the American southeast.

Louisiana: Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Site and Museum

Archaeology travel: ancient mound city of cahokia near st. louis, best moderate difficulty day hikes in the smoky mountains, best easy day hikes in the arkansas ozarks, historic sites in hannibal, missouri: mark twain’s hometown, northern new mexico road trip: bisti badlands, ancestral ruins, western gothic usa road trip stops: “difficult beauty”, things to do in mesa verde national park in winter.

My dream is to write travel and hiking content full-time. All of my guides and itineraries are free and my travels are self-funded. If you enjoy my site and would like to support, you can donate any amount to my Ko-fi page. Thank you!!

Lots of good information! But would be more helpful if you had included the approximate milepost marker number for stop.

Hi John, thanks for the feedback, maybe I will add that. For now, that info is readily available on the official Natchez Trace website if you’re looking to cross reference some of these places with mile markers

Are there bike routes along the Natchez Trace Parkway, or can you only hike? And can you travel here with kids easily?

Hi Trisha, there’s not separate bike lanes or mountain biking trails, but people bicycle on the main driving road. Since it’s not busy most times of year and the road is in awesome shape, I bet it feels pretty safe.

Should be an easy trip with kids since there’s lots of places to pull off and take breaks to stretch your legs and use a bathroom etc! But I guess it depends on the kid; the attractions are mainly historical sites which might be a little boring for some.

This looks so cool, I honestly felt like I had already stepped back in time looking at the photos! Seeing Elvis Presley’s birthplace would be cool too – I feel like he had such an interesting life.

I’ve never heard of this place before reading your article! It sounds like an underrated place to explore. Thanks for sharing your recommendations for this area!

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Last updated: April 14, 2023

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2680 Natchez Trace Parkway Tupelo, MS 38804

800 305-7417 The Parkway Visitor Center near Tupelo, MS, is open 9am-4:30pm seven days a week. The visitor center is closed Thanksgiving, December 25th and January 1st.

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NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY

NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY

Complete information on traveling on the Natchez Trace Parkway is now available on National Park Planner!

The Natchez Trace Parkway begins in Natchez, Mississippi, passes through the northwest corner of Alabama, and ends just south of Nashville, Tennessee, a 444-mile stretch of road. The route follows the original Natchez Trace as closely as possible. The Trace had been an important foot trail back in the late 1700s before it evolved into one of America’s first National Roads in the early 1800s. Along the way you will find historical markers, historic buildings, Indian burial and ceremonial mounds, unique bridges, picnic areas, hiking trails, campgrounds, lakes, rivers, and scenic overlooks. Nearly two dozen short segments of the original Trace have been cleared by the National Park Service so that you can walk on them and experience what travelers from the early 1800s experienced.

The Parkway is open to private passenger vehicles and motorcycles only. There are no stop lights or stop signs on the entire stretch of road, though there are plenty of exits that lead to towns where travelers can purchase gas and food and find hotels, bed and breakfast inns, and private campgrounds. The speed limit is 50 MPH. There are no fees to drive on the Parkway.

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Natchez Trace Parkway

Last updated: October 13, 2023

My Itchy Travel Feet

My Itchy Travel Feet

The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Driving through History on a Natchez Trace Road Trip

This article may contain referral links. Read our DISCLOSURE

On a Natchez Trace road trip, you’ll experience history, culture and a scenic drive through beautiful areas of the South. Alan and I have driven a small portion of the road on a short, Natchez Trace tour .

However My Itchy Travel Feet Featured Contributor, Debi Lander from ByLanderSea , drove the entire parkway. She shares her Natchez Trace itinerary so that you can do that, too!

The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway runs from Nashville, Tennessee , to Natchez, Mississippi . The recreational road and scenic drive links the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi rivers, while passing through three states.

Two-lane road approaching a scenic bridge and bordered by woodlands on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Table of Contents

What is the Natchez Trace Parkway?

Natchez Trace map for planning a Natchez Trace road trip.

The parkway roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace.” The historic travel corridor was used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. 

The National Park Service manages the Parkway ( official website ), so I think of it as a very long, but narrow National Park travel adventure . The landscape includes trails, campgrounds, historic markers, and bodies of water.

natchez trace travel planner

You’ll find the two-lane Natchez Trace permits no billboards, trucks, hotels or gas stations—and limits speed to 50 mph. It’s like taking a Sunday drive on a rural country road.

My girlfriend Judy and I carefully planned a slow, southern sojourn centered around the Trace. We would drive the route, stopping to explore and stay in nearby cities.

We hoped to discover American history , country music, and indulge in southern cuisine . While others enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping on the Trace, we chose less adventurous, but more comfortable activities. 

The History of the Natchez Trace Trail

natchez trace travel planner

The original trail comprised a patchwork of foot trails stretching over Choctaw and Chickasaw land. The early travelers encountered many hardships among the swamps, dense forest, and rivers.

Over time, some of the footpaths were beaten down, creating long passages with banks so high travelers could only see what lay immediately ahead. Lying in wait were bands of robbers anxious to steal from the traders heading home. 

It took about 35 days to traverse the Natchez Trace trail by foot, 25 days on horseback. Life was tough, but the settlers, soldiers and opportunists were tougher.

Passing along the original Natchez Trace were figures from history such as Daniel Boone, Aaron Burr, Washington Irving, the great chief Tecumseh, David Crockett, Jim Bowie and Andrew Jackson. Even Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark trekked this route, although he died under mysterious circumstances at Grinder’s stand and is buried nearby.  

By 1809, the Trace had been widened to accommodate wagons, making it an important trade route between Nashville and the Mississippi River. It continued to flourish until the rise of the steamboat, then slowly fell into disuse.

By the Civil War, the Natchez Trace was all but forgotten though some skirmishes and battles were fought in the vicinity.

The trail would likely be lost had it not been for the formidable ladies of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). They brought the project to the attention of lawmakers and raised funds.

The National Park Service took over in 1938. The Parkway was finally completed in 2005.

Boomer Travel Tip

Use our road trip planner to make the most of your next road trip adventure.

Start your Natchez Trace Road Trip in Nashville

Two-lane Natchez Trace Parkway travels through a long corridor of trees.

Judy and I flew to Nashville to soak in the lively atmosphere of Music City and take in a performance at the Grand Ole Opry . The next morning, we entered the beginning (or end) of the well-marked Trace at the Double Arch Bridge.

As bridges go, the Double Arch is a lovely thing, impressive in its simplicity. However, getting our first glimpse of the scenic Parkway, made us feel conflicted. We wanted to continue down the canopy-covered road, but our plans included a longed-for visit to Graceland in Memphis. Elvis was calling. 

We detoured to Memphis and found those ghosts of Elvis—lurking among his home, costumes and platinum records. The King still reigns supreme at Graceland. 

Diverting to Tupelo

Tiny white house where Elvis Presley was born.

Tupelo, Mississippi lies two hours south of Memphis; its claim to fame is the Elvis Presley Birthplace Park. The 15-acre setting features the wooden, two-room shotgun house where the performer was born.

The house is so small that it only takes about five minutes to tour. His family moved around, losing the home, but remaining in this neighborhood, until moving to Memphis.  

Of course, the Birthplace Museum showcases Elvis’ early years. The Presley childhood church was moved to the site and you can stop in a memorial chapel next door, built after his death. 

natchez trace travel planner

Two statues grace the hill above. The pair, entitled Becoming, symbolize the transformation of Elvis, The Boy at 11, to Elvis, The Entertainer. Well done!

Downtown Tupelo tributes include several colorful murals, street-side, and guitar-shaped artworks. Of course we visited Tupelo Hardware, the place Elvis’ Mama bought him his first guitar. 

Judy and I spent the night in Tupelo ( search for hotels here ) after dining at the Blue Canoe (renowned for its live music and Blueberry Donut Bread Pudding). A suggested Elvis-themed breakfast made me hesitant, but the King Chicken Fillin’ Station’s proved over the top delicious—as were the calories.  

Natchez Trace Parkway Headquarters

Brick building that houses the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center

Before driving the trace, we stopped at the Natchez Trace Visitor Center in Tupelo to see the introductory film. As always, the National Park Service does a good job with their presentations; this one explores the trail’s history. Highly recommended.

The official Natchez Trace map (available at the center or online ) denotes the numerous historical markers, all designed to pull off and park. We used the map as our Natchez Trace trip planner, stopping frequently and occasionally finding something interesting enough to get us out of the car.  

Informational marker on the Natchez trace

For example, at the Chickasaw Village site, homeland to the tribe, we looked at artist renderings and walked a short interpretive trail. Plans to reconstruct a fort and village have not reached fruition. The tribe was one of many forced to relocate to Oklahoma in the 1800s.

At another marker, we walked five minutes to reach old Confederate graves with stone markers. A group of motorcyclists were putting flags on the gravesites. 

Need to update your road trip gear? Start with our recommendations for best road trip gear .

Stopping in Jackson, Mississippi 

Jackson lies just 10 miles off the Trace, an ideal place to spend a night . After all, it’s the state capital and boasts two fantastic museums: the Mississippi History Museum and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

Good thing we allotted the entire afternoon. The two attractions jointly cover 200,000 square feet and include 22,000 artifacts. As recommended, we started on the history side and found the 1800-1900s the most interesting.  

The Civil Rights Museum

white modern building with blue sky and clouds

The state-of-the-art Mississippi Civil Rights Museum presents powerful stories . You’ll find eight interactive galleries with striking images and displays. Seven of the galleries encircle a central space, highlighted by a sculpture called “This Little Light of Mine.”

You move from the darkened galleries into the light as you work your way around the museum. The sculpture becomes brightest when the music of the Movement swells, about every 15 minutes.

I found myself pulled in by the clapping, swaying and singing. This spot is truly uplifting, a good thing because there’s no sugarcoating here. The museum tells poignant, often tearful tales.  

A lynching tree inscribed with names bears witness to the 600 Mississippians hung in the state. Other displays include Ku Klux Klan robes, the rifle that killed Medgar Evers, plus many informative videos set within small spaces—for example, the back of a police wagon or a jail cell. 

The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum highlights stories that Americans can’t and shouldn’t forget. It’s a must-visit while visiting the state. 

Dining in Jackson, Mississippi

Man in a green shirt making guacamole at the table in Babalu restaurant.

For dinner, we headed to Babalu, a restaurant named after the signature song of the television character Ricky Ricardo, played by Desi Arnez, on I Love Lucy . The Latin-inspired menu features tapas and tacos instead of typical southern fare. Try their signature fresh guacamole made tableside along with the house margarita: The Baba Rita. 

Turquoise chairs and laminate tables at Brent's Drugs in Jackson, MS

For breakfast, boomers will love Brent’s Drugs , an old-fashion pharmacy/soda fountain that takes you back to childhood days. The place opened in 1946 and feels like a time capsule with real soda jerks.

No surprise, many scenes in the movie The Help (did you read the book?) were filmed there. Hidden in the rear of Brent’s you’ll discover The Apothecary—the most wonderful speakeasy-style bar. I wish we’d known of this earlier. 

The Mississippi State Capitol

In my opinion, state capitols are always worth a visit. They burst with grandeur and symbolic art.

natchez trace travel planner

Judy and I quickly popped in to the Mississippi State Capitol building for a self- tour using the visitor brochure as our guide. We loved the rotunda and thought it fun to see author John Grisham ’s photo on the wall (1983-90) when he was representative of the State Senate.   

Touring Vicksburg

White monument with steps leading up to it in Vicksburg National Battlefield.

Vicksburg also lies about 25-30 off the Trace but should be included on the road trip. The Vicksburg National Military Park ( official website ), a unit in the National Park Service, is the most visited site in the entire state.

Hire a guide (at the visitor center) to join you in your car. Ours was a walking encyclopedia with knowledge about the battles, the importance of topography, and what happened to those in the town. 

Southern food dishes spread out on a lazy susan at Walnut Hill Restaurant.

Stop for lunch at Walnut Hills Restaurant for a fabulous family-style meal. The table will be laden with bowl after bowl of Southern specialties: green beans, turnip greens, macaroni & cheese, coleslaw, creamed corn, cheese broccoli, fried okra, cheese grits, black-eyed peas, rice and gravy, plus a basket of cornbread and biscuits. 

Then, comes the fried chicken, honestly the best I have ever tasted anywhere—almost enough to make you drool. 

ornately decorated rooms in the southern plantation style

The Cedar Grove Mansion Inn , a bed & breakfast surrounded by manicured gardens, immediately put us under its spell. We indulged in the gracious charm of the Antebellum estate, honestly an attraction on its own.

Judy slept in the General Grant room, including many original furnishings. I enjoyed the General Sherman room.  

Windsor Ruins

Vicksburg could have kept us busy another day and night, especially if we’d been interested in gambling. Casinos do big business in Vicksburg.

Columns stand on a site that used to be a plantation house near the Natchez Trace.

Instead, we headed toward the Windsor Ruins near Port Gibson, getting a bit lost in kudzu covered territory. The ruins are all that remain of what was once a palatial mansion, but they make a haunting sight and favorite of photographers.   

Onward to Natchez

Sunset shines through a bridge over the Mississippi River in Natchez.

Driving again on the well-marked Natchez Trace felt like a breath of fresh air. The Parkway eliminates stress unless you can’t abide the 35mph speed limit. On the Trace, you’re surrounded by nature and feel the joy of being behind the wheel. 

Reaching the city of Natchez , however, wasn’t the end of the trip. We stayed two more days and basked in elegance and charm.

Elaborately decorated Southern home in hues of red and gold.

In Natchez, history runs deep and we specifically timed our trip to coincide with the Fall Pilgrimage of Homes, a semi-annual event when rich antebellum splendor shines. Historic homes, including some privately-owned homes, open for special tours. Costumed, knowledgeable guides share the history of the houses, families and city. 

We started at Green Leaves where the owner was our guide, a descendant of the original owner. An incredible variety of priceless keepsakes fill this home.

On the back porch, we found period costumes and were encouraged to try them on. Judy and I didn’t hesitate. We delighted in the opportunity and almost felt like real Southern belles. 

Brick plantation home with white wood balconies.

Touring  Longwood , the grand dame of Natchez, should be on everyone’s list. The massive, but unfinished octagonal house shows its designed-to-impress wealth on the outside. Only the lower floor was ever completed but it contains many original pieces and paintings.

Greek Revival Stanton Hall , built in the 1850s by a cotton merchant, remains one of the most opulent antebellum mansions to survive the Civil War. Thankfully, many Natchez homes were spared and therefore include fine antiques.

Many refer to Rosalie Mansion , built with red bricks in 1823, as Our Lady of the Bluffs. The house overlooks the river on the site of Fort Rosalie. During the Civil War, the home and grounds acted as the Union Army headquarters for the Natchez area, but the owner’s wife and daughter remained in residence.   

natchez trace travel planner

Judy and I stayed at the Monmouth Historic Inn , a gorgeous property with 26-acres of bucolic grounds. Overnight guests feel the colonial ambiance of the mansion, yet stay in period-looking cottages with all the modern amenities.

Their famed bartender will mix up the ‘best mint julep in the South’ to guarantee good moods. Even if you don’t stay there, drop by for a cocktail. Better yet, stay for dinner at Restaurant 1818 ; we feasted on a grand meal featuring decadent seafood. 

There’s more to Natchez than wealth. You can’t leave the Mississippi city until you’ve gone down by the river’s edge. Stop at Natchez Under-the-Hill , a row of riverfront restaurants and shops far tamer than the brothels, taverns and gambling halls that stood there 200 years ago.

Locals and tourists alike sip drinks at the popular Under-the-Hill Saloon . This area radiates a fun, lively atmosphere and becomes especially popular at sunset. 

Finally, it was time to return the rental car in New Orleans and fly back to Florida . Our Natchez Trace trip and exploration of cities in Mississippi far exceeded our expectations.

We learned fascinating tales of American history and savored much Southern cuisine. Road trips that get off the highways are the best way to see the USA and the Trace certainly offers a traveler many options.

Frequently Asked Questions about driving the Natchez Trace

natchez trace travel planner

The Trace has been a unit of the National Park System since 1938.

The Parkway can be driven in two days, but why hurry? Take your time by stopping at all of the pullouts, taking short hikes and exploring nearby communities.

Nashville, Tennessee and Natchez, Mississippi are the end points of the Natchez Trace. Those traveling south will begin in Nashville and end in Natchez. For drivers motoring north, the road begins in Natchez and travels north to Nashville.

The road is mostly posted at 50 mph, however some sections have a lower speed limit. This is a road for taking it slow and enjoying your surroundings so don’t hurry the trip.

You won’t find any lodging on the Natchez Trace Parkway itself, except for three primitive campgrounds. However you’ll find bed and breakfasts, inns and hotels in nearby communities. Take the opportunity to explore while you’re there.

Active travelers will enjoy biking on the Parkway. Horseback riding, fishing and hiking are other options. Hiking trails vary in length but include short paths that travel the original Trace.

In spring, you’ll enjoy flowering dogwoods and wildflowers. Fall offers a colorful scene from the changing leaves. Summer is hot and humid on the Parkway.

Many thanks to Mississippi Tourism, especially Visit Tupelo, Visit Jackson, Visit Natchez, and Visit Vicksburg for their support of our Natchez Trace road trip. For more information and tourist tips visit their websites. 

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Natchez Trace Parkway Trip Planner

Natchez Trace Parkway Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

A drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway is a journey through time, history, and the natural beauty of the American South. Natchez Trace is unique in that it is a national park, that is a ribbon of parkway enveloped by the tranquility of the countryside and sometimes urban areas. The route essentially follows the historical route of the original Trace that was a network of trails used by Native Americans and later by European explorers and traders, maintaining the legacy of these early travelers. Remnants of their presence can still be seen in the form of ancient mounds, historic markers, and interpretive exhibits scattered along the route.

The rolling hills and lush forests serve as a picturesque backdrop as we venture through important river crossings and beautiful landscapes, with scenic viewpoints and short hikes where you can put yourself into the footsteps of thousands of years of human traffic, and in some sections, even drive a little of the original route.

How to Get Here Getting Around Entrance Fees Map Where to Stay When to Visit How Much Time Do You Need How to Avoid the Crowds Things to See and Do Best Hikes Family Fun Adventures Awesome Experiences Packing List Top Travel Tips

How To Get Here

The entire Natchez Trace Parkway runs through three states – Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi – in its 444-mile (715-kilometer) journey from the outskirts of Nashville, Tennesssee, to Natchez, Mississippi. This tour covers 136 miles (219 kilometers) of the Natchez Trace Parkway, stretching through the Tennessee and Alabama sections of the drive. 

You can drive the Parkway from north to south or south to north.

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Northern Terminus

Nashville, Tennessee

From its northern terminus just south of Nashville, Tennessee, it’s an easy 40-minute drive from the Nashville International Airport to the start of the Parkway. This major airport is serviced by 22 airlines, including major carriers and regional partners to cities across the US, as well as to Canada and Mexico.

Southern Terminus

Mississippi – Alabama Stateline

The southern terminus of the tour is at the Alabama-Mississippi state line, with the closest small town being Tishomingo, Mississippi. To access the Parkway from here, the closest airport is Huntsville International Airport (HSV) in Huntsville, Alabama, located one hour and 40 minutes away. American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines and several others offer non-stop flights to 14 cities including Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington D.C.

The next closest airport is Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) in Birmingham, Alabama, which is two hours and 10 minutes away. This is the largest airport in Alabama and American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines offer non-stop flights to 17 cities.

Natchez, Mississippi

To drive the entire Natchez Trace Parkway, the southern start to the route is in Natchez, Mississippi. To get there, the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is just an hour and 40-minute drive away. The Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport in Jackson, Mississippi, is a one hour and 50-minute drive to Natchez. Please keep in mind that if you start at the southern terminus, our tour won’t begin until you reach the Mississippi – Alabama border.

Getting Around

The most common transportation used to explore the Natchez Trace Parkway is by private vehicle, there is no public transportation along the Parkway itself. Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway is fairly simple. You can either drive it north to south, or south to north. Of course, there are a number of attractions near the Parkway, so you’ll find yourself veering on and off the Parkway for short excursions or even overnight stays. 

The speed limit on the Parkway is 50 mph. It’s fast enough to keep people moving along, but there are many pull-offs maintained by the National Park Service designed to get you out of the car and out exploring the Parkway’s historic sites, picnic spots and beautiful hiking trails.   

In addition, you’ll notice mileposts along the entire 444-mile route. They’re numbered from south to north, starting with milepost 0 in Natchez, Mississippi, and ending with milepost 444 near Nashville, Tennessee.

The parkway is a designated cycling route , and bicyclists are permitted to use the entire lane. It’s important for drivers to slow down and pass cyclists with care.

Natchez Trace Parkway Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Recreational vehicles are a popular way to see the parkway. Bear in mind that the length restriction for RVs is 55 feet, including a tow vehicle, and the height restriction is 14 feet.

Entrance Fees

Driving the Natchez Trace Parkway is free. Despite attracting more than 6 million visitors per year, the National Park Service does not charge admission to drive the Parkway nor to visit its park service-maintained interpretive sites and trails.

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Where to stay.

At the northern terminus, Nashville in Tennessee is a bustling city filled with lodging for all budgets from high-end hotels to low-budget national chain hotels. Known as Music City, Nashville offers a ton of entertainment options from live music in its bars and concert venues to lively restaurants and cocktail lounges. 

From Nashville as you travel south, lodging options depend on where you are. While some small towns offer really limited hotel options, others like Florence, Alabama, have everything from national chains to high-end boutique hotels and vacation rentals. 

Natchez Trace Parkway Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

For those who prefer to spend the night in a sleeping bag under the stars or in a tent, the National Park Service maintains three no-frills campgrounds that are first-come, first-served. These campgrounds serve campers and RVers, but there are no hookups or showers there. 

On this tour route, sits the Meriwether Lewis Campground in Hohenwald, Tennessee, at milepost 385.9. The other two National Park Service campgrounds are located south of our GuideAlong tour: Jeff Busby Campground at milepost 193.1 and Rocky Springs Campground at milepost 54. In addition, a number of private campgrounds and state park campgrounds are easily accessible from the Parkway . 

Natchez Trace Parkway Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

When To Visit

The Natchez Trace Parkway is open year-round, so it can be visited anytime of year. However, there are certain factors to consider when planning a Natchez Trace Parkway vacation, most importantly weather. Spring is a beautiful time to drive the Parkway because so many trees and flowers are in bloom. Spring temperatures are more mild than in the summer with March highs in the mid-60s and April highs in the low-to-mid 70s.

Summers can be extremely hot in Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi with average temperatures in the 90s. On top of that, high humidity levels can make you feel like you just jumped into a pool, even though you’ve just stepped out of your car. Hiking can be challenging with the heat and insects like mosquitoes, ticks, stinging ants and something called the sweat bee, which is attracted to human sweat. 

Conversely, you can avoid all insects and most tourists if you drive the Natchez Trace Parkway in winter. Temperature highs will be in the low to mid-50s in December, January and February, while lows will be in the 30s. While you may need a layer or two for a hike or excursion, you’ll also experience more solitude on trails and exploring the sites.  

The downside is you’ll be immersed in a sometimes stark winter landscape. That wintry landscape can include snow or sleet, so be aware of potential winter storms and choose an alternate route in inclement weather. The National Park Service doesn’t plow, salt or sand the Parkway during winter storms, and will close sections of it due to weather. 

Fall is a gorgeous time to drive the Parkway because the trees and shrubs along the road explode with reds, yellows and oranges. It’s also the driest time of year in the South. Plus, cooler temperatures make it comfortable to be outside, exploring the Parkway’s trails and historic sites. While September’s high temperatures can hover in the mid-80s, October ushers in temperatures in the mid-70s and November’s high are in the mid-60s.

Natchez Trace Parkway Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

How Much Time Do You Need to Visit  

Our route covers the northern 135 miles through Tennessee and Alabama. It’s doable in a day, but we recommend staying overnight along the way, to be able to walk on the Trace’s hiking trails and see sights both on and just off the Parkway.

If driving the entire 444-mile Parkway, breaking it into three days is common, but some visitors like to really enjoy their exploring and will spend a full week, stopping frequently and also taking time to enjoy the sights just off the Parkway too. Some will also do the Natchez Trace in sections – returning at different times, or different years, to complete lengths not previously drive. Remember that your tour does not expire, so you can return and keep using it.

How To Avoid the Crowds

Unlike other national park sites like Yellowstone or Glacier where traffic can rival a city at times, it’s relatively easy to feel solitude on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Rarely will you find yourself in a traffic jam. Having said that, avoid driving on the Parkway in Tupelo and Jackson, Mississippi, during rush hour. Commuters use the Parkway to get to and from work.  

To avoid crowds on popular trails like Jackson Falls or sites like the Meriwether Lewis Monument, aim to get there early in the morning before others arrive or later in the day close to evening time. On longer hikes, you’ll find most people turn around within a mile of the trailhead, making it easy to find tranquility the farther you walk.

Things to See and Do

The beautiful views and roadside stops along the Natchez Trace Parkway are the main attractions on this road-trip adventure. For the 135 breathtaking miles of this tour, highlights include cascading waterfalls, ancient and early settler sites, fantastic hikes and Civil War history.

Bear Creek Mound 

Right at the Alabama-Mississippi state line sits Bear Creek Mound, an ancient settlement inhabited sometime between 1100 and 1300. Archaeologists believe that the mound was much larger originally and that farmers tilling the land reduced its size over the decades.

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Jackson Falls

Even Nashvillians who aren’t specifically on a Natchez Trace road trip love to visit Jackson Falls. It is one of the closest waterfalls to the city and the biggest waterfall payoff for the least amount of effort. These falls were named for President Andrew Jackson.

Taking in the view from the top of the falls is satisfying, but walking at least halfway down the path is even better. Continuing to the bottom reveals a clear pool and the beauty of the water stepping down a limestone outcropping.

Natchez Trace Parkway Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

John Coffee Bridge & Colbert Ferry

John Coffee Memorial Bridge is nearly a mile long, making it the Parkway’s longest bridge. It was built in 1964 and is named after John Coffee, who fought with Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans.

The bridge crosses what was once the location of the Colbert Ferry Stand Site. George Colbert operated a ferry that took travelers across the Tennessee River from 1800 to 1819 here. George’s father was Scottish and his mother was Chickasaw, and being Chickasaw gave George the right by treaty to run the ferry. Today, you can walk along a path to see where Colbert’s inn stood and look at Native American exhibits.

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Leiper’s Fork

A 5-minute side trip off the Parkway takes us to a small but stylish community and Leiper’s Fork. While exploring the small selection of stores, restaurants and galleries, you might even spot some of country music’s biggest names. The community is the home for some true headliners!

Natchez Trace Parkway Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Meriwether Lewis Memorial

Meriwether Lewis was of course the leader of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition who were tasked with finding out what lay west of the Mississippi River – at the time a wholly unknown place to the young United States. The 8,000 mile journey changed the USA forever. The location contains the Monument to Lewis, as well as a reproduction of Grinder’s Stand, the lodging where Lewis’ life came to an end. It’s not a sad place to visit – it’s very interesting! It’s also the site of a major campground, and there some pleasant short trails available to hike.

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Muscle Shoals Sidetrip

This fascinating region is just too close to the Natchez Trace Parkway to not include a sidetrip to visit the major highlights of the Quad City area. There are five places of interest and you can choose to visit one, all, or just a few. It would be easy to fill a day to see everything if we have the time. It takes approximately 20 minutes to drive off the Trace to visit the closest site. Those interesting places are: Ivy Green (the Helen Keller childhood home), the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Muscle Shoals’ two iconic recording studios, the Florence Mound and Museum, and the Rosenbaum House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Natchez Trace Parkway Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge

The last major addition that completed the Parkway’s uninterrupted path – and perhaps the most visually stunning! Spanning 145 feet over woods and a state highway, this bridge was uniquely constructed with two concrete arches that span over the valley. This is a photo you will want to stop and take on your Natchez Trace journey.

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Old Trace Drive

One of the few places on the Parkway where we can drive (rather than walk) on the true, original Trace route. This section is a narrow, one-way journey of 2.5 miles that enjoys some excellent views, as well as following the historic path. A very worthwhile short detour!

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Rock Spring

A simple and quick location to visit, with idyllic scenery punctuated by the square stepping stones that cross Colbert Creek on the trail to the natural spring.

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Sunken Trace

The Parkway is full of spots where the original Old Trace, worn by decades of horse hooves, wagon wheels, footsteps and erosion, have created permanent sunken ruts. At the Sunken Trace, three different pathways come together, revealing how travelers had to stray from the main route to avoid getting stuck in mud.

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War of 1812 Memorial

The Trace was an effective route to move troops and cavalry, and that’s what Andrew Jackson did in 1813. The Memorial stands to honor those who marched the route and particularly those lost their lives, and were buried in unmarked graves.

Natchez Trace Parkway Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall

The late Tom Hendrix spent more than 30 years building what has become the largest unmortared wall in the country. Just off the Parkway, the mile-long wall is a monument to Hendrix’s great-great grandmother, Te-lah-nay, and her journey on the Trail of Tears. Each stone, hand-placed by Hendrix, symbolized a single step Te-lah-nay took during the Trail of Tears. Visitors can walk along the maze-like wall.

Devil’s Backbone National State Area

Technically, Devil’s Backbone State Natural Area is a park adjacent to the Trace, not actually on it. The area’s only trail is a 3.2-mile moderate-effort loop that runs along a ridgeline before dropping to a creek and then back to the ridge. Even so, there’s only about 200 feet of elevation change, making for a few short steep areas.

These falls are popular for good reason – and partly because they are one of the closest “wow-factor” waterfalls to Nashville. Follow the trail to the bottom of the falls is conditions are not muddy. To turn this into a longer hike, consider adding a round trip hike from Jackson Falls to Bakers Bluff, a 1.5 mile out and back hike to some pretty awesome views. 

Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail

The Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail is composed of five different trails totalling more than 60 miles. In Tennessee, the Leiper’s Fork District of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail runs 20 miles, starting up near milepost 427 and ending at milepost 408, where TN‑50 crosses the Parkway. This trail, which is part of the larger Highland Rim Trail, is one of several preserved sections of the Old Trace. Walk for as long as you want along the 20-mile Highland Rim Trail that’s mostly flat. The most popular, and therefore crowded, access point for the Highland Rim Trail is from Garrison Creek Trailhead.

Get out into nature on a short half-mile loop on the Rock Spring Nature Trail, which leads to a bubbling spring called Rock Spring. The terrain is easy, with picturesque square stepping stones that cross Colbert Creek. It’s possible to see beavers, ruby-throated hummingbirds, and salamanders here. In the late summer and early fall, there are tons of wildflowers, like jewelweed, which grows between two to five feet high and has a small bright orange spotted flower.

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Sweetwater Branch

Sweetwater Branch offers a half-mile loop hike, which is alive with wildflowers in the spring. It’s a quiet area along the creek banks, with lots of shade. The walk includes some stairs and hilly terrain to get to the trail itself, so it isn’t appropriate for wheelchairs, but it isn’t particularly strenuous once hikers reach the riverbank itself.

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Tishomingo State Park

Minutes from the Alabama-Mississippi border, the Natchez Trace Parkway crosses through Tishomingo State Park, and it’s known for its 13 miles of hiking trails. The Outcroppings Trail is a beautiful two-mile loop that runs along a ridge of large rock outcroppings that are popular with rock climbers. Along the way, there are views of the valley and caves where Chickasaw people lived. The trailhead starts at Swinging Bridge built in 1938.

Family Fun Adventures

Fall hollow falls.

One of two waterfalls along the Natchez Trace Parkway, Fall Hollow Falls is a small accessible waterfall, making it great for families. There’s an easy, paved path that leads to a wooden bridge and platform about halfway down the falls. Depending on the conditions, getting to the bottom of the falls can be muddy. Even so, it’s one of the prettiest places on the Tennessee section of the Trace.

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Grand Ole Opry

Not strictly on the Trace – but since you are so close….. Known for hosting some of country music’s most famous singers, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, offers country music shows multiple nights a week. These weekly performances can include music greats like Keith Urban and newer country singers just establishing themselves. The Opry also offers several types of state-of-the-art special backstage tours.

Visit Ivy Green in Tuscumbia, Alabama, the childhood home of Helen Keller who met 12 presidents, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and helped establish the American Civil Liberties Union. Keller became blind and deaf at age two, but with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, she overcame many obstacles and spent her life advocating for the visually and hearing impaired.

Laurel Hill Lake

Just three miles from the Parkway, Laurel Hill Lake is a great place for families to fish or rent kayaks and explore the lake by paddle. There’s even a 16-and-under, youth-only fishing area, and you can buy a state fishing license at the nearby Laurel Hill Tackle and Deli. Depending on the time of year, you may catch bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish.

A charming town just 45 minutes south of Nashville and just off the Parkway, Leiper’s Fork offers families a fun stop to explore one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants and galleries. While small, it’s big on personality and known for its resident celebrities like Faith Hill, Nicole Kidman and Justin Timberlake. 

When people used to travel on the Old Trace, Metal Ford was a popular place to cross the Buffalo River. Today, it makes for a great swimming hole. The riverbank is just steps away from the parking lot, as are a few picnic tables. Because of the rocky river bottom, water shoes are recommended.

The Elephant Sanctuary and Elephant Discovery Center

Close to the Parkway in Hohenwald, Tennessee, the sanctuary is a non-profit that cares for Asian and African elephants. While the sanctuary is not open to the public, travelers can visit the Elephant Discovery Center in downtown Hohenwald to learn more about the elephants, see presentations by staff and watch the elephants on webcams. Hohenwald is about six miles west of the Parkway on Highway 412.

The Loveless Cafe

Located a quarter of a mile from the northern terminus of the Parkway in Nashville, Tennessee, this iconic landmark has been serving hungry travelers since 1951. Known for its biscuits, the restaurant serves Southern style breakfast, lunch and dinner with a large dose of southern hospitality.

Awesome Experiences

Alabama music hall of fame.

Take a deep dive into Alabama’s music history at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia, Alabama. The state is home to many singers, including Nat King Cole, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams and Lionel Richie and the exhibits here tell so many stories. The hall of fame is a 15-minute drive from the Parkway.

Florence Mound and Museum

The Florence Mound in Florence, Alabama, and hundreds of others across the Southeast were part of ancient cultural centers. The Florence Mound measures 145 feet by 95 feet near its top. Archaeologists believe it was built between 100 and 500 AD. Visitors can walk up the stairs on this sacred mound and visit the museum that houses ancient jewelry, pipes, spear points, necklaces and more.

Muscle Shoals

About 25 minutes off the Parkway, Muscle Shoals is known for its two famous recording studios. Opened in 1959, FAME Studio brought black and white musicians together to create and record music. This was especially daring back in the days of segregation. Rival studio Muscle Shoals Sound Studio popped up afterwards and together they gave rise to so many classic songs sung by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Bono, Keith Richards, Alicia Keys and Jimmy Cliff. Both studios offer tours.

Tennessee Wineries

While Tennessee is known for its whiskey distilleries, there are several wineries not far from the Parkway. Amber Falls Winery & Cellars in Nashville is all about novelty fruit wines, plus some dry reds. Grinder’s Switch Winery in Centerville is housed in a log cabin and makes sweet and dry reds and whites. Keg Springs Winery in Hampshire is minutes from She Boss Place on the Parkway and has sweet wines and live music. Natchez Hills Vineyard, also in Hampshire, focuses on sustainable growing using Old World techniques.

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The Dragonfly

Located in Collinwood, Tennessee, across from the Wayne County Welcome Center, The Dragonfly sells antiques, gits, handbags, jewelry and coffee and smoothies. It’s a true emporium experience and an iconic Trace stop.

The Rosenbaum House

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed a number of buildings and homes during his career. One of his homes, The Rosenbaum House, is open to the public in Florence, Alabama. It’s a Usonian-style house and the design style is right in the name – Usonian – United States of North America. Wright designed Usonian homes to be affordable for middle-class American families but simultaneously innovative. Explore the Rosenbaum House’s open floor plan and see the furniture he designed.

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Natchez Trace Parkway Packing List

Seasonal Layers : The type of clothes you pack depends on the season, so check weather temperatures for when you will be visiting. It’s always a good idea to pack clothes that will be comfortable whether you decide to pull over and do a short hike or tour a historic site. Bringing layers allow you to regulate your temperature easily.

Footwear: Comfortable, sturdy shoes like hiking boots or sneakers are ideal for exploring the Natchez Trace Parkway. No one wants to navigate a woodsy trail in work shoes.

Daypack: You may want a comfortable daypack or small backpack for day hikes.

Sun Protection: Pack sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

Bug Spray: It can get very buggy in the South when the weather is warm, so pack bug spray and have it easily accessible for hikes, picnicking and any time you venture out of the car.

Picnic Kit : Having lunch at one of the Parkway’s pull-offs is a must-do, so pack a cooler, tablecloth, utensils, plastic plates and a sponge for cleaning up afterward.

Sports Gear : If you’re planning on outdoor adventures, pack the gear you may need like spare bike tubes, fishing tackle, or your kayak.

Water Bottles: Bring along a water bottle for the drive as well as for any hikes you do. If you pack a refillable water bottle, you’ll save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Trekking Poles: Light-weight hiking poles are nice to have if you plan on doing short or long hikes. They help provide a sense of balance over uneven terrain.

Maps : While GuideAlong helps you navigate, it’s always nice to have a road map for Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. Plus, make sure to grab a Natchez Trace Parkway Map and information pamphlets when you stop at visitor centers.

Phone Charger: If you’re taking pictures with your phone, running out of batteries may result in missed opportunities. A DC car charger is best, so that you can charge your phone while driving.

Plastic Bag: We always carry plastic bags with us, so we have a place to put our car trash, as well as to collect any trailside trash. If we all pick up a few pieces of trash along the Parkway’s pull-offs and trails, we’ll leave it better than we found it.

Natchez Trace Parkway Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Top Tips for the Natchez Trace Parkway

  • Accommodation Reservations: Book your lodging before you hit the road. Festivals or fall leaf peeping can lead to a scarcity of hotel rooms along certain stretches of the Parkway.
  • Check Conditions: The National Park Service doesn’t maintain the Parkway in inclement weather, and will shut down sections when ice and snow make conditions hazardous. Check for road conditions and closures on nps.gov and the Parkway's Facebook page.
  • RV Restrictions: The length restriction for RVs is 55 feet, including a tow vehicle, and the height restriction is 14 feet.
  • Services: By design there are no food, gas or lodging services "on" the Parkway, but you'll find services in the many communities along the drive.
  • Pay Attention to Your Speedometer: It’s tempting to speed, but the speed limit is 50 mph and sometimes lower. The Parkway is all about taking in the scenery and discovering new trails, towns and historic markers, so keep your foot off the gas and enjoy the ride.
  • Watch for Cyclists: The Parkway is a designated cycling route, and bicyclists are permitted to use the entire lane. It's important for drivers to slow down and pass cyclists with care, changing lanes completely to pass.
  • Cell Phone Coverage: Cell phone coverage can be spotty, so download any maps in advance and perhaps pick up a road map from one of the visitor centers.
  • Bring Insect Repellant: It can get very buggy in the South when the weather is warm, so pack bug spray and have it easily accessible for hikes, picnicking and any time you venture out of the car.

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About the Trace

Home » About the Trace

The Natchez Trace Parkway leads you 444 miles through three states and 10,000 years of North American history. This scenic parkway links Natchez with Nashville and crosses some of the most beautiful terrain in the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. The Parkway has been declared a National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road, and has been chosen as one of America's 10 best biking roads. Open year-round for motorists, hikers and bikers, it provides visitors the opportunity for an unhurried trip through time.

Established as a unit of the National Park System in 1938 and officially completed in 2005, the Parkway is currently headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi and continues to be maintained and administered by NPS. The Natchez Trace  commemorates the most significant highway of the Old Southwest.

The natural travel corridor that became the Natchez Trace dates back many centuries. It bisected the traditional homelands of the Natchez, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations. As the United States expanded westward in the late 1700s and early 1800s, growing numbers of travelers tramped the rough trail into a clearly marked path. The ”sunken” sections you can walk along today are clear signs of historic use. In 1801 President Thomas Jefferson designated the Trace a national postal road for the delivery of mail between Nashville and Natchez.

Gen. Andrew Jackson, Jefferson Davis, James Audubon, Meriwether Lewis (who died on the Trace in 1809), and Ulysses S. Grant are among the famous Americans to have traveled the Natchez Trace.

Most travelers were anonymous working folks. In the early 1800s through the mid-1820s, “Kaintucks” from the Ohio River Valley floated cash crops, livestock, and other materials down the Mississippi River on wooden flatboats. At Natchez or New Orleans, they sold their goods, sold their boats for lumber, and walked or rode horseback toward home via the Old Trace. As the road was improved, stands (inns) provided lodging, food, and drink to Trace travelers.

Mount Locust Mississippi

The Natchez Trace also crosses four ecosystems and eight major watersheds, and provides habitat for nearly 1,500 species of plants, 33 mammal species, 134 bird species, and 70 species of reptiles and amphibians. Also designated as a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road, the parkway encourages modern travelers to experience historic and scenic landscapes at a leisurely pace.

Regulations and Safety

  • Obey posted speed limits ( Almost all of the Parkway has a posted speed limit of 50 MPH., but there are small sections that are posted lower.)
  • Be alert for animals on the parkway.
  • Avoid fatigue by stopping often and taking walks.
  • Hunting is prohibited.
  • All Terrain Vehicles are prohibited.
  • Special hauling restrictions apply. All commercial vehicles are prohibited.
  • Tent and trailer camping are permitted only at designated campgrounds .
  • All natural, historical and archeological objects are protected by federal law.
  • Build fires only in fire rings and grills.
  • The Natchez Trace Parkway is a designated bike route. Be considerate of bicyclists; yield when necessary.
  • Report all accidents, fires and emergencies to the nearest park ranger or 9-1-1.

To reach the Natchez Trace Parkway headquarters call 1-800-305-7417.

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The 30 things everyone should do at least once in Mississippi in 2024

Posted: June 27, 2024 | Last updated: June 27, 2024

<p>When planning your next holiday, you might feel an instinctual pull toward destinations that would take you across oceans, like Tokyo or Paris, but there are experiences closer to home that will have you thinking twice before booking a trip abroad ever again. </p><p>If you're craving a burst of adrenaline, why not reserve a spot in Michigan's famed Saugatuck Dune Rides? The activity's <a href="https://saugatuckduneride.com/">charmingly dated website</a> is a great indication of its word-of-mouth notoriety and timeless appeal. Over in Arizona, you might be surprised to find that it's not just the Grand Canyon that tempts travelers to its desert landscape—it's also one-of-a-kind venues like the <a href="https://mim.org/our-story/">Musical Instrument Museum</a>, where music enthusiasts can find over 7,500 instruments from 200 countries around the world.</p><p>Indeed, even if you've lived in Mississippi your whole life, you might be surprised by just how many top-rated things you've yet to cross off your list. From architectural wonders and picturesque views to historical museums and other must-see sights, you'll find your appreciation for Mississippi reignited just by reading through this list of top-rated things to do. </p><p><a href="https://www.stacker.com/mississippi">Stacker</a> compiled a list of the highest-rated things to do in Mississippi using data from <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/">Tripadvisor</a>. Tripadvisor ranks places using a combination of metrics, including overall rating, reviews, and number of page views. As a result, an activity with a 5 out of 5 overall rating might rank lower than one with a 4 out of 5. Data is as of June 3, 2024.</p><p>Whether you're a family of five traveling in a recreational vehicle or a duo of friends looking for a quick getaway in Mississippi, read on for a list of sights you could easily plan a trip around.</p><p><strong>You may also like:</strong> <a href="https://stacker.com/mississippi/best-counties-raise-family-mississippi">Best counties to raise a family in Mississippi</a></p>

Highest-rated things to do in Mississippi, according to Tripadvisor

When planning your next holiday, you might feel an instinctual pull toward destinations that would take you across oceans, like Tokyo or Paris, but there are experiences closer to home that will have you thinking twice before booking a trip abroad ever again.

If you're craving a burst of adrenaline, why not reserve a spot in Michigan's famed Saugatuck Dune Rides? The activity's charmingly dated website is a great indication of its word-of-mouth notoriety and timeless appeal. Over in Arizona, you might be surprised to find that it's not just the Grand Canyon that tempts travelers to its desert landscape—it's also one-of-a-kind venues like the Musical Instrument Museum , where music enthusiasts can find over 7,500 instruments from 200 countries around the world.

Indeed, even if you've lived in Mississippi your whole life, you might be surprised by just how many top-rated things you've yet to cross off your list. From architectural wonders and picturesque views to historical museums and other must-see sights, you'll find your appreciation for Mississippi reignited just by reading through this list of top-rated things to do.

Stacker compiled a list of the highest-rated things to do in Mississippi using data from Tripadvisor . Tripadvisor ranks places using a combination of metrics, including overall rating, reviews, and number of page views. As a result, an activity with a 5 out of 5 overall rating might rank lower than one with a 4 out of 5. Data is as of June 3, 2024.

Whether you're a family of five traveling in a recreational vehicle or a duo of friends looking for a quick getaway in Mississippi, read on for a list of sights you could easily plan a trip around.

You may also like: Best counties to raise a family in Mississippi

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (343 reviews)<br>- Address: 3500 Park Road Ocean Springs, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43929-d283544-Reviews-Gulf_Islands_National_Seashore-Ocean_Springs_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#30. Gulf Islands National Seashore

- Rating: 4.5/5 (343 reviews) - Address: 3500 Park Road Ocean Springs, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (357 reviews)<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43934-d258744-Reviews-University_of_Mississippi-Oxford_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#29. University of Mississippi

- Rating: 4.5/5 (357 reviews) - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (849 reviews)<br>- Address: 640 South Canal St. Natchez, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60910-d6698297-Reviews-Natchez_Visitor_Center-Natchez_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#28. Natchez Visitor Center

- Rating: 4.5/5 (849 reviews) - Address: 640 South Canal St. Natchez, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (609 reviews)<br>- Address: 1008 Cherry St. Vicksburg, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60985-d3403591-Reviews-Old_Court_House_Museum-Vicksburg_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#27. Old Court House Museum

- Rating: 4.5/5 (609 reviews) - Address: 1008 Cherry St. Vicksburg, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (203 reviews)<br>- Address: 1445 Harrison St. Vicksburg, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60985-d8733650-Reviews-McRaven_House-Vicksburg_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p><p><strong>You may also like:</strong> <a href="https://stacker.com/mississippi/top-careers-hiring-ai-skills-mississippi-according-job-postings">The top careers hiring for AI skills in Mississippi, according to job postings</a></p>

#26. McRaven House

- Rating: 4.5/5 (203 reviews) - Address: 1445 Harrison St. Vicksburg, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

You may also like: The top careers hiring for AI skills in Mississippi, according to job postings

<p>- Rating: 4/5 (519 reviews)<br>- Address: 1050 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43686-d283424-Reviews-Biloxi_Lighthouse-Biloxi_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#25. Biloxi Lighthouse

- Rating: 4/5 (519 reviews) - Address: 1050 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (273 reviews)<br>- Address: 400 High St. Jackson, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43833-d105887-Reviews-Mississippi_State_Capitol-Jackson_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#24. Mississippi State Capitol

- Rating: 4.5/5 (273 reviews) - Address: 400 High St. Jackson, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (273 reviews)<br>- Address: 510 Washington Ave. Ocean Springs, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43929-d109469-Reviews-Walter_Anderson_Museum_of_Art-Ocean_Springs_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#23. Walter Anderson Museum of Art

- Rating: 4.5/5 (273 reviews) - Address: 510 Washington Ave. Ocean Springs, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (343 reviews)<br>- Address: 501 West Linden St. Corinth, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43735-d207914-Reviews-Corinth_Civil_War_Interpretive_Center-Corinth_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#22. Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center

- Rating: 4.5/5 (343 reviews) - Address: 501 West Linden St. Corinth, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (540 reviews)<br>- Address: Melrose-Montebello Parkway Natchez, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60910-d107299-Reviews-Melrose-Natchez_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p><p><strong>You may also like:</strong> <a href="https://stacker.com/mississippi/demand-these-health-care-jobs-increasing-most-mississippi">Demand for these health care jobs is increasing most in Mississippi</a></p>

#21. Melrose

- Rating: 4.5/5 (540 reviews) - Address: Melrose-Montebello Parkway Natchez, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

You may also like: Demand for these health care jobs is increasing most in Mississippi

<p>- Rating: 4/5 (1,158 reviews)<br>- Address: 1027-1031 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43686-d6561286-Reviews-Biloxi_Beach-Biloxi_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#20. Biloxi Beach

- Rating: 4/5 (1,158 reviews) - Address: 1027-1031 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (543 reviews)<br>- Address: Cemetery Road Natchez, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60910-d216231-Reviews-Historic_Natchez_Cemetery-Natchez_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#19. Historic Natchez Cemetery

- Rating: 4.5/5 (543 reviews) - Address: Cemetery Road Natchez, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5/5 (240 reviews)<br>- Address: 222 North St. Jackson, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43833-d13382408-Reviews-Mississippi_Civil_Rights_Museum-Jackson_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#18. Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

- Rating: 5/5 (240 reviews) - Address: 222 North St. Jackson, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5/5 (330 reviews)<br>- Address: 400 Second St. Indianola, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43828-d1182468-Reviews-B_B_King_Museum_and_Delta_Interpretive_Center-Indianola_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#17. B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center

- Rating: 5/5 (330 reviews) - Address: 400 Second St. Indianola, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (293 reviews)<br>- Address: 246 Dolan Ave. Gulfport, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43802-d269860-Reviews-Lynn_Meadows_Discovery_Center-Gulfport_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p><p><strong>You may also like:</strong> <a href="https://stacker.com/mississippi/which-movies-were-filmed-mississippi">Which movies were filmed in Mississippi?</a></p>

#16. Lynn Meadows Discovery Center

- Rating: 4.5/5 (293 reviews) - Address: 246 Dolan Ave. Gulfport, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

You may also like: Which movies were filmed in Mississippi?

<p>- Rating: 5/5 (486 reviews)<br>- Address: 105 South Union St. Natchez, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60910-d2312558-Reviews-St_Mary_Basilica-Natchez_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#15. St. Mary Basilica

- Rating: 5/5 (486 reviews) - Address: 105 South Union St. Natchez, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (608 reviews)<br>- Address: 1 Blues Alley Lane Clarksdale, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43722-d258743-Reviews-The_Delta_Blues_Museum-Clarksdale_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#14. The Delta Blues Museum

- Rating: 4.5/5 (608 reviews) - Address: 1 Blues Alley Lane Clarksdale, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (788 reviews)<br>- Address: 100 Orleans St. Corner of Canal and Orleans St. Natchez, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60910-d506133-Reviews-Rosalie_Mansion-Natchez_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#13. Rosalie Mansion

- Rating: 4.5/5 (788 reviews) - Address: 100 Orleans St. Corner of Canal and Orleans St. Natchez, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4/5 (1,872 reviews)<br>- Address: 777 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43686-d758363-Reviews-Hard_Rock_Casino_Biloxi-Biloxi_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#12. Hard Rock Casino Biloxi

- Rating: 4/5 (1,872 reviews) - Address: 777 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (902 reviews)<br>- Address: 401 High St. Natchez, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60910-d634844-Reviews-Stanton_Hall-Natchez_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p><p><strong>You may also like:</strong> <a href="https://stacker.com/mississippi/counties-mississippi-more-precipitation-over-past-year-average">Counties in Mississippi with more precipitation over the past year than average</a></p>

#11. Stanton Hall

- Rating: 4.5/5 (902 reviews) - Address: 401 High St. Natchez, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

You may also like: Counties in Mississippi with more precipitation over the past year than average

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (847 reviews)<br>- Address: 10801 Dolphin Lane Gulfport, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43802-d3550078-Reviews-The_Institute_for_Marine_Mammal_Studies-Gulfport_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#10. The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

- Rating: 4.5/5 (847 reviews) - Address: 10801 Dolphin Lane Gulfport, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (1,380 reviews)<br>- Address: 1050 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43686-d283548-Reviews-Biloxi_Visitors_Center-Biloxi_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#9. Biloxi Visitors Center

- Rating: 4.5/5 (1,380 reviews) - Address: 1050 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (1,253 reviews)<br>- Address: 2244 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43686-d105573-Reviews-Beauvoir-Biloxi_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#8. Beauvoir

- Rating: 4.5/5 (1,253 reviews) - Address: 2244 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (2,489 reviews)<br>- Address: 875 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g43686-d105572-Reviews-Beau_Rivage_Casino-Biloxi_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#7. Beau Rivage Casino

- Rating: 4.5/5 (2,489 reviews) - Address: 875 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 5/5 (1,537 reviews)<br>- Address: Vicksburg National Military Park 3201 Clay St. Vicksburg, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60985-d146271-Reviews-U_S_S_Cairo_Museum-Vicksburg_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p><p><strong>You may also like:</strong> <a href="https://stacker.com/mississippi/best-colleges-mississippi">Best colleges in Mississippi</a></p>

#6. U.S.S. Cairo Museum

- Rating: 5/5 (1,537 reviews) - Address: Vicksburg National Military Park 3201 Clay St. Vicksburg, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

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<p>- Rating: 4/5 (12,138 reviews)<br>- Address: 1021 Casino Center Drive Tunica, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g44062-d107479-Reviews-Horseshoe_Casino-Tunica_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#5. Horseshoe Casino

- Rating: 4/5 (12,138 reviews) - Address: 1021 Casino Center Drive Tunica, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (1,679 reviews)<br>- Address: 306 Elvis Presley Drive Tupelo, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60746-d286284-Reviews-Elvis_Presley_Birthplace_Museum-Tupelo_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#4. Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum

- Rating: 4.5/5 (1,679 reviews) - Address: 306 Elvis Presley Drive Tupelo, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (1,781 reviews)<br>- Address: Natchez Trace Parkway Tupelo, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60746-d550082-Reviews-Natchez_Trace_Parkway-Tupelo_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#3. Natchez Trace Parkway

- Rating: 4.5/5 (1,781 reviews) - Address: Natchez Trace Parkway Tupelo, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (1,640 reviews)<br>- Address: 140 Lower Woodville Road Natchez, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60910-d265976-Reviews-Longwood-Natchez_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p>

#2. Longwood

- Rating: 4.5/5 (1,640 reviews) - Address: 140 Lower Woodville Road Natchez, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

<p>- Rating: 4.5/5 (3,180 reviews)<br>- Address: 3201 Clay St. Vicksburg, Mississippi<br>- <a href="https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60985-d104724-Reviews-Vicksburg_National_Military_Park-Vicksburg_Mississippi.html">Read more on Tripadvisor</a></p><p><i>This story features data reporting by Karim Noorani, writing by Michelle No, and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 50 states.</i></p><p><strong>You may also like:</strong> <a href="https://stacker.com/mississippi/counties-receiving-most-sba-loans-mississippi">Counties receiving the most SBA loans in Mississippi</a></p>

#1. Vicksburg National Military Park

- Rating: 4.5/5 (3,180 reviews) - Address: 3201 Clay St. Vicksburg, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor

This story features data reporting by Karim Noorani, writing by Michelle No, and is part of a series utilizing data automation across 50 states.

You may also like: Counties receiving the most SBA loans in Mississippi

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Natchez Trace Bicycle Itinerary - Out and Back, 4 Days Nashville, TN - to the Tupelo, MS area - back to Nashville, TN

This 4-day, out and back natchez trace parkway bicycle itinerary starts and finishes at the northern terminus (milepost 442) with a turn-around at the tupelo, ms area (milepost 276 or 266)..

  • Bike Out - south on the Parkway for 2 days to the north Tupelo, MS area.
  • Bike Back - north on the Parkway for 2 days to the Northern Terminus.
  • In between, there is an overnight stop in Collinwood, TN (milepost 355).

Ride Stats for entire 4-day itinerary.

  • Does not include miles to/from Parkway for lodging.

milepost 442 to milepost 276 back to milepost 442:

  • Total Miles on Parkway: 335.3 Average miles per day: 83.8
  • Total Elevation Gain: 16,479 feet (avg. 49.1 feet/mile)
  • Total Elevation Loss: 16,479 feet (avg. 49.1 feet/mile)

milepost 442 to milepost 266 back to milepost 442:

  • Total Miles on Parkway: 355.4 Average miles per day: 88.9
  • Total Elevation Gain: 17,027 feet (avg. 47.9 feet/mile)
  • Total Elevation Loss: 17,027 feet (avg. 47.9 feet/mile)

Cyclists biking south

Biking Out - North to South:

  • Day 1 - Nashville, TN (Northern Terminus) to Collinwood, TN
  • Day 2 - Collinwood, TN to the north Tupelo, MS area

Cyclists biking north

Biking Back - South to North:

  • Day 3 - the north Tupelo, MS area to Collinwood, TN
  • Day 4 - Collinwood, TN to Nashville, TN (Northern Terminus)

Biking Out - North to South

Ride Stats for Day 1

  • Miles on Parkway: 87.9
  • Elevation Gain: 5,397 feet (avg. 61.4 feet/mile) Maximum Grade: 8.9%
  • Elevation Loss: 5,026 feet (avg. 57.2 feet/mile) Minimum Grade: -8.1%

Click Here to View Day 1:

  • Route Overview Map for Day 1 (Route along the Parkway and Routes to/from Lodging at start and end of the Day)
  • Restrooms, Top 30 Favorite Sites, and Exits with Services Nearby Along the Way from Milepost 442 to Milepost 355
  • Lodging, Featured Points of Interest and Food at the end of the Day near the Parkway at Milepost 355

Ride Stats for Day 2

milepost 355 to milepost 276:

  • Miles on Parkway: 79.9
  • Elevation Gain: 2,774 feet (avg. 34.7 feet/mile) Maximum Grade: 5.9%
  • Elevation Loss: 3,415 feet (avg. 42.7 feet/mile) Minimum Grade: -6.4%

milepost 355 to milepost 266:

  • Miles on Parkway: 89.9
  • Elevation Gain: 3,019 feet (avg. 33.6 feet/mile) Maximum Grade: 5.9%
  • Elevation Loss: 3,756 feet (avg. 41.8 feet/mile) Minimum Grade: -6.5%

Click Here to View Day 2:

  • Route Overview Map for Day 2 (Route along the Parkway and Routes to/from Lodging at start and end of the Day)
  • Restrooms, Top 30 Favorite Sites, and Exits with Services Nearby Along the Way from Milepost 355 to Milepost 266
  • Lodging, Featured Points of Interest and Food at the end of the Day near the Parkway at Milepost 266

Cycle of Life Adventures - Natchez Trace bicycle tours

Biking Back - South to North

Ride Stats for Day 3

milepost 266 to milepost 355:

  • Elevation Gain: 3,744 feet (avg. 41.6 feet/mile) Maximum Grade: 6.5%
  • Elevation Loss: 3,006 feet (avg. 33.4 feet/mile) Minimum Grade: -5.8%

milepost 276 to milepost 355:

  • Miles on Parkway: 80
  • Elevation Gain: 3,402 feet (avg. 42.5 feet/mile) Maximum Grade: 6.4%
  • Elevation Loss: 2,763 feet (avg. 34.5 feet/mile) Minimum Grade: -5.7%

Click Here to View Day 3:

  • Route Overview Map for Day 3 (Route along the Parkway and Routes to/from Lodging at start and end of the Day)
  • Restrooms, Top 30 Favorite Sites, and Exits with Services Nearby Along the Way from Milepost 266 to Milepost 355

Ride Stats for Day 4

  • Miles on Parkway: 87.8
  • Elevation Gain: 5,011 feet (avg. 57.1 feet/mile) Maximum Grade: 8.4%
  • Elevation Loss: 5,401 feet (avg. 61.5 feet/mile) Minimum Grade: -9.8%

Click Here to View Day 4:

  • Route Overview Map for Day 4 (Route along the Parkway and Routes to/from Lodging at start and end of the Day)
  • Restrooms, Top 30 Favorite Sites, and Exits with Services Nearby Along the Way from Milepost 355 to Milepost 442
  • Lodging, Featured Points of Interest and Food at the end of the Day near the Parkway at Milepost 442

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  • Stella Municipal Drama Theater
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  • Fifth House Gallery
  • Likino Dulevo Museum of Local Lore
  • Malakhovka Museum of History and Culture
  • Art Gallery of The City District

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  • Electrostal History and Art Museum

You can spend time exploring the galleries in Electrostal History and Art Museum in Elektrostal. Take in the museums while you're in the area.

  • Cities near Elektrostal

Photo by Ksander

  • Places of interest
  • Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center
  • Central Museum of the Air Forces at Monino
  • Peter the Great Military Academy
  • Bykovo Manor
  • Balashikha Arena
  • Ramenskii History and Art Museum
  • Malenky Puppet Theater
  • Balashikha Museum of History and Local Lore
  • Pekhorka Park
  • Saturn Stadium
  • Orekhovo Zuevsky City Exhibition Hall
  • Noginsk Museum and Exhibition Center

IMAGES

  1. Planning your Natchez Trace Road Trip

    natchez trace travel planner

  2. Southern Mississippi Downloadable / Printable Natchez Trace Maps

    natchez trace travel planner

  3. Natchez Trace Road Trip Itinerary and Tips for the Boomer Traveler

    natchez trace travel planner

  4. Route Map Design, The Natchez Trace Parkway

    natchez trace travel planner

  5. Natchez Trace Parkway

    natchez trace travel planner

  6. Natchez Trace Out and Back Bike Trips

    natchez trace travel planner

VIDEO

  1. Natchez Trace Spring 2024 Bike Tour Preparation

  2. June Trip #2

  3. NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY #scenicnature #travel #naturelovers

  4. Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center Tupelo Mississippi 2023

  5. Natchez trace Hohenwald, Tennessee phosphate, mine hike

  6. Natchez trace Collingwood Tennessee area

COMMENTS

  1. Natchez Trace Parkway

    Plan Your Trip Along The Natchez Trace Parkway Build Your Personal Travel Guide. View our Interactive Map to start exploring attractions, lodging, and restaurants. Check the boxes by the category types you want to filter. Optional: filter by community and keyword search; Filter;

  2. Plan Your Visit

    A short afternoon drive or a walk on a nature trail will provide a taste of what is available to explore along the 444 miles of the Parkway. A three day journey from end to end will allow time to sample a variety of the nature and history along the way. Five days will provide time to explore your favorite areas in depth.

  3. The Ultimate Natchez Trace Trip Planner

    The federal government began construction of the Natchez Trace Parkway in 1939. It was designed as a limited access two-lane scenic road between the river city of Natchez, Mississippi up to just southwest of Nashville, Tennessee. The current parkway encompasses more than 45,000 acres and is managed by the National Park Service.

  4. Natchez Trace Parkway

    Natchez Trace Parkway A 444-mile-long National Park featuring Beautiful Scenery and Historical Sites from Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN. Adventure Awaits Drive, Pedal, Ride, Sightsee, Hike, Relax - Daytrip, Weekend or a Week. Explore and Plan NatchezTraceTravel.com - Your Adventure Starts Here! Parkway Road Construction.

  5. The Scenic Natchez Trace Parkway: our Ultimate Road Trip Guide

    The 470-mile road trip from Nashville to Natchez along the Natchez Trace Parkway takes 9 hours to drive, passing Leipers Fork, Fall Hollow Falls, the Meriwether Lewis Monument, Florence, Dogwood Valley, Tupelo, Bynum Mounds, Jackson and Sunken Trace. One of the best things about the Natchez Trace Parkway is that for almost its entire length, it ...

  6. Natchez Trace Parkway (U.S. National Park Service)

    The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states. It roughly follows the "Old Natchez Trace," a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, "Kaintucks," European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. Today, people can enjoy a scenic drive as well as hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping along the Parkway.

  7. Interactive Map

    PLAN YOUR TRIP. FILTER YOUR SEARCH: To start building your trip along the Natchez Trace: 1. Choose a Community. 2. Choose and Attraction, Lodging, or Dining category. 3. Select a point of interest that you would like added to your trip, and click "Add to Trip".

  8. Natchez Trace Parkway Highlights: 4-Day Road Trip Itinerary

    The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444 mile national scenic byway through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi that follows the path of the "Old Trace," a historic walking and wagon trail developed in the 1800s. The Old Trace was roughly based on original Chickasaw and Choctaw footpaths, but was repurposed by colonists as a postal, military, and ...

  9. Things to Know Before You Visit

    Go to your app store and download the app and search by Name. Type in Natchez Trace Parkway. Hint: do not use parks "Near Me", as the app only pinpoints one location in each park. We have 444-miles of locations! We suggest: Download the app page for the Parkway right before you start your visit.

  10. NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY

    NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY. 👤 by Steve Markos 📅 14 December 2021, 00:16. Complete information on traveling on the Natchez Trace Parkway is now available on National Park Planner! The Natchez Trace Parkway begins in Natchez, Mississippi, passes through the northwest corner of Alabama, and ends just south of Nashville, Tennessee, a 444-mile ...

  11. Insider Tips

    The Natchez Trace has so many different things to see, it's a great idea to plan your trip ahead of time. The best planning tool is the free National Park Service APP. Look up Natchez Trace Parkway (not our hiking trail, the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail) Below are 10 tips that will help you prepare for and enjoy your journey and avoid ...

  12. Driving through History on a Natchez Trace Road Trip

    The 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway runs from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi. The recreational road and scenic drive links the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi rivers, while passing through three states. The Trace travels from Nashville to Natchez along a lovely, wooded corridor.

  13. Interactive / Dynamic Natchez Trace Maps

    Interactive maps (using Google's mapping system) of the Natchez Trace Parkway highlighting over 200 "map points" including all of the historic and scenic sites on the Natchez Trace, exit/access roads, many nearby attractions, towns/cities, bed and breakfasts, nearby gas stations/markets, bicycle shops and nearby merchants. Tennessee. Alabama.

  14. Natchez Trace Parkway Road Trip

    Jackson, MS to Natchez, MS. 103.1 miles: 2 hours, 9 minutes. With the bustle of Jackson behind you, travel back in time to parkway must-sees like the Rocky Springs ghost town; the much-photographed Sunken Trace section of the original Native American trail; and Mount Locust, now a historic inn. Your adventure wraps on the banks of "the Mighty ...

  15. Natchez Trace Bicycle Itinerary

    Day 3 - Tishomingo, MS (milepost 307) or Belmont, MS (milepost 303) to Houston, MS (milepost 230) August 16, 2023: A 17.7-mile-long section of the Natchez Trace Parkway south of Tupelo, MS closed for road rehabilitation and paving between milepost 256.9 (intersection with MS 6/US 278) and milepost 239.2 (intersection with MS Hwy 32).

  16. Natchez Trace Parkway Trip Planner

    Natchez Trace Parkway Trip Planner. A drive along the Natchez Trace Parkway is a journey through time, history, and the natural beauty of the American South. Natchez Trace is unique in that it is a national park, that is a ribbon of parkway enveloped by the tranquility of the countryside and sometimes urban areas. The route essentially follows ...

  17. Natchez Trace Parkway

    The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states. It roughly follows the "Old Natchez Trace" a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, "Kaintucks," European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. Today, people can enjoy not only a scenic drive but also hiking, biking ...

  18. About the Natchez Trace Parkway

    The Natchez Trace Parkway is a designated bike route. Be considerate of bicyclists; yield when necessary. Report all accidents, fires and emergencies to the nearest park ranger or 9-1-1. To reach the Natchez Trace Parkway headquarters call 1-800-305-7417. The Natchez Trace Parkway leads you 444 miles through three states and 10,000 years of ...

  19. The 30 things everyone should do at least once in Mississippi in 2024

    - Rating: 4.5/5 (540 reviews) - Address: Melrose-Montebello Parkway Natchez, Mississippi - Read more on Tripadvisor You may also like: Demand for these health care jobs is increasing most in ...

  20. Natchez Trace Bicycle Itinerary

    This 4-day, Out and Back Natchez Trace Parkway bicycle itinerary starts and finishes at the Northern Terminus (milepost 442) with a turn-around at the Tupelo, MS area (milepost 276 or 266). Bike Out - south on the Parkway for 2 days to the north Tupelo, MS area.

  21. Elektrostal Map

    Elektrostal is a city in Moscow Oblast, Russia, located 58 kilometers east of Moscow. Elektrostal has about 158,000 residents. Mapcarta, the open map.

  22. Visit Elektrostal: 2024 Travel Guide for Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast

    Travel guide resource for your visit to Elektrostal. Discover the best of Elektrostal so you can plan your trip right. Vacation Packages. Stays. Cars. Flights. Support. All travel. Vacation Packages Stays Cars Flights Cruises Support Things to do. My Account. Members can access discounts and special features.

  23. Visit Elektrostal: 2024 Travel Guide for Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast

    Cities near Elektrostal. Places of interest. Pavlovskiy Posad Noginsk. Travel guide resource for your visit to Elektrostal. Discover the best of Elektrostal so you can plan your trip right.

  24. Plan Your Trip to Elektrostal: Best of Elektrostal Tourism

    A mix of the charming, modern, and tried and true. See all. Apelsin Hotel. 43. from $48/night. Apart Hotel Yantar. 2. from $28/night. Elektrostal Hotel.