Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail
The Old Natchez Trace was a 500-mile footpath that ran through Choctaw and Chickasaw lands connecting Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. You can experience portions of that journey the way earlier travelers did - on foot. Today there are four separate trails totaling 65 miles and they are administered by the Natchez Trace Parkway.
At the northern end of the Parkway there is 24 miles of trail within the Leipers Fork district, near Franklin, Tennessee, extending from the Garrison Creek parking area (milepost 427.6), south to Tennessee Highway 50 (milepost 408). The Tupelo district in Tupelo, Mississippi, has 7 miles of trail open for use extending from the Beech Springs parking area (milepost 266) to Chickasaw Village (milepost 261.8). The Ridgeland district, near Ridgeland, Mississippi, has 22 miles of trail open for use extending from the Yockanookany pull-off and Picnic Area (milepost 131), south to the West Florida Boundary (milepost 108). Near Port Gibson, Mississippi, the Rocky Springs section of trail in the Port Gibson district, has 10 miles open for use extending from the Regantown road trailhead (milepost 59), south to Russell Road (milepost 50.8). The trail has been built and maintained primarily by members of the Natchez Trace Trail Conference, Vicksburg Trail dusters, Student Conservation Association, Boy Scouts of America and other interested volunteers. Future additions of trail are planned.
Seasonality / Weather
In the summer, expect hot, humid weather throughout the length of the trail with temperatures typically in the 90s. In the winter, because the trail extends far to the north and south, conditions vary greatly. Expect very mild winters near Natchez with only occasional freezing. In Tennessee, there can be snow and ice. Spring and fall are very pleasant.
Rocky Springs Trail (10 miles): Southern Trailhead is Owen Creek Waterfall (Milepost 52.4). Access at Rocky Springs Campground (Milepost 54.8). Northern Trailhead - Exit the Parkway at Milepost 59.2. At the stop sign, turn right, cross over the Parkway and take the first right to find the parking area for the trail.
Ridgeland Trail (24 miles): Southern Trailhead is West Florida Boundary (Milepost 107.9). Access - Exit the Parkway at Hwy. 43 and turn west in the direction of Canton, Miss. and take the first left into the parking area. Access - From Cypress Swamp (Milepost 122.0) the trail can be accessed by carefully crossing the Parkway. Access at Upper Choctaw Boundary (Milepost 128.5). Northern Trailhead is Yockanookany (Milepost 130.9).
Tupelo Trail (6 miles): Southern Trailhead - Exit the Parkway onto Hwy. 6 (Milepost 259.9) and turn east, toward Tupelo. At the stoplight for Thomas St., turn left. At the stoplight for Jackson St., turn right and the trailhead parking area will be 1/10 of a mile on the left. Access at Chickasaw Village Site (Milepost 261.8). Access at Old Town Creek Overlook (Milepost 264.0). Northern Trailhead - Across from the Parkway Visitor Center (Milepost 266) take Beech Springs Rd. connector for 3/10 of a mile and find the trailhead parking area on the left.
Leipers Fork Trail (24 miles): Southern Trailhead - Exit the Parkway at Milepost 407.9 and turn right (west) onto Hwy. 50. Cross the Parkway and take the first right onto Totty Ln. Look for the trailhead parking area on the right. Access - Exit the Parkway at Hwy. 7 (Milepost 415.6) and take a right at the stop sign. Go under the Parkway and take the first left. Find the parking area about 1/4 mile down this road. Northern Trailhead at Garrison Creek (Milepost 427.4).