Natchez Trace Parkway

May 2003


The Natchez Trace Parkway (Trace is an Indian word for path) is a story of Natchez, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Indians with an age old need to get from one place to another. At first the trace was probably a series of hunters' paths that slowly came to form a trail from the Mississippi over the low hills into the valley of the Tennessee. A 450 mile trail mapped by the French in 1733, by 1810 many years of improvements had made the trace an important wilderness road, the most heavily traveled in the Old Southwest. As the road was being improved other comforts, relatively speaking. were coming to the trace. Many inns (locally called stands) were built. by 1820 more than 20 stands were in operation, though most provided no more than basic food and shelter. in 1995, in recognition of its historic significance and scenic qualities, the National Scenic Byways Program designated the parkway an All-American Road, with a speed limit of 50 mph and no commercial traffic allowed on the trace. When we traveled the trace in May 2003 it was 95 percent complete, giving present-day travelers an unhurried route from Natchez, Mississippi through part of Alabama and into Nashville, Tennessee. 444 Milepost markers on the east side of the trace are erected and exhibits tell the history of the trace. It took us two weeks and over 1,000 pictures to explore the 450 miles. I have divided the trip up into seven pages with a map on each page and pictures of that section of the trace. But the only real way to experience the trace is to travel it.


01)   Natchez Mississippi

05)   Natchez Trace to Tupelo

02)   Natchez Trace to Rocky Springs

06)   Natchez Trace to Tishomingo

03)   Natchez Trace to Ratliff Ferry

07)   Natchez Trace to Meriwether Lewis

04)   Natchez Trace to Jeff Busby

08)   Natchez Trace to Nashville