We drove the entire length of Natchez Trace Parkway during April and May 2008. This time-period was selected as we thought wildflowers would be blooming and temperatures would be favorable.

We began our trip in Nashville, Tennessee and ended at Natchez, Mississippi. The 444-mile National Scenic Byway is administrated by National Park Service. We took a number of side trips and these have a separate web page.

Sunken Trace

Natchez trace has been a crossing from pre-historic times. First used by buffalo and Native Americans. In the later 1800s, traders from Ohio Valley floated their wares on flatboats down tributaries of Mississippi River to Natchez. There they sold their wares and boats. Since no economical means existed to navigate upstream on the Mississippi River, the boatman walked home with gold in their pockets. They followed this natural footpath skirting swamps and other obstacles. In the image above, Jim and Elizabeth are in a part of the trace referred to as "The Sunken Trace."

The entire length of the parkway is paved. Most is marked for no passing. The parkway parallels the trace in most cases and frequently crosses ti along the way. A 2-mile unpaved stretch is set aside for traveling in private vehicles. The above image shows our car on this stretch of the old trace.

Bridge on Parkway

Tupelo-Baldypress Swamp

A raised wood-plank pathway leads around this swamp. The walkway was a good place to get lots of photographs of cypress knees.

Pull-off at Owens Creek

The image above shows us pulled-off at Owens Creek. While most of our trip was made in perfect weather, it was overcast here. As can be seen, the parkway winds through the area on a nicely maintained 2-lane road. A natural buffer zone along roadsides obscures any neighboring development from view.

Speed is limited on the parkway to 45- and 55-mph. We don't recall seeing a single stop sign on the entire parkway--except at exits. Our car produced worse miles per gallon while traveling at these slower speeds than driving at freeway rate because it could never shift into its overdrive gear. The parkway is off-limits to commercial traffic.