Somewhere in my school days I had heard of the Natchez Trace. I had no idea of its significance nor of its location although logically I knew it had some thing to do with Natchez, MS. When I was researching routes down to Texas that avoided interstates I came across the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Parkway is unique in that it is a 444 miles of limited access road that follows the original Natchez Trace from Nashville, TN. to Natchez, MS.
The original Trace follows the migratory route of the American bison and the native Americans followed the “traces” of these herds improving the walking trail. By the time of European exploration the route was well-known and established.
What Dave and I really love about the Parkway is threefold.
First, there are no stop signs or lights for the entire 444 miles. The only time we had to stop was at the bridge going over the Tennessee River where they were doing construction and traffic was reduced to an alternating single lane. There was also construction on the north end so we picked up the Parkway at the Meriwether Lewis campground.
Second, there is absolutely no commercial truck traffic allowed on the Parkway. The only hauling that may be done is for recreational purposes.
Third, the speed limit on the Park way is 50 mph. Now for those of you in a hurry that may sound ridiculous but we found it relaxing to just cruise along and enjoy the scenery. You can pick up a map at the beginning of the parkway and know where there are towns along the route where you can exit to get food and fuel. There are also three free campgrounds (no electric hook-ups) with flush toilets. With the use of the map we picked up at the beginning of our route we also found other campsites that filled our needs at the end of each day.