From Nashville to Tupelo on the Natchez Trace Parkway
Thursday, February 22, 2017
Anchored in the river valleys of East Tennessee and Southern Mississippi, the Natchez Trace Parkway offers many beautiful and diverse wildlife habitats. In the mid-2000s, the first sections of this parkway became the National Wild and Scenic River corridor, offering a unique setting for wildlife and hiking and biking. By the time you reach Natchez, the wildlife is virtually gone, replaced by development, but the parkway offers a unique opportunity to find and enjoy wildlife in the midst of a commercial and urban setting, without being overwhelmed by other visitors or commercialization. By combining a canoeing trip in a national park with a hike along the Natchez Trace Parkway in the summer of 2015, the first section of this parkway became a unique wildlife corridor of one of the best national recreation areas in the world!
The Natchez Trace Parkway begins in downtown Natchez, at the Mississippi-to-Natchez National Heritage Place Historic Site, which includes the site where Natchez was founded. The National Heritage Place and National Heritage Corridor are two programs initiated to connect the historic, cultural and natural sites of the Natchez Trace Parkway. The National Heritage Corridor also includes the New River at New Orleans and the New River Trail (see the New River at New Orleans section).
You will begin the Natchez Trace Parkway at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Education Center in downtown Natchez. This is another National Heritage Corridor National Park Service site. The Visitor Education Center is a museum and historical monument, and provides an interesting history of the Natchez Trace Parkway and how the parkway was begun. The Visitor Education Center is a national monument and a National Park Service site.
While you are in the Visitor Education Center, take a look around and meet the people who made the parkway possible — the people who brought the first travelers to the area’s beautiful natural sites, such as the New River.
Just beyond the Visitor Education Center, in downtown Natchez, you will find the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Information Center, which offers self-guided walking tours of the parkway. The tour guides for the Visitor Education Center are also located at this point in the parkway.
The Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Information Center is open from 9am to 4pm every day,