When we first started talking about driving the Natchez Trace Parkway, it was months before we had even began our full-time RV living. When we actually started this drive, it was thrilling. We drove the Natchez Trace from North to South, starting in Tennessee, down through Alabama and ending in Natchez, Mississippi. Most people drive it from mile marker 0, starting in Natchez and driving North.
We’re keeping our theme of “Opting Out of Normal” alive and well.
Before we left we mapped out places we wanted to visit by mile markers which are clearly marked . We didn’t stop at every single place on the Trace. We encourage you to map out your own journey up or down the Trace based on interests. We found all but 1 small overlook was “big rig” friendly (And that one is clearly marked before you make the turn in, that there is no RV turnaround area). We are dragging a 39 foot 5th wheel, and found all the areas to be easy to navigate. They have decided this drive with us RVers in mind. There is no commercial traffic allowed on the Natchez Trace, and the speed limit all 444 miles is just 50. The roads are beautifully maintained, and kept very clean. We had no reason to rush. Most of our nights were spent in beautiful, free campgrounds right on the Trace, but we did venture off one night and stay in a paid campground, only because it made sense to do so. I’ll elaborate later.
Mile Marker 438 – Birdsong Hollow Bridge (aka: Double Arch Bridge)
Completed in 1994 this beautiful bridge rises 155 feet above the valley. The bridge carries Trace travelers 1,648 feet across the valley and Tennessee Highway 96. TIP: There are 2 places to see the bridge. We didn’t know this until we were long past it. The first is a parking lot and walkway clearly marked, but it’s very overgrown and very hard to really see the bridge. Had we known about the 2nd view point, we definitely would have gone. Darn! So for you … here you go: The bridge can be viewed from two locations. We recommend taking in both views. Just north of the bridge there is a parking area with a view of the bridgeand the valley below. (this is the one we did). Just south of the bridge is an exit ramp that takes you down to Tennessee Highway 96. At the bottom of the hill there is a parking area with a view looking up at the entire length of the bridge.
Mile Marker 407 – The Gordon House — There is a lot of history on this home, and worth a stop. It’s a beautiful place to pull in and eat lunch.
Mile Marker 404 – Jackson Falls / Baker Bluff Overlook
This was a pretty easy hike, but you can find some more challenging hiking to do around this waterfall and see different views.
Mile Marker 391 – Fall Hollow Trail & Waterfall
This is a beautiful hike. Could be a little hard for some, as the path becomes very rocky and steep in sections.
Highly recommend! We had left our trailer at the campground, since we stayed a couple days, and it was so close to the Meriwether Lewis Campground.
Mile Marker 385 – Meriwether Lewis Campground (free)
Our first 2 nights were spent here. There are many camping areas to stay on or near the Natchez Trace. We are set up and enjoy camping for free (aka: boondocking). This was a beautiful campground, with heated, clean bathrooms. Fresh water is available in 2 spots in the campground. We were in site #1, but when we walked around the rest of the campground, there were plenty of spots we could have easily fit into.
Part 2 coming soon!