Biking the Natchez Trace Parkway     

Stretching south from the bright lights of Nashville, Tennessee, to the banks of the Mississippi River in Natchez, Mississippi, the Natchez Trace Parkway offers an incomparable view of some of the nation's most beautiful landscapes and a look back into some of the nation’s most colorful history. It's no wonder that in 2006 this America's Byway was named by ESPN as one of the country’s top ten road biking destinations!

Beginning as an ancient hunting trail blazed by the Natchez, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Indians, the Natchez Trace Parkway has changed and evolved with the growth of the nation.

Today the byway stretches its 444 miles of paved road across the three states of Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. Start your ride along the byway at any point, but make sure to stay to the outer edge of the road because it has no defined shoulder.

Motorized traffic, however, is sparse, leaving more than enough room for you to enjoy your bike ride. The National Park Service (NPS) offers a free road biking packet that contains rules and regulations for biking the Parkway, as well as lists of bicycle-specific visitor services such as bike shops, campgrounds, and drinking water along the way. Contact the byway to request the packet.

Want to combine your bike trip with a little history? The Natchez Trace Parkway probably offers more historical stops than you'll be able to fit into your ride.

At the northern end of the Parkway in Nashville, pedal to the Country Music Hall of Fame and see the Grand Ole Opry. Dive into the early days of our country when you stop at Chickasaw Village in Tupelo about 30 miles into northern Mississippi on the Parkway to learn about the daily life of Chickasaw Indian culture.

Find hotels, restaurants, shopping, and bicycle repair shops as well as plenty of famous Tupelo honey while you look over other historical sites in this town, including the birthplace of Elvis Presley. See famous Civil War sites such as the Ruins of Windsor in the historic town of Port Gibson, which was declared by Ulysses S. Grant as "too beautiful to burn." Here you'll be able to find all of the camping and picnicking supplies you'll need to continue your journey.

When you're tired after a long day's ride, stop at one of the many campgrounds along the Parkway. Meet fellow cyclists at the bicycle-only campgrounds at mileposts 408, 327, 266, 234, and 159 (listed from north to south) and swap tips and stories about biking the byway.

If you have a more competitive cycling spirit, enter the annual Natchez Trace Century Ride held every April in Ridgeland, just north of Jackson, MS. Offering several distance options - 25, 50, 62, or 100 miles - this planned ride is perfect for all ages and ability levels.

Cyclists who love nature will find plenty of impressive scenery in the Mississippi section of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Stop to stretch your legs with a 20-minute walk at Cypress Swamp at milepost 122. You might spot a "gator" as you follow the short hike through a world of tall cypress trees and shimmering emerald light. Or pause at milepost 41.5 near Port Gibson, and take a five-minute walk on part of the original Trace, deeply eroded into the Mississippi earth after centuries of use by Indians, missionaries, traders, and trappers.

Whatever your pleasure, be it re-living history, nature-watching, competitive racing, or just relaxed road biking, you'll find it here on the Natchez Trace Parkway. With so many experiences to offer, the Natchez Trace Parkway will keep you coming back for more.

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