Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Natchez Trace Parkway

Scenic Byway

An American Treasure

Part of the charm of a road trip in America is getting off the highway and seeing the road less traveled.  And that is what we did this eighth day of vacation.  We left Horn Lake, MS and drove on Rt. 72 along the top of Mississippi and into Alabama.

We picked up the Natchez Trace Parkway in Buzzard Roost Spring, AL.  Mile post marker 320 on the trail.  The Trace begins in southern MS and goes all the way to Nashville TN.  It began as an Indian foot-trail and became a well traveled wilderness road by 1810.  In the 1820's it had as many as 20 stands (Inn's) along it as it was quickly becoming a main route to Nashville from the Mississippi River.

We pulled into Buzzard Roost Spring (Old Chickasaw territory) and turned into the information center.  We were amazed to find a park ranger there with lots of information as well as a box full of National Park map information (those boxes are often empty).  The ranger welcomed us to the Parkway and encouraged us to drive it all the way to Nashville as we were in no rush to get anywhere. 

The view from the Bakers Bluff

Off we went for the 120 mile drive along well maintained roads lined with lush green trees, farms and vistas that went on for miles.  We crossed into TN at mile post 341 and made our first detour at post 375.  A 2.5 mile drive on the Old Trace, a one way dirt road through the woods the way it would have been 100 years ago.  At 20 miles an hour, I am glad that the main drag is now paved, but it was beautiful.  We saw many downed trees in the woods and realized what a hard trek it would have been back in the day. 
We pasted turn offs for old Stands, Phosphate mines and tobacco farms but we did stop for the Jackson Falls (post 404).  A winding path down to some beautiful waterfalls. 

Bakers Bluff (post 405) was a favorite of us, the view was spectacular the weather was just great.  We drove another 40 or so miles through winding parkway over creeks and hollows till we got to the award winning double arch bridge.  The Park Ranger had mentioned how proud the park system was of this bridge and as you see it from below you can understand why.

The parkway was a wonderful and beautiful alternative to taking the interstate, and I only got to drive140 miles of this 444 mile treasure.

1 comment:

  1. Quite unique that Parkway !! Road less travelled for sure .. Can u post a picture of that bridge ??


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