"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Natchez Trace

Rocky Springs Campground on the Natchez Trace


The Natchez Trace is a 444 mile long National Park that many people drive but others
ride their bicycles. We wanted to experience at least a few days riding
but weren't able to make it work until now.
The Trace was only 20 miles as the crow flies from Vicksburg but our GPS was guiding
us on a 2.5 hour drive. We found some backroads on the map and were able
to figure out the names of the roads with our smart phone to
Rocky Spring Campground. We were up early and on the road by 8am. I was
able to follow our winding progress on the phone. Once I told Mike I thought we
should take a right. He took a left and was correct. The next time I told
him to take a right. He took a left. This time I was correct. We are basically
each correct 50% of the time.
We left early so we could get a morning bike ride in. Who wants to ride in
the hot afternoon? There are not many campgrounds along the Trace making planning ahead
a priority. We wanted to stay at a free federal first come, first serve campground on the
Natchez Trace. As we pulled up, RVs were pulling out. Rounding the first
corner was a large drive thru that I promptly pulled through. As we were pulling
out our bikes, several cyclists were heading out with their panniers loaded to
continue the 444 miles north.
We had heard that many Canadians stop in these campground as they return from wintering in Texas. 90% of the slots were people from Quebec and Ontario. Unfortunately, many of the federal sites are in poor repair and some of the restrooms are closed. I wish they would charge us a small amount and use that money for upkeep and avoid loosing these resources. 

 We headed south on our bikes along the beautiful and peaceful highway. The
trees acted as a canopy to keep us cool on our 32 mile ride. We hadn't ridden
much recently. The previous day was the hilly Vicksburg ride. By mile 28, my
butt was getting pretty sore. We stopped for a rest and a man driving by stopped
to make sure we were ok. He said we needed to check out Natchez which is the
oldest continuous settlement on the Mississippi. Another person in the campground had just come
from there and said they enjoyed it.

The drive down the Trace is 55mph with very little traffic other than a few turtles
or snakes crossing the road.

 Artifacts found in the mounds tell about the prehistoric people who lived in this area.
Some of the old Natchez Trace worn down by American Indians, "Kaintucks," and settlers traveling between Natchez, MS to Nashville, TN.
Natchez, Mississippi

We had a nice camping spot that was free and no real plans. We decided to stay
another night and drive down to the town of Natchez. I actually needed a day
off the bike and this seemed like a good plan and since so many people recommended the stop..

The bluff walk along the Mississippi River was very nice. Fortunately, the clouds
were coming in for the expected rain storm in the evening which made the walk more

We were only 54 miles for Natchez and glad we made the drive but also glad we
didn't stay longer.

Under the hill is where the unruly and no virtuous woman would venture. There are many stories of the ruffians that would frequent the area.

Just wearing those pants would make a person want to be law abiding.

What would a southern town be without a horse drawn carriage ride?

In the evening, a person across from us pulled out his fiddle. The strum of
his fiddle echoed through the trees as we would listen as we read. Dry camping
is nice at times without distractions. Your mind can wander to what time might
have been like for the people who were here in the past.

 Ross Barnett Reservoir, north or Jackson, Miss

Our third day on the trace was the best yet. Even though the traffic was heavier the first couple of miles north of Jackson, the ride was even more pleasant with less hills and no storm blowing along the lake.
It is easy to be drawn to a longer out and back bike ride when it is this pleasant but you have remember you have to turn around and do it all again in reverse. With the temperatures rising and humidity high, a 22 mile ride was good today.

A dinner visitor at our campsite on the lake. I think he was scoping out the young geese on the shore. 


  1. We may drive down the Trace this year and visit Natchez

    1. The north seems to have more to offer but the fall has to be beautiful.

    2. I thought of you two when we were having brunch with all of that good food. You would like Natchez.

  2. The Trace has been on our ToDo list for some time. Now that my brother has moved to North Carolina maybe we can work it in next year, you really make it look worth the effort.

  3. The Natchez Trace has been on our list, too. Looks like a fun place to do some biking! You guys really put in the miles. Twenty to thirty miles feels like a long ride on my hybrid bike with its big fat tires. But I love the big comfy seat. :-))

  4. You are right about the fat tires. I can only ride half the distance one my mountain bike. Less air pressure and fat tires. It has been a fun experience but a lot of driving at times.