Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Along the Natchez Trace Parkway

We continue our journey on the Natchez Trace Parkway -- a modern 444 mile two-lane highway from Natchez, MS, to Nashville, TN.   Maintained by the National Park Service the Natchez Trace Parkway parallels the old Natchez Trace.  

At first the trace was probably a series of hunters' paths that slowly came to form a trail from the Mississippi over the low hills into the valley of the Tennessee.   By 1733 the French knew the land well enough to map it and showed an Indian trail running from Natchez to the northeast.

By 1810 the Natchez Trace was the most heavily traveled wilderness road in the Southwest.  By 1820 more than twenty inns (locally called stands) were in operation along the Natchez Trace.
Frequent pull-offs along the Natchez Trace Parkway feature signs describing important historical places or events.
There are places where visitors can walk on the original Natchez Trace.
Foot and horse traffic on soft soil created places where the Trace is sunken.
We ended our day at the Ratliff Ferry Campground with a waterfront site on the Ross Barnett Reservoir.