- 312 miles (502 km)
- One to two days to visit places along the way.
- The only fees are at some attractions.
Stretching for 312 miles, the Mississippi portion of the Natchez Trace is the longest portion of this 445-mile-long Byway. Filled with sites that share history with both the Chickasaw that first lived in the area and the remnants of the Civil War that occurred later, each mile along this historic route is well worth the drive. With striking forests such as the Homochitto or the Tombigbee that are well known for recreational opportunities, not only history but outdoor adventure awaits you along the Natchez.
The Byway preserves and tries to demonstrate the lives of the Native Americans that spent generations in this area. To get a taste of what their lives were like, visit the Grand Village of the Natchez Trace Historic site, which from 1682-1729 was the center of activity for the Natchez Indians. Or visit the Chickasaw Council House in Pontatok, once capital of the Chickasaw Nation. Travel a little further up the road to a restored Chickasaw Village, and see exhibits describing the daily life of the Chickasaw Indians. Native Americans also left their mark on today's Trace in the many burial mounds that remain along the route. Emerald Mound is one of the more famous, built around 1400. Covering nearly eight acres, it is the second largest of its type.
The Civil War also left its mark along the pathway. One haunting remnant are the Confederate Gravesites, a series of thirteen gravestones, each marked with the inscription "Unknown Confederate Soldier." Or contemplate the artifacts and monuments in the Vicksburg National Military Park, reminders of the people who fought to save this strategic city. Stroll through the rolling hills of the Brices Crossroads or Tupelo National Battlefield site. Close your eyes and imagine the soldiers who fought here long ago.
With the history of several cultures represented by living villages, museums, and monuments, and the Mississippi portion of the Natchez promises to be several hundred miles of intriguing towns, beautiful forests and a wealth of history.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site (MS)
Located on MS Hwy 370 west of Baldwyn, this one-acre battlefieldsite commemorates the battle that had one objective--to make itimpossible for Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest tointerfere with General William T. Sherman's railroad supply linefrom Nashville to Chattanooga during the Atlanta campaign. Forrestscored a decisive victory over General S.D. Sturgis' Union forceswhen they met at Brices Cross Roads on June 10, 1864. The Unionlost five men to every Southern casualty and General Forrest'stroops managed to capture desperately needed supplies, includingguns, ammunition, cannon, and wagons. The battle was considered amajor tactical victory for the Confederacy, but did not diminishthe effectiveness of Sherman's campaign as supplies continued toflow.
The Site is 6 miles (9.6 km) west of Baldwyn on MS 370.
Casey Jones Museum State Park (MS)
Shortly after midnight on April 30, 1900, the "Cannonball" leftMemphis, Tennessee with Jonathan Luther "Casey" Jones at thethrottle. Trying to make up time in the run from Memphis to Canton,Mississippi, Jones had just ran through a stop signal when afreight train came into view crossing the track in front of the"Cannonball." Realizing that a crash was inevitable, Jones orderedhis fireman to jump clear just before the "Cannonball" rammed intofour cars of the freight train. Jones was killed in the crash.
Casey Jones State Park can be reached by I-55, junction with the Natchez Trace in Jackson, and travelling north approximately 20 miles.
Chickasaw Village (MS)
Exhibits describing the daily life of the Chickasaw Indians, as well as the early history of this village site.
Chickasaw Village is located on the Natchez Trace Parkway at milepost 261.8.
Emerald Mound (MS)
Emerald Mound, one of the largest ceremonial mounds in the United States, is a massive, flat-topped earthen structure that rises 35 feet high and covers eight acres along the Natchez Trace Parkway. It was given to the National Park Service in 1950 and in 1989 was assigned the highest value bestowed upon American historic places: National Historic Landmark status.
On either end of Emerald's huge main platform, are secondary flat-topped mounds, which were probably the sites of a temple and the residence of a priest or ruler. Early drawings of Emerald suggest that three smaller mounds flanked the sides of the great earthwork. Built and occupied between 1250 and 1600 AD, this former Mississippian town as home to the ancestors of the Natchez people, whose remnants the French would encounter in the early 1700s. Emerald Mound, at its zenith, was most likely the settingfor large religious and civic rituals.
Emerald Mound is located at Milepost 10.3 on the Natchez Trace Parkway (Mississippi).
Center of activities of the now-extinct Natchez Indians from 1682-1729.
It is located on 400 Jefferson Davis Boulevard, just off Hwy. 98 in Natchez.
Homochitto National Forest (MS)
The Homochitto purchase unit was established in 1936 as the first National Forest in Mississippi. The Forest was named for the Homochitto River, an Indian name for Big Red River. France, England, Spain, and the United States strongly influenced the area of land around what is now the Homochitto National Forest. It operated as a single district until 1952, then was divided into two Ranger Districts, the Bude and the Homochitto.
The Forest, consisting of approximately 189,000 acres, hosts a number of resources. The Homochitto is one of the leading timber-producing National Forests in the South. For nearly 50 years, exploration for oil and gas has taken place on this Forest. About 86 percent of the producing wells on National Forest land in Mississippi come from the Homochitto.
The Homochitto National Forest is located near the Natchez Trace Parkway east of Natchez and west of McComb.
The Mississippi Crafts Center has been located on the historicNatchez Trace Parkway since 1975. The Crafts Center, which ishoused in a dog trot cabin, features a Guild sales shop and offersa nationally recognized program of crafts demonstrations, classes,and festivals. Works available for purchase range fromcenturies-old Native American cane basket designs by members of theChoctaw Tribe to pottery, weaving, quilting, and jewelry intraditional and contemporary styles.
To reach the Mississippi Crafts Center take the Natchez Trace Exit (105-A) from I-55 North one mile north of Jackson, Mississippi.
Mount Locust (MS)
Mount Locust, standing on a land grant of 600 acres, dates from the English occupation of the Natchez District during the years 1763-1779 when it was part of British West Florida. The home was one of the original stands, or hotels of sorts, along the Natchez Trace during its early years. Fully restored now, Mount Locust offers visitors a taste of what life was like on the Natchez Trace during its golden years.
Mount Locust is located on the Parkway at milepost 15.5.
Rocky Springs (MS)
In the 1790s new settlers were attracted to this area by the rich soil and many springs. They cleared the land, built homes, and, in 1837, built an impressive brick church. By 1860 Rocky Springs was a prosperous rural community of 2,616 people. Several owned property valued at $50,000 to $100,000. The community had a Methodist church, post office, Masonic lodge, and several stores. Between 1860 and 1920 the area was devastated by the Civil War, yellow fever, the boll weevil, and land erosion. Today only the church and cemetery, two rusting safes, and abandoned cisterns mark the site of the town.
Rocky Springs is located at milepost 54.8 on the Natchez Trace, between Natchez and Clinton, MS.
Tombigbee National Forest (MS)
With two locations, one on the byway and the other nearby, the Tombigbee offers a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.
One section is located along the Trace from milepost 234 - 247. The other section is 10 miles east of Jeff Busby.