From the world’s best fried chicken and Elvis to American history that dates back to Jesus’ time, Natchez Trace is an incredible journey every RVer should take…
I may have started by appealing to your stomach with fried chicken, then tickled your ears with the mention of Elvis, but it’s really your heart and mind that will be touched most by the Natchez Trace.
So much history was played out along this trail, that it serves as a timeline from the indigenous people to modern-day America.
Animals first stomped the trail thousands of years ago, further etched by indigenous people from the same time Jesus Christ carved his own path into history. The trail was used by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, French soldiers in the 17th century, and early American settlers in the 18th century.
You, too, can venture where people through the ages have tread.
Why Natchez Trace is Bucket List Worthy
As you know, Jennifer and I have been living the RV Lifestyle for over 10 years now. We’ve driven in every direction in this country and into Canada, and we always find ourselves returning to the Natchez Trace.
There is so much history to absorb, and so much to experience as you follow the path of so many before you.
It is undoubtedly one of our favorite US routes to explore, and I doubt we’ll ever tire of it. We even bought property not far from it.
To be honest, when trying to explain why it’s bucket list-worthy, I don’t know where to begin. There’s just too much to cover, which is why we decided to create a Natchez Trace 7-Day Adventure Guide.
That 90-page guide obviously offers a lot of great details about the trail as it takes you on a week-long adventure, but I wanted to touch upon some of my favorite things about the Natchez trace here.
The Country Store
I’m going to start off by making you hungry. The Country Store is, in actuality, a restaurant that still has some of the original general store amenities of the 140+ year old building.
Don’t be fooled by the weathered structure when you pull up. Instead, pay attention to the license plates from all around the U.S. This place is a destination, not just a happen-chance place to eat.
Although if you just happened to stumble on it, you’d think you found Southern gold… in the form of fried chicken!
The owner, Arthur Davis, is affectionately known as Mr. D far and wide since he feeds you and entertains you with a song.
If you ask Mr. D his secret ingredients, he will tell you it is love, love, love. And he also will tell you that “if the Colonel had had his recipe he would have been a five star general.”
Mike and Jennifer's Summer T-Shirts for your next adventure
Now that your mind’s on fried chicken, I’ll distract you with a peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich. Yep, Elvis Presley’s favorite meal.
You can learn that and so much more at Elvis’ birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi, which is near Trace State Park.
Of course, this is a must-see destination for any Elvis fan, but it truly is a fun, charming town for anyone to visit. Elvis, in his own way, just makes it feel even more American and relatable than other small towns.
And while I highlight Elvis here, we actually go into more history of the area in the 7-day guide that certainly predates the King of Rock.
The Bynum Mounds, for instance, were created by native tribes over 2,000 years ago as a final resting place and ceremonial ground.
War and Peace
When you have a trail as old as Natchez Trace, it’s no surprise that it experienced times of peace and war. It certainly has seen a lot of America’s turmoil, especially the Civil War and the War of 1812. The Trail of Tears also crosses the Trace.
Natchez Trace was an important route in the War of 1812 that led soldiers down to the gulf region to fight off the British and then return home. Though, many soldiers did not survive the trip back and are b buried in unmarked graves all along the Trace.
Andrew Jackson earned the name “Old Hickory” partly because he determinedly led his militia back up the Trace instead of releasing them in New Orleans.
From 1820 to the end of the Civil War, it’s estimated that up to 1 million enslaved people traveled the Trace. Battles were also fought along or near the Trace, including the Battle of Shiloh and the Vicksburg Campaign.
The Trace was once home to a large Chickasaw Village through the 1700s. It had about 2,000 inhabitants, where they proclaim, “we not only lived, but it is where we took care of each other.”
You can learn a lot about the Chickasaw culture at this site at Milepost 261.8, as well as enjoy a lot of the natural surrounding beauty.
Mosey Down Natchez Trace
With so many places to stop and see, Jennifer and I always give this advice first: take your time down the Natchez Trace. What I’ve had time to mention in this article is only a glimpse of everything there is to see and do.
So, you should really plan to spend a good week, if not more exploring the Trace.
The next advice we give is to follow the 50 mph speed limit. It’s strictly enforced, so moseying is both enjoyable and fiscally responsible.
Lastly, I want to note that not all of Natchez Trace is RV-friendly for Class A’s or long travel trailers. You’ll want to be mindful of both your full vehicle length (including toads and trailers) as well as your RV height.
Natchez Trace 7 Day RV Adventure Guide
With a half dozen trips down Natchez Trace under our belt, Jennifer and I realized we should put all of our experience to good use and make a guide for our fellow RVers.
Our experience added up to 90 pages of places to see, things to do, and places to stay along Natchez Trace. You can follow in our footsteps just as we followed in the footsteps of so many before us on this 7-day tour of the trail. You can see more info on the RV guide right below.
If you've been on the Natchez Trace, we'd also love to hear about your experiences in the comments section.
New ebook from Mike and Jennifer Wendland – the Natchez Trace
The Natchez Trace Parkway will capture your imagination, soothe your jangled travel nerves, open your mind and inspire you with the history that unfolded along its 444 miles.
Each of the 7 Days of the ebook has:
- Suggested Mileposts to explore
- Places to Eat in each area of the 7 sections
- Campground descriptions and links
- Links to all the special places and information
- Links to videos that show more in detail
- and a lot of highlighted information for each section
PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a printed, hard copy guide.
Whether you want to follow the footsteps of explorers, discover natural beauty, or visit historic sites, the Trace has something to grab your attention and leave you eager to see what’s at the next milepost.
You can see why this is one of our favorite US routes to explore. We’ve traveled it a half dozen times!