Best time to visit Tennessee

Natchez Trace Parkway

One of the most scenic roads in the United States with an ancient history

Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee 2019 - Best Time
Photo by

© John Hagstrom

A two-way Natchez Trace Parkway stretches for 715 km (444 miles) from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. This road leaves you in awe because of its beautiful landscapes, and it will amaze you, even more, when you learn about its 10,000-year history. The modern road follows The Old Natchez Trace, a historic forest trail, connecting the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi rivers. The trail was used for centuries by Native Americans. Then early European explorers and traders used it in the 18th century. In general, the Parkway had been a significant trade route before steamboats on the Mississippi River and offered faster transportation.

Red buds in bloom along the Natchez Trace Parkway near Nashville, TN 2019
Red buds in bloom along the Natchez Trace Parkway near Nashville, TN

The road was asphalted in 2005, and it offers an opportunity to travel for 444 miles without seeing traffic lights, commercial buildings or other signs of civilization. Commercial traffic is prohibited along the entire way. The speed limit on this road is 50 mph (80 km/h).

Natchez Trace Parkway sunset near Claiborne County, Mississippi 2019
Natchez Trace Parkway sunset near Claiborne County, Mississippi

The Natchez Trace Parkway can be used year-round, but the best time to take it is spring and fall. In April and May, you can see a lot of wildflowers and trees blooming along your way.

In the middle of the autumn, you can observe magnificent fall foliage with the hickory, maple, oak, and other hardwood trees as they change their leaf colors to red, yellow and orange. There are a few outlooks along the parkway, like The Old Trace Drive (milepost 375.8), that provide beautiful views of forests.

Fall colors along the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee 2019
Fall colors along the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee
Views of the Natchez Parkway Bridge and it's surrounding in autumn 2019
Views of the Natchez Parkway Bridge and it's surrounding in autumn
Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee - Best Season 2019