Natchez Trace Parkway

Location: Jackson to Natchez, Mississippi

Webpage: National Park

General Description: This is continuation of the Natchez Trace Parkway described on a page two years ago.

Impressions:

1) The points of interest listed below are for the southern half of the Natchez Trace from 65 miles north of Jackson traveling south to Natchez.

2) Mile 164 – Hurricane Creek. A short walk through different habitats from swamp hardwoods to upland pines along Hurricane Creek.  There are interpretive signs giving information about the changes in habitat.

HurricaneCreek

3) Mile 160 – Kosciusko Welcome Center.  A small cabin with information about the Natchez Trace Parkway and the surrounding area.   There is also a display about Tadeusz Koscuiszko, a hero of the American Revolution from Poland that traveled the trace.

KosciuskoWelcomeCenter

4) Mile 154 – Holly Hill.  A picnic area along a creek with restrooms.  There is a short hike along the winding creek with evidence that the entire area was once a beaver pond.

OldBeaverPond

5) Mile 145 – Red Dog Road.  An historic road named for a Choctaw Chief that opened in 1834, just before the Choctaw Indians were forced to move to Oklahoma.

6) Mile 135 – Robinson Road.  An historic road in use today from Jackson to Columbus, MS.RobinsonRoad

7) Mile 128 – Upper Choctaw Boundary.  A section of the northeast boundary of the Choctaw Nation during the use of the Natchez Trace with a short trail.

UpperChoctawBoundary

8) Mile 122 – Cypress Swamp.  A nice walk along the edge of an oxbow pond off the Pearl River with cypress and tupelo.  There are interpretive signs about the slow change in habitat as the swamp slowly fills in with sediments.

OsburnStandSign

9) Mile 108 – West Florida Boundary.  The northern boundary of West Florida before the area was ceded to the United States from Spain.

WestFloridaBoundary

10) Mile 106 – Boyd Site.  Indian mounds dating from 750 to 1250 years ago.

11) Mile 105 – Reservoir Overlook.  Nice views of Ross R. Barnett Reservoir north of Jackson on the Pearl River.

12) Mile 104 – Old Trace and Brashears Stand Site.  Location of Brashears Stand along the Trace, as well as, an excellent example of the sunken trace as it wound through the area.  There is also access to the Mississippi Craft Center via a bridge over the sunken trace.  Road access to the parking lot is at the next exit from the trace.

13) Mile 102 – Parkway Information Cabin.  Exhibits about the trace and information are available at the cabin.

14) Mile 101 – Choctaw Agency.  One of the sites of the liason office between the US Government and the Choctaw Nation in the early 1800s.

ChoctawAgencySign

15) Mile 93 – Osburn Stand.  Site of Noble Osburn’s stand from 1811 to early 1820s.

OsburnStandSign

16) Mile 88 – Cowles Mead Cemetery.  Cowles Mead owned a stand along the trace and was the acting territorial governor in 1806.

17) Mile 78 – Battle of Raymond.  As part of the Vicksburg Campaign in 1863, General Grant defeated a small Confederate force who retreated to Jackson.  It was this engagement that convinced Grant he needed to eliminate Jackson as a threat before moving west to capture Vicksburg.

BattleOfRaymond

18) Mile 73 – Dean Stand Site.  The site of Dean Stand along the trace from 1820-1830s and also near the Dillon’s Plantation which was the short term headquarters of Generals Grant and Sherman as they planned the attack on Jackson.

19) Mile 61 – Lower Choctaw Boundary.  The southwestern boundary between the Choctaw Nation and the Natchez District.  It was this point along the trace that marked the “end of civilization” for those traveling north on the trace.

LowerChoctawBoundary

20) Mile 55 – Rocky Springs.  There is a short trail to the historic town site of Rocky Springs which grew from travelers on the trace into a thriving farming community.  The Civil War followed by a yellow fever outbreak and the boll weevil caused the death of the community.  There is another short trail down to the spring that gave the town its name, although reduction of the water table has dried up the spring today.  There are also trails along the trace and a campground at this location.

21) Mile 52. Owens Creek Waterfall.  Surprising to find in this part of the state, there is a small waterfall of around 10 feet tall that can be seen from the parking area.  Unfortunately, it only flows after a heavy rain which we were fortunate to have just a few days before.

22) Mile 46. Grandstone Ford/Mangum Mound.  On the west side of the road is a pathway down the old trace to the location of the ford across Bayou Pierre.  As you would expect the trace and pathway all but disappear as you approach the bayou and there is no longer any evidence of where the historic ford is exactly.  On the east side of the road, accessed by a bridge under the parkway, are the Mangum Indian Mounds.

23) Mile 41 – Sunken Trace.  A short trail through a deeply eroded section of the original trace.  With walls 20 feet high, it is the most impressive example of the sunken nature of the trace.

SunkenTraceSign

24) Mile 18 – Bullen Creek.  A short trail through a hardwood-pine forest with interpretive signs that explain forest succession as the loblolly pine forest is converting into a hardwood forest.

25) Mile 15 – Mount Locust.  A restored plantation and historic stand along the trace with house tours and exhibits.  Unfortunately they were working on the roads while we were there and the location was closed.

26) Mile 12. Loess Bluff.  An excellent example of the windblown loess soil that was deposited in this region following the ice ages.  This soils is part of the reason, along with poor farming practices, that this area is so eroded with deep ravines and bluffs.

27) Mile 10. Emerald Mound.  This indian mound is located a couple of miles west of the parkway, but is well worth the trip.  It is an 8 acre flat topped mound built between 1200 and 1650 a.d. by the Mississippian culture and is second in size to only Cahokia at St. Louis.

28) Mile 8.  Old Trace Exhibit Shelter.  Some introductory information about the history of the trace.

OldTraceSign

29) Mile 5 Elizabeth Female Academy.  A short walk takes you to the remaining wall of the first school for women chartered by the state of Mississippi in 1818.