Motorcycling the Natchez Trace

Motorcycling the Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway motorcycle route spans 444 miles between Natchez, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee.

See more Natchez Trace motorcycle photos - click here.

Top 10 Reasons to Motorcycle the Natchez Trace Parkway

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  • 1 - Commercial traffic is prohibited.
    • The National Park Service prohibits commercial traffic on the Natchez Trace Parkway. This means motorcyclists don't have to worry about semi-trucks, dump trucks, delivery trucks, buses, etc.

      For the most part the vast majority of motorized vehicles on the Trace are cars, pickup trucks and, of course, motorcycles.

      The absence of large trucks makes the Natchez Trace Parkway an enjoyable motorcycle route. The only "large" vehicles you will encounter on the Trace are RVs and park service mowing and maintenance equipment. If you see vehicles on the parkway that shouldn't be there - call the park service dispatch line at 1-800-300-PARK (7275). Give them a description of the vehicle, where you saw them (closest milepost would be great), when you saw them and which direction (north or south) they are going. The park service will send a ranger to investigate.

      The National Park Service prohibits commercial traffic on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

  • 2 - Traffic is generally very light except around Tupelo and Jackson.
    • Most of the parkway passes through sparsely and lightly populated areas. Because of this, combined with the 50 mph speed limit and the prohibition of commercial traffic, most of the traffic is done by people enjoying the Trace. The Natchez Trace Parkway is meant for recreational traffic. When the weather is nice there are often more motorcycles on the Trace than cars.

      However, people do use the parkway to "commute" to work. Commute traffic is minimal through rural areas and very light near small towns located along the Trace. But, commute traffic is very heavy in the Tupelo and Jackson areas.

      Lots of motorcycles on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

  • 3 - No stop signs or stop lights. Access on and off the Trace is via on/off ramps which means no need to worry about cross traffic.
    • You could ride the entire length of the Trace without ever stopping! What is most important about the absence of stop signs and stop lights is there is no cross traffic. Motorcyclists don't have to watch for cars driving across the Trace at high speeds. The picture here shows a typical off ramp.

      Access to the Trace from highways and major roads is provided by an on ramp that intersects with the Trace at a 90 degree angle. Cars entering the Trace must stop before turning onto the Trace (i.e. no merging ramps where the car enters the Trace at a high rate of speed).

      No stop signs or stop lights on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

  • 4 - The parkway is clean and smooth. One motorcyclist said it was "like riding on a cloud".
    • The asphalt pavement on the Natchez Trace Parkway creates a very smooth ride.

      The prohibition of commercial traffic on the Trace eliminates almost all heavy vehicle use. Heavy trucks tear up roads. Commercial hauling is also prohibited which means dump trucks and other vehicles that might throw trash/rocks/debris on the Trace are not allowed.

      The park service does an excellent job of keeping the Trace clean of any trash, debris or tree limbs that fall on the Trace.

      The Natchez Trace Parkway is clean and smooth.

  • 6 - All along the Trace, historic and scenic attractions offer interesting breaks and rest stops.
    • As you ride the Natchez Trace there are an abundance of things to see and do. Take a short rest break at a waterfall, skip rocks on a wooded creek, see a section of the "Old Trace", view an Indian burial mound, read about an historical event, take a short walk along a self-guided trail, take in the view of a scenic overlook, see rivers that frontier travelers either forded across or paid to ferry across, visit a once thriving town that no longer exists, visit a 200 year-old inn, see some pivotal Civil War battlefields...

      The parkway offers 95 "sights to see" along the length of the Trace. 26 are along the 102 mile-long Tennessee section of the Trace, 7 are along the 31 mile-long Alabama section of the Trace and 62 are along the 310 mile-long Mississippi section of the Trace.

      To help you optimize your time and make your trip more enjoyable we have created our Top 30 Favorite Sites.

      Historical and scenic Natchez Trace attractions.

Major Repaving/Rehabilitation Project in Northeast MS and Northwest AL

The almost 43-mile-long section of the Parkway is between milepost 293.4 (south of the Tishomingo/Belmont, MS area) and milepost 336.3 (intersection with AL Hwy 20 - north of where the Parkway crosses over the Tennessee River and west of Florence, AL).

The project is being split into three phases/sections.

Phase One

Phase One of the paving project is from milepost 293.4 to milepost 321 (intersection with US 72 near Cherokee, AL). Work began on November 3, 2021.

The closure is near the towns of Belmont, MS, Tishomingo, MS and Cherokee, AL. The Parkway in this section is closed to the public

The Paving Project is now in Phase Two.

Phase Two

Phase Two initially, is Phase One plus 5 more miles from milepost 321 to milepost 326.3. 33 miles are now closed between milepost 293.4 and 326.3. Phase Two began on May 9, 2022.

When the southernmost area is completed from milepost 293.4 to milepost 303 that part of the Parkway will open up. This will hopefully occur around mid-June - a lot depends on the weather and construction delays.

Click here for more info and maps and directions of the detour route.

Phase Three

Phase Three will start late summer or fall after paving is completed from milepost 303 to milepost 321 and that part of the Parkway has reopened.

Phase Three will be between milepost 321 (intersection with US 72 near Cherokee, AL) and milepost 336.3 (intersection with AL Hwy 20 - north of where the Parkway crosses over the Tennessee River and west of Florence, AL). The detour around this closure is about 45 miles long.

Click here for more info and maps and directions of the detour route.

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