The rural community of Church Hill is located at the intersection of Mississippi Highway 553 and Church Hill Road. The area is named after Christ Church which sits atop a terraced hill. Built circa 1790, the building's design was copied from the old country church buildings of England.
Across the intersection is a wooden country store built around 1837. The store bears the name Wagners Grocery on the upper header of the store. The store was closed in the late 1990s, after which it was donated to the Church Hill historic society for preservation. It also functioned as the Church Hill, MS post office. It is the oldest known all-wooden heart pine country store that had a post office in the southeastern United States.
Antebellum plantations line both sides of Highway 553. Plantations along this 12 mile stretch of road include Gayoso, Pecan Grove, Logonia, Oak Grove, Cedars, Woodland and Springfield Plantation where Andrew Jackson and Rachel Robards were married in 1791. All of the properties are privately owned and not open to the public. Christ Church and the plantations are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Church Hill Loop is 22 miles long - 12 miles along Mississippi Highway 553 and 10 miles along the Natchez Trace Parkway from milepost 10.3 to milepost 20.
Sites along the Natchez Trace Parkway section of the loop include: Bullen Creek, Coles Creek, Mount Locust, Loess Bluff, Turpin Creek and Emerald Mound.
Many people bicycle the Church Hill Loop. Highway 553 is lightly traveled. Best place to park is at Mount Locust on the Trace at milepost 15.5. From Mount Locust you can bike either north or south on the Trace to Highway 553. If you plan on returning to Mount Locust after 5 p.m. please park on the outside of the gates as they are closed at 5 p.m. The Church Hill Loop is included in Glen Wanner's Bicycling The Natchez Trace book.
At the south end of the loop exit the Natchez Trace Parkway at milepost 10.3 (the Emerald Mound exit). After a tenth of a mile Highway 553 bears to the right (road to Emerald Mound goes straight). Christ Church is 6.5 miles to the north. Continue north on Highway 553 past the entrance to Springfield Plantation and the highway heads east back to the Natchez Trace Parkway at milepost 20. You can also view the route on MapMyRide.com.
There are no markets or restaurants along the loop route. Both Coles Creek and Mount Locust stops on the Trace have a bathroom facility, drinking fountain and a picnic area.
Brandon Hall Plantation Bed and Breakfast is located a mile and a half south of the route at milepost 8.9.