Natchez Trace Trip Itinerary – Fall

The goal of this trip, weather and legs permitting, is to have you ride the entire length of the Natchez Trace on your bicycle taking in the beautiful and historic sights along the way. The proposed itinerary for the fall trip is below.  The fee for the trip includes all hotels, museum and park fees and meals unless otherwise noted. The cost of the Fall trip is $2350 per person or $4,400 per couple.  A single supplement fee of $600 can be paid by those who are single and do not wish to share a room with another same sex single participant.

Day 1, Friday

Before we  start our cycling adventure on the Trace, we have to drive to Natchez, MS.  For the fall trip the cyclists ride from the southern end in Natchez, MS to the terminus in Nashville, TN.  We ride south to north so that you can appreciate the beautiful fall foliage with colors becoming more intense the further north we ride on the Trace.  Options for getting to Natchez, MS include flying into Atlanta and traveling with us by van  to Natchez, MS or flying into Jackson, MS where we can pick you up from the airport on the way to Natchez.  Traveling by van is a  great way to get acquainted with the other guests before the trip begins.  We will spend the night in Natchez at one of the many local B&B’s.  After freshening up we will go out to dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Mississippi River.

Day 2,  Saturday

Almost all of our stays along the way will provide us with a full southern style breakfast and before we depart we are also often  treated to a tour of the home.  Today is no different  After a delicious  breakfast, we will head to Rosalie, circa 1823, for a tour of a wonderfully preserved antebellum mansion now lovingly cared for by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  No visit to Natchez would be complete without touring at least one of their antebellum treasures.

Afterwards you begin your cycling adventure on the Trace.  There is a lot to see in the first few miles including remnants of the Old Trace, Emerald Mound (the nations second largest ceremonial indian mound) used from CE 1250-1600 and Mt. Locust, the oldest remaining hostelrie on the trace and the Sunken Trace just north of Port Gibson.  We will exit the Trace at Mile Post 55 (MP 55) and spend the night in Port Gibson at a lovely B&B.  Miles of riding today 55.

Day 3, Sunday

After a full hot southern breakfast, we will load up and drive to Vicksburg, MS.  We will stop on the way to visit the Windsor Ruins, one of the most visually impressive sights near the Trace.   Finished in 1861  Windsor Mansion was used as a Union Hospital during the Civil War and remained intact only to later fall victim to a fire started by a guest’s dropped cigarette.  The ruins stand eerily, but beautifully, as a testament to its former grandeur.  We will spend the rest of the day touring  in Vicksburg Military Park .  After a guided tour of the Park,  you are free to ride through the park by bicycle back to your favorite monuments.  We will stay in Vicksburg at another lovely old B&B. Cycling mileage today is 15 – 21 miles depending on how far you elect to ride in the Park.

Day 4, Monday

After another delicious hot southern breakfast we will head back to the Trace and put you on your bikes at MP 55  to continue your trip.  Today we will ride part of the day on the by-pass around Jackson, MS.  This is a lovely side path built to get you safely around the increased traffic in Jackson, MS.  You will ride north on path until it ends at the Ross Barnett Reservoir where you will get back on the Trace.  The ride around the edge of the reservoir is very pretty.  Other sights today include the former West Florida Boundary, Cypress Swamp and River Bend of the Pearl River.  We will exit the Trace at MP 122 today. We will spend the night in Canton at the Hampton Inn as there are no B&B’s in the area. We will dine at Two Rivers, voted as best steak house in Mississippi.  Their seafood is great too.  The cost of dinner tonight is not included in the cost of your trip.  Mileage for today is 67 miles.

Day 5, Tuesday

After a continental breakfast at the Hotel we will head back to the Trace starting at MP122 and ending at MP 180.  Todays sights will include Kosciusko Visitor Center and the highlight will be our overnight stay in the French Camp Historic District at the B&B.  The B&B is in a quaint log cabin village and there are several buildings that you can tour like the carriage house, blacksmith shop, welcome center and bakery.  Also located here is the French Camp Christian Boarding School for children from distressed families.  The students work at the B&B and the restaurant. It is a very relaxing evening. Miles of riding on the Trace today are 58.

Day 6, Wednesday

Today you will ride from French Camp to Houston, MS (MP 232) where we will stay overnight at the lovely Bridges Hall Manor, an 1884 Victorian style B&B.  Carol is our hostess for the night and she will prepare a lovely dinner for us.  Sights today are mostly the lovely countryside as this is one of the quieter stretches of the Trace.  Miles of riding on the Trace today are 52.

Day 7, Thursday

Todays ride will be a busy one.  From MP 232 , we will ride by the Bynum Mounds, stopping at the Parkway Visitor Center (Parkway Headquarters) and venturing off the Trace here t go into Tupelo to see Elvis Pressley’s Birthplace Museum.  Once back on the Trace you will also see Confederate Gravesites and Pharr Mounds before exiting the Trace for the night at Tishimongo Park at mile marker 304.  Your ride for the day will be 72 miles. We will spend the night tonight at The Belmont Hotel, a restored 1927 Georgian style hotel.  We will walk across the street for dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

Day 8, Friday

After a continental breakfast at the Hotel, you will start your longest ride day of the trip.  We will start at Tishimongo Park at MP 304 and exit the Trace at Meriwether Lewis Park at MP 386.  Along the way we will see Bear Creek Mound which is the oldest site on the Trace dating back to 1100 A.D.,  Colbert Ferry, Rock Spring, and will stop to visit with the local legend nick-named the “Stone Talker”, a national treasure in and of himself.  We will exit the Trace at mile marker 386 to head to Linden, TN to spend the night at the Commodore Hotel, built in 1939.  Miles of riding today  82.  Remember the van is always near by if you need to hitch a ride for a while!

Day 9,  Saturday

This will be your last day of riding the Trace.  We will start with a visit to the Meriwether Lewis Memorial Park at mile marker 386.  The primary attraction here is the grave of Meriwether Lewis.  Was it murder or suicide? We will never know but you may reach your own conclusion after your visit here. We will also visit the Gordon House and Ferry site, one of the only two surviving Trace structures from the early 1800’s (the other being Mt. Locust which we saw day one of your ride).  At mile marker 438 you will see the artfully designed Double Arch Bridge, one of the more beautiful bridges constructed and represented on most literature advertising the beauty of the Natchez Trace.  You will  reach the terminus of the Trace at 444 miles.  After stopping for this favorite photo opportunity you will ride down off the Trace to the famous Loveless Café. The Café is  known for its Southern cuisine.  You can change into clean clothes there before we have dinner.  Local accommodations will be made so we can spend the night in the area before heading home Sunday by van. Miles ridden today are 58. Dinner is not included in your trip cost but the first round of celebratory drinks is!  444 miles done!

Day 10, Sunday

After breakfast, we will drive back to Atlanta,  dropping off any guests flying out of Nashville at the Nashville airport on our way. We have a 4 hour drive back to the Atlanta area and we also lose an hour on the way back due to crossing into the eastern time zone.  We will stop for lunch on the way back.  The cost of lunch is not included in the trip fee.