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Natchez Trace Parkway - Tishomingo State Park, MS
Sunday, July 28, 2002 - 12:45pm by Lolo
250 miles and 5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay
Part of our goal on the 2002 Cross Country trip was to complete visiting the remaining states in the Continental U.S. that we needed to fill in our RV map. In an attempt to find things to do in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, I came across the Natchez Trace Parkway in National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways: Second Edition. While our original motives might not have been pure, we truly enjoyed the drive.
The historic drive is on a well-maintained two-lane parkway that meanders through farmlands, prairies, forests, and marshes. Our first brief stop was at the Meriwether Lewis grave site where we learned that the famed explorer had actually shot himself to death at this very spot a few years after his heroic expedition.
Along the drive you can see sections of the original Trace, which was the trail used by Indians for thousands of years and later by farmers and traders returning from their trip down the Mississippi. A little further along the Trace, we came across an interesting series of dome-shaped burial mounds out in a field. These mounds, known as the Pharr Mounds, were made by the ancient Mound Border culture about 2,000 years ago.
About this time, the family had about enough history and culture and was antsy for some fun, so we headed towards Tishomingo State Park, which I had read about in our National Geographic Guide to the State Parks of the United States; 2nd Edition (National Geographic Guide to the State Parks of the U.S.) (a book which has never steered us wrong). Hot and tired from our day of touring, we decided to stop first at the public pool. Unfortunately we arrived at 4:45 only to find out that the pool was closing in 15 minutes. The lifeguards were kind enough to let us in for free for the remaining time, which was just enough to refresh us. We then headed to the State Park campground which was located on a very pretty little lake. The campsites were spacious and there was hardly anyone else there, as it was a weekday. Upon discovering a rowboat with oars sitting at the edge of the lake on our site, the boys donned their lifejackets and went out for an evening paddle. Later they came back to bring me out for a boat ride. It was quite lovely--sun setting and the two of them standing up, gondola style, while singing me their version of "O solo mio". It doesn't get much better.
As the sun set we took some photos and added Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi to the map--a productive day.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 429-mile long 2-lane highway that runs from Franklin, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi. It parallels the original Trace, which was the trail used by Indian tribes over 8,000 years ago. More recently in our history, the trail was used by farmers and traders who sailed down the Mississippi River to New Orleans to sell their crops, furs, etc. Since their boats couldn't sail upstream, they sold them as lumber and walked the Natchez Trail back home.
Today, the Natchez Trace Parkway is maintained by the National Park Service. Along its 429 miles, it winds through forests, marshes, farms, and prairies.
Natchez Trace Parkway
Tishomingo State Park Camping & Boating
Natchez Trace Parkway - Tishomingo State Park location map