Friday, March 16, 2018
Natchez Trace - Mile 0 to Mile 54.8
Before starting a drive along the trace stop at the Natchez Visitor Center and pick up the Natchez Trace Parkway map published by the national park service. The map has every stop marked along with a short description and the exact mileage from the southern end. The road itself has brown mileage posts marking each mile so by following along with the map it’s easy to see exactly where you are. I’m going to post the more interesting sites since there are over 100 places to stop and see along the way.
Mile 5.1 Elizabeth Female Academy Site – The first school of higher learning for women in Mississippi. Founded in 1818 and closed in 1845 when the capital moved to Jackson. A short, paved, and accessible trail leads to the school ruins.
Mile 10.3 Emerald Mound – The second largest temple mound built in the US. Built and used from 1300 – 1600. The opening in the gate is not wide enough for wheelchairs.The paved trail to the top is very steep.
Mile 12.4 Loess Bluff – Fine soil blown south from the plains and deposited in Mississippi during the ice ages. Loess is very fertile but easily eroded.
Mile 15.5 Mount Locust Plantation and Inn - built in 1780 and the only surviving inn of more than 50 built along the trace. A paved accessible trail leads to a view of the simple plantation house which is not accessible due to steps.
Detour! The Windsor Ruins is a must stop. This is the antebellum mansion that Sherman DIDN’T burn. It was accidently burnt in 1890 and the only things left are the concrete and brick columns and iron railings. It would cost almost 5 million dollars to build today. The road to the mansion was closed at the southern end so we went to Port Gibson and took Carroll Street to Rodney Road to get to the mansion ruins from the north. Parking area is large enough for RVs.
Mile 54.8 Rocky Springs Campground and Old Town Site- Free 22 site campground with paved parking pads and restrooms. Most of the sites are pull through and large enough for any RV. The accessible site has concrete under the table which has an extended top.
The town site has a packed gravel trail to a church built in 1837 and still in use today. Another trail winds through the town site and past a couple of old safes. The trail to the church overlooks ravines caused by poor farming practices. The church trail is accessible with assistance. The town trail is not accessible.
Trace 31.54599, -91.36809