Friday, January 29, 2010

Natchez Trace Parkway - Tupelo, Mississippi

This 33 mile section of the Natchez Trace Parkway spans the area south of Tupelo, Mississippi from milepost 248 to north of Tupelo at milepost 281.

Traveling south to north you will encounter several sites that are part of the Natchez Trace Parkway and are overseen by the National Park Service:
  • Tockshish
    A "stand" located here was also the midway point exchange of mail bags on the postal route from Nashville to Natchez.
  • Chickasaw Council House
    Near here on the Old Trace stood an Indian village, Pontatock, with its council house, which in the 1820s became the capitol of the Chickasaw Nation. The chiefs and the head men met there to sign treaties or to establish tribal laws and policies.
  • Black Belt Overlook
    Named for the land's rich black soil, the black belt extends south past  Columbus, MS and eastward across most of Alabama. Formerly one of America's great cotton areas, it is now excellent pasture for livestock.
  • Chickasaw Village
    A Chickasaw Indian village of several houses and a fort sat on this spot. During the summer they lived in rectangular, well-ventilated houses. In the winter they lived in round houses with plaster walls. In times of danger, everybody sought shelter in strongly fortified stockades.
  • Old Town Overlook
    From here you can see Old Town Creek and the adjacent floodplain. From here you there is a hiking trail heading north to the Tupelo Visitors Center or south to the Chickasaw Village Site.
  • Tupelo Visitor Center
    The Natchez Trace Headquarters is located adjacent to the parkway in Tupelo at milepost 266. Information Center, bookstore, exhibits, restrooms, nature walk and offices. A hiking trail will take you from the visitor's center to Old Town Overlook and the Chickasaw Village Site. The visitor center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Closed Christmas day.
  • Confederate Gravesites and Old Trace
    A 5 minute walk on the Old Trace takes you to the grave sites of 13 unknown Confederate soldiers.
  • Dogwood Valley
    Here the Natchez Trace passes through a small valley with an unusual stand of large dogwood trees. An easy 15 minute walk takes you along a sunken portion of the Old Trace and through the small wooded area named Dogwood Valley.
  • Twentymile Bottom Overlook
    Twentymile Bottom is an example of the many low areas along streams through which the Natchez Trace passed.

For additional pictures, information and interactive maps of the Tupelo, Mississippi section of the Trace please see

Also, just off the Trace you will find:
  • Tupelo National Battlefield
    The Battle of Tupelo opened early morning of July 14, 1864 and ended north of town, late afternoon of July 15. The Battle of Tupelo was a Union victory over Confederate forces which ensured the safety of General William T. Sherman's supply lines. The park that commemorates the battle is located one mile east of the Natchez Trace Parkway on Mississippi Highway 6.
  • Tupelo Automobile Museum
    The museum features 120,000 square feet of automobile displays and open viewing restoration bays. Over 100 antique, classic and collectible automobiles, chronologically displayed, illustrate the progress of over 100 years of automobile design and engineering. The museum is located east of the Trace in downtown Tupelo 1/2 block off Highway MS 45, Main Street Exit.
  • Elvis Presley Birthplace
    Elvis was born in Tupelo. The two-room house where Elvis was born on January 8, 1935 is seen by over 50,000 visitors each year. Tupelo bought the house and 15 acres with money provided from a 1957 Tupelo concert performed by Elvis, who wanted to raise money for a park for neighborhood children.
  • Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield
    Brices Cross Roads was the site of a major Civil War battle that took place on June 10, 1864. Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site can be reached from the Tupelo Visitor Center via US Highway 45 north to Mississippi Highway 370 west (an approximate 30 minute drive from the Trace) or just five miles west of Baldwyn, MS. The Brices Cross Roads Visitor and Interpretive Center is located close to the intersection of US Highway 45 and Mississippi Highway 370. 
  • Tupelo, Mississippi
    Roughly halfway between Natchez, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee the Natchez Trace Parkway  passes through the city of Tupelo.
  • Baldwyn, Mississippi
    Baldwyn, is located 15 miles north of Tupelo. The Civil War battle of Brices Cross Roads was fought five miles west of town.
Bed and breakfast travelers will enjoy Sachem Bed and Breakfast in Baldwyn and A Lazy Dog Ranch just north of Tupelo.

Next section north on the Trace: Tishomingo | Belmont
Next section south on the Trace: Houston

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