5 things to do near Natchez Trace State Park

July 27, 2016  |  Permalink

Anyone who has driven from Memphis to Nashville has probably seen signs for Natchez Trace State Park. The park sits in almost the exact middle between these two cities. As soon as you hop off the interstate at Exit 116, you arrive at the 48,000-acre mass of land that is a mixture of state park, state forest and wildlife management area. The size, seclusion and interstate access make it perfect for a weekend getaway. Let’s look at the places to stay and the things to do on your next trip:

 

WHERE TO STAY

Natchez Trace State Park Inn

The 47-room Inn at Natchez Trace, known as the Pin Oak Lodge, is a great place to stage your trip. The Inn sits on Pin Oak Lake, with half the rooms overlooking the lake. The weekend is the perfect time to take advantage of the breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets at the park's restaurant, The Western Spur. From here, you can move on to your other activities.

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WHAT TO DO

1. Hiking at Natchez Trace State Park

If you’re looking for adventure, the woods at Natchez Trace are calling your name. There are trails ranging from 0.2 to 4.0 miles with a variety of difficulty levels. There is also a massive 40.0-mile overnight trail that leads hikers through state park and forest lands. The trails wind through the forest and fields and along lakeshores and streams.

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2. Off-roading at Natchez Trace State Forest

A large portion of the Natchez Trace area belongs to the state forestry and agriculture department. One of the main purposes of the land is to grow and harvest timber. A great thing about forestry land is that they allow you to use off highway vehicles (OHVs). If you want to do a little off-roading, this is one of your best destinations. Just make sure you call the local State Forest office to make sure you know all of the rules.

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3. Fishing at Natchez Trace State Park

Anglers who visit Natchez Trace enjoy fishing on the 58-acre Cub Lake and 690-acre Pin Oak Lake. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) manages two additional lakes near the park, the 167-acre Brown’s Creek Lake and the 90-acre Maple’s Creek Lake. Whether you’re looking for trophy Largemouth Bass, catfish or bluegill, these lakes are great destinations to cast a line and enjoy the weekend.

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4. Boating at Mousetail Landing State Park

Mousetail Landing State Park is located between Parsons and Linden along the bank of the Tennessee River. This park is popular for boating, fishing, skiing and other water activities. Catfish are the best in the summer and fall, and it’s possible to catch some large ones.  

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5. Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park

Pinson Mounds is 40 miles southwest of the park right outside of Jackson.  If you’re visiting Natchez Trace, it’s worth your time to check out this park. It is home to the 70’ Sauls Mound and at least 14 other mounds. It is the largest collection of Native American Middle Woodland Period mounds in the United States. The park does a great job of telling the story of the Middle Woodland Period, and hosts an event in September called “Archaeofest” that focuses on archaeology and Native American culture.

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About the author

Josh Gibson