This Is One Of The Lesser-Known Fall Drives In The Southern USA

This Is One Of The Lesser-Known Fall Drives In The Southern USA

Who said road trips are just for summer, while the best time to set off for one is actually in fall? The weather can still be pleasant – you will definitely survive without air conditioning – plus, you can enjoy scenic views of vibrant foliage. 

Feeling tempted? So pack a cozy flannel and a pair of gloves, and let’s explore Natchez Trace Parkway. This beloved drive stretches for 444 miles and will take you through the most secluded regions of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Natchez Trace Parkway once was a trade route used by Native Americans. You can’t trade any goods there today but rather enjoy the golden leaves of maple and hickory trees in the Appalachian plateaus or the foothills of Mississippi.

The best time to take the route is from mid-October to late November. And here are a few stops on the way you shouldn’t miss.

Discover the roads less traveled in Tennessee

Jackson Falls

Sitting in the car can be tiring. So why not stretch a bit on a short hike? Right around mile marker 404.7, about an hour of drive from Nashville, there is a descent down a steep trail. At its end, you will find Jackson Falls. Be careful, the climb can be rather challenging because of the high bluffs and rocks surrounding them.

Another stop you can make is at Metal Ford. It’s located at milepost 382.8, and it’s a place where travelers of Natchez Trace used to cross the Buffalo River. You can hike the trail around it or have lunch at the picturesque picnic area. 

At milepost 375.8 lies the iconic Old Trace Drive. It appears pretty much like it did in the early 1800s and it provides fantastic views of fall colors. Note that as it’s pretty narrow, so you can’t enter the drive with an RV.

Wander through northwest Alabama and Mississippi

Tishomingo State Park

As soon as you cross the state lines to northwest Alabama, there is a bubbly preserve waiting for you. Quite literally. Rock Spring Nature Trail is full of natural springs, woodlands, and is also home to wild beavers. You will find it at milepost 330.2.

About 20 minutes from there towers Freedom Hills Overlook. It provides spectacular views of the surroundings. But be prepared, it’s a bit of a walk to the top as it’s the highest point of Natchez Trace Parkway in Alabama.

Tishomingo State Park is another gem you should stop by on your road trip. With massive rock formations and ferns, it offers a landscape like nowhere else in Mississippi. What’s more, it’s a place of huge historic significance – archaeological excavations confirmed the presence of Paleo Indians already around 7000 B.C. Take in the atmosphere through the 13 miles of hiking trails. And for the best views, make sure you reach the Swinging Bridge.

Last but not least, you can also enjoy a walk in the steps of our ancestors on Sunken Trace. This part of the Old Trace is deeply eroded – that’s where the name comes from. As travelers passed, it gradually became a marked path. Journeying back then wasn’t easy. And the best spot to feel the emotion is probably here.