At 444 miles in total length, the Natchez Trace outside of Nashville, TN offers solitude, perfect roads, low to no traffic, and some moderate to hard climbs. I’ve only ever ridden about 80 miles of the Natchez Trace (40 miles out and back). To me, though, that is the most dynamic part of this long national park road, a designation it received because it was used by “American Indians, European settlers, soldiers, and future presidents,” according to the National Park Service website.
You can, if you so choose, ride the whole 444 miles of the Natchez Trace, which terminates in Natchez, Mississippi. But that would require hotel stays or pitching a tent along the route, something that I’ve never done. But if you start your ride outside of Franklin, TN, you’ll be able to experience a good sampling of this road without doing an overnight stay.
Just keep in mind that if you plan to make this an out and back excursion to take food and plenty of water/ sports drink with you. The reason for that is there are only one or two stops along this route where you can get some water and use the restroom.
Being out on the Trace on a weekday in the summer is best because the road will be mostly empty. On the weekends, you’ll see more cars and more bicyclists as this is a favorite destination for local cyclists.
If you are interested in riding the Natchez Trace, you can find lodging in Franklin, TN. It’s the closest town to the Natchez Trace. But you’ll still either need to drive to the starting point of the Trace or ride there, which I have seen some people doing.
However you decide to handle your trip, the Natchez Trace offers an excellent road cycling experience. The best time to go is late March or early in the summer before it gets too hot. Enjoy!!!