Cyclists on the Natchez Trace near Clinton.
hike was from the northern terminus of the Rocky Springs section to mile post 79 – a little under 20 miles (32.2 km). But first, a short recap of last night.

The Rocky Springs campground was reasonably full. Strangely, while the bathrooms were open, there were no lights or soap. There were a lot of bugs out, but nothing was biting us or following us into our tent or the car. (Phew!) They were just flying near our headlamps and campground lamp. Interestingly, the entire campground grew really quiet around 8:30 p.m. Usually it’s more like 10 p.m.

Ed and I both slept well. We heard a wolf or coyote twice, but I can’t recall which animal because I was half-asleep when I heard the howl or yip. We were up and out around 8 a.m. And then we had a surprise.

Rocky Springs Trail Closure

With our shuttling system, we needed to drop one car at the northern end of the Rocky Springs trail segment. We’d noticed a kiosk/sign there yesterday, but I didn’t check it out because it was titled “Natchez Trace Parkway.” I assumed it had info only about the parkway.

Today, for whatever reason, I meandered over. In one corner there was a National Scenic Trail map with an overlay on the section we tried to hike yesterday, noting the trail was closed due to storm damage and erosion.

I messaged the Natchez Trace Parkway, noting that there were ribbons guiding hikers through the woods, plus a sign near an eroded area telling hikers to be careful. They really should have a sign at the trailhead saying the trail is closed, or more hikers like us will go in and get lost! Also, the kiosk title should be Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail. They’re looking into it.

Yet I’ll be the first to admit that I erred, too. I’d checked the trail page a few weeks ago for updates on closures. But I didn’t recheck closer to our departure date. Note to self: Check the day before you leave!

The Hike to the Clinton AreaSmall cemetery with old tombstones on the Natchez Trace near Clinton

Today was tough. I’m not gonna lie. The temperature hit about 86 F. (30 C.), with soaring humidity. It was supposed to be cloudy all day, as a huge thunderstorm is expected at the end of the day. But the sun came out a lot, so it was difficult. Today was also all road-walking, so a lot of open sun. Still, we persevered.

We saw interpretive sites about the Lower Choctaw Boundary, Dean Stand and the Battle of Raymond, which I won’t explain here. Suffice it to say, there is so much interesting history about the U.S., as young as we are. And the Natchez Trace was a VERY important part of our early history. I wish I’d learned more about it when I was young. Vicksburg is also nearby, and also is a historic site. I wish I had time to take a day or two and explore that city. Alas, I don’t. Maybe someday …

Tonight we’re staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Clinton. It’s very close to the parkway, is clean and has laundry facilities!


Natchez Trace Miles Today: 20.1 (32.3 km)
NT Miles Overall: 79 (127.1 km)
NT Miles To Go: 316.9 (510 km)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (among regular links) to products I own and like, or which I think you might like. This means that, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

A good book on the Natchez Trace is Nashville to New Orleans Road Tripa Moon guide by Meg Littman that includes info on the Trace.

Book your stay at the Holiday Inn Express Clinton here!

©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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