Bicycling the Natchez Trace

Cyclist Comments - Reviews about the Natchez Trace

Have you bicycled on the Natchez Trace Parkway? We invite you to share your experience with other cyclists who are considering biking the Trace.

Read reviews about cycling the Natchez Trace Parkway. Post your comments here using either your Facebook account or the comment form at the bottom of the page.

A group of 4 "seniors" (from MD, OH, MS) rode the 442 miles from Nashville to Natchez Oct. 15-23, 2016. The entire experience exceeded our expectations in every aspect of the trip! Randy's help planning the itinerary and resources available on the website were invaluable. Fortunately, we had a dedicated support vehicle and 2 spouses that were not riding that had a great time on the trip too and were able to provide the flexibility we needed to stay in a few wonderful state parks and help provide mechanical support. We debated on which way to go (N to S or S to N) but in the end, we were glad we did the hills at the northern end during the first part of the trip, which allowed us to finish the trip a day early as we were able to put more miles per day on the flats further south. Yes, there were headwinds, but all of us agreed it was worth it to do the hills first. None of us had ridden 50+ miles per day more than 4 days in a row, but by the end we felt stronger than when we started! We also decided to do the trip as a fundraiser for K9s for Warriors, which made it more enjoyable for us and gave others a reason to follow us!! If you're thinking about it - do it!!!

Barbara Reed - Long Beach, MS
October 2016

My friend Gil and I spent a week biking from Nashville to a family reunion in Jackson. It was hot, mid-90s and humid. Randy's reservation service was a great help. B and Bs were varied, but hosts unfailingly hospitable. Because the Trace goes through some fairly deserted areas, good planning--food, water, accommodations--is essential. But good for biking without much of a threat from the big two--dogs and cars--the Trace can't be beat.

Bill Williamson, Louisville, KY
Aug/Sep 2015

We loved it! The weather in May was amenable, even with the day of warm rain. Randy is the best organizer. He arranged all our stays and each was special and appreciated. Up north, folks don't know about the beautiful Trace but we're spreading the word. GREAT trip!!!

Wendi & Eli, Philadelphia, PA
May 2015

The Natchez Trace Parkway was by far the highlight of my solo ride from Austin, TX to Boston, MA. See my journal and photos at www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/12631 And many thanks to Randy at NatchezTraceTravel.com.

Jason Ford - El Cajon, CA
April 2015

Clara the "Bent" goes on a tour of the Natchez Trace

Hi there. My name is Clara and I am a Recumbent Bicycle otherwise known as a "Bent" as apposed to my cousins the "UpRights". Officially, I'm a Tour EZ Bent but I just like to be known as Clara. I'm writing this because my Friend Beast, "Ugly Bag of Mostly Water" (Star Trek reference) Mike has decided not to write a blog this trip.

Hi there, Mike aka. Motor speaking. Clara says Hi as well but has decided to let me finish up the tale this time. She's currently resting in her car port having a long snooze until the next ride comes up. I'd like to say that the Natchez Trace is a great place to ride a bicycle and tour. As Clara pointed out, its all one road, traffic is minimal and the accommodations are great. I'd like to thank Randy at Natchez Trace Bed and Breakfast Reservation Service for doing such an excellent job setting up our trip. All of the B&B's were awesome and everything went off without a hitch. If you are thinking about touring the Trace in any way, I highly recommend using Randy and you won't be disappointed. Over the last year, I've come to fully embrace the life of bicycle touring. It's simplistic life style integrated with physical and mental challenges make me feel alive. So many sights to see and so many people with the most interesting stories can be yours if you just take the time to see and listen. When averaging 11 mph on the road, time is not an issue not to mention that time just seems to slow to a much more manageable pace.

Read Clara's journal - Clara Tours The Trace on CrazyGuyOnABike.com

Clara and Mike McGhee, Jasper, GA
May 2015

I biked from Natchez to Nashville over a 7 day period with 6 friends from all over the US. We loved the history of the area and were so pleased with the outstanding road conditions. My favorite part was meeting our B & B hosts/hostesses. We were welcomed warmly by all of our B&B hosts/hostesses and our nutritious, early morning breakfasts energized our long rides. Aren't we fortunate to have this beautiful national parkway!

Connie, Menomonee Falls, WI
May 2015

Randy was our guardian angel, we rode the Trace the last week of February and ran into snow and road closures - he followed our progress, gave us weather updates and changed reservations-truely way above the call of duty. Trace is a gentle ride. French Camp and Wichahpi Commemorative Stone Wall were highlights. All of the B&Bs were great and the hosts extremely nice our favorites were-Mamie's Cottage and French Camp (since it was snowing outside), Bridges Hall sent us on our way with treats and at Fall Hollow listened to stories from the owner as long as I could stay awake-never had so many good breakfasts in one week.

Michael, San Francisco, CA
February 2015

Randy, We had a great time. All our hosts were friendly and helpful. We really appreciate your help in making the trip a great experience. We will certainly recommend your service. You have really taken a lot of time and effort to evaluate the hosts and plan routes to get to lodging off the trace. We found your recommendations for lunches helpful. Thank You.

Larry, Russellville, AR
April 2015

Just finished a fantastic trip. Many thanks to Randy and the fine folks at the B&B's: Fall Hallow, Bear Creek, and Buffalo River. They were all very welcoming and made sure I had a great stay. Bill and Kathy from Fall Hallow and Donna from Buffalo River even drove me to town to get dinner. Christi from Bear Creek called to see if I needed anything. Randy helped with logistics, sent maps and lunch rec's and checked in with me along the way. Trace Bikes got me set up on decent Trek-no carbon needed because there wasn't a bump on the entire road. I flew to Nashville and rode an out and back. I highly recommend the trip and am really glad I had Randy plan it! THANKS, Paul

Paul Wild, Minneapolis, MN
April 2015

I called Randy about a week before my vacation and asked him to help me arrange a solo cycling trip on the Trace. I have minimal cycling experience. I could not have pulled this off without Randy and the support of his B&B partners (I learned that innkeepers will even come and pick you up if you have problems on the Trace.) along the way. While I've traveled extensively in the US and internationally, I can't recall experiencing this much warmth and openness as I felt along the Trace. I rented a road bike at Indian Cycle in Jackson, took Downtown Karla Brown's shuttle to Natchez then rode to Tupelo before driving back to Jackson. The itinerary worked well considering that I was looking for a lot of nature and solitude. As a novice cyclist, I found the MS Trace to have more rolling hills than anticipated. In case the temperature drops into the low 30s, Claude Julian's in Kosciusko will deliver thermals to French Camp!

David Risk, New Hope, PA
November 2014

It is a beautiful ride. Late October is a great time with beautiful weather (at least it was perfect for me). I rode from Natchez to Jackson. The car drivers were sparse and courteous until I got to Clinton/Jackson area then there was more car traffic and a few going over 50 mph and passing headed right for me! By then I was just about done. I didn't see a single police car the entire time I rode which was only 6.5 hours for the 100 miles. Would like to see more police on the Trace. It was a wonderful experience which I would definitely do again.

Debra B., Covington, LA
October 2014

We traveled the Natchez Trace from Nashville, TN to Natchez, MS with 4 people. On our trip we did an unsupported credit card card ride. Here are some helpful hints. -Save and review all the information that Randy provides about logistics before departure. We failed to put some of the meal information in our notes. -Anytime you can pack sandwiches and carry ice do so. -If you stay in the Home2Suties by Hilton in Ridgeland MS there is a bike path all the way to the hotel from the trace. -If the Scenic point is not right off the Parkway, I doubt you are going to see it. Stop at MM 338 to see the Stone Talker. -Buy the Dinner at Bridges Hall Manor B&B. -Get the BLT at French Camp's Council House Cafe. -A new shuttle service is available in Natchez, MS  e were the first use them to get back to Nashville - Downtown Karla Brown, LLC

Thanks to Randy for checking on us along the way.

Patrick Dozier, Manassas, VA
September 29-October 7 2014

We had a wonderful experience cycling the Natchez Trace in early October 2013. Randy made a HUGE difference to us! The places he booked along the way were perfect, and Randy was not only very responsive if we had any question along the way, he checked on us, too! We plan to go back this year and will definitely count on Randy to help us plan another perfect cycling vacation. Thank you, Randy!

Vickie, Raleigh, NC
October 2013

My friend Tom and I bicycled the Trace with Randy helping to organize most of the accommodations. Randy provided excellent service; which included maps w/directions how to pedal to accommodations and a listing of where to find markets and restaurants. The owners and operators of the motels, hotels, and B&Bs were great ... especially Bill and Kathy at Fall Hollow. The Trace itself is a bicycler's dream with excellent road surface, scenery, wildlife, and historical sites! Thanks again Randy, innkeepers, and the National Park Service!

Sam, Minneapolis, MN
October 2013

My wife and I biked the entire Trace from North to South, unsupported, in 7 1/2 days. Randy made the trip easy, planning and booking our B&Bs and providing valuable information for finding meals and rest stops. With Randy, you can do the ride on your own about as easily as booking with a tour company.

Joel Calabrese, Venice, FL
October 2013

Great trip from Nashville to Belmont, MS thanks to Randy and the people at Fall Hollow Campground/B&B, Miss Monetta's, and Belmont Hotel.

Mary, Fowlerville, MI
July 2013

Ten of us cycled the NTP from Nashville to Natchez, and Randy Fought from this site was extremely helpful. When I started planning our trip I hadn't a clue! Randy gave us important advice about the terrain and the available amenities along the trace; after discussing the plan with him I changed it based on his input (some of our longer days had been planned in the hilliest part of the ride). When we could not get accommodations in Tupelo, we changed the plan again and added yet another wonderful B&B to our itinerary. We enjoyed our trip immensely, even finding something to do on the rainy day in Tupelo, MS! Everyone in our group was more than satisfied with the accommodations Randy recommended, and we all agree it was the best small-group bike trip we have taken!

Linda and Bill, Grosse Ile, MI
May 2013

We spent 11 days bicycling the entire trace and this was a perfect pace for us. This amounted to between 25 and 60 miles per day. It snowed on us the first day but we enjoyed every day. Randy did a perfect job of planning for us and we greatly enjoyed the B&B's

Tim Hayes, Cambridge, OH
March/April 2013

My ladyfriend (Delmer) and I just completed the Natchez Trace on April 7th, 2013. We did this on Huffy single-speed bikes from Wal-Mart and we didn't have a single bike problem the whole trip. The trip was done in three sections: Natchez to Tupelo (262 miles), Tupelo to Ala/Tn State line (80 miles), and just completed from Ala/Tn State line to Nashville (100 miles). I'm 65 years old and this trip was on my bucket list. We wanted to do the whole trip on an "old-fashioned" bike just to see if we could. We had a great time, saw some beautiful country and met some great people along the way. We highly recommend doing the Trace on a single-speed bike!

Chet Melton, Holcomb, MS
April 2013

Randy,

In the flurry of getting back home I'm not sure I ever stopped long enough to say thank you. So, thank you for setting up a great cycling trip for me down the Natchez Trace back at the beginning of October. The whole adventure went off really without so much as a flat tire. With six days on the road, the weather was about as perfect as I could have hoped for. It rained on me the last two hours of Sunday, and again on Monday, but that was my shortest distance day, so I had little to complain about. Your maps and suggestions for lunch spots were extremely helpful. I was able to lay out each day knowing where to take breaks.

The B&Bs you reserved for me worked great. When I had particularly long days, several of the B&B owners called me on my cell to check in on my progress. It was nice to know someone was expecting me to finish my ride each day. Also your suggestion to have my bike packed and shipped back home by Western Auto in Natchez was superb. Chris at WA took care of it for me, and I drove an Enterprise rent-a-car up to Jackson to catch my flight back home. The plane out of Jackson was too small to accept a bike so shipping the bike was a great solution.

So thanks again all your efforts putting my trip together. I can now check another big one off my bucket list.

Ambrose Kalmbach, Charlotte, NC
October 2012

My husband and I biked The Trace from Nashville to Natchez. You planned the trip for us and every detail was perfect. Every B&B at which we stayed was wonderful and our hosts could not have been more welcoming. We certainly experienced southern hospitality. The Trace itself was fantastic. The road is in excellent condition. There was very little traffic. Your instructions for finding lunches and snacks were perfect and very helpful. Thank you for helping us enjoy a wonderful experience.

Nancy McCarthy and Paul Creamer, North Andover, MA
October 2012

I just want to thank you for all your help with our Natchez Trace bike trip. Larry and I finished the trip at about noon on Monday, October 22. We had such a successful trip and could never have done it without you. We enjoyed every B&B in which we stayed. They each were unique and had their own personality. It made the trip so interesting getting the tastes of the different areas.

We heard so many people comment about you. There was not a single person we spoke with, either cyclist or host, that did not heap praise on you about your efficiency and great service. We highly recommend you and your service to anyone interested in traveling all or part of the Natchez Trace.

Also, we want to tell you about Trace Bikes in Nashville. They were so helpful. When we got to the end of the Trace, they stored our bikes for us while we went back to Natchez to get our car. They also let my nephew leave his car keys with them so we had a car at the end.

Larry & Janet Gordon, Hustonville, KY
October 2012

We were three women from Texas having the best time of our life biking the Natchez Trace. I have had a lot of adventures over my 54 years of life but this was by far the best. Randy was the best. His itinerary was perfect. You never knew what was around the next mile marker but, Randy made sure it would be perfect. We can not wait until next year when we plan on doing it all over again.

Charlotte Tomkavits, New Waverly, TX
May 2011

I biked the trace solo in 6 days from south to north. What a great experience with some excellent weather. My favorite parts were in northern Alabama and Tennessee. The total mileage with stops was around 515 miles. During the week I created a blog located at this site: dbreisch.wordpress.com

Dan Breisch, Allentown, PA
May 2012

We divided our trip over two years, the first year we biked from to the middle and back. The next trip was from the middle to Natchez (and further south to Saint Francisville, LA) and back. The Natchez Trace was wonderful and we really appreciated Randy's help with the planning.

Karen Iseminger, Indianapolis, IN
2011 and 2012

I fulfilled one of my bucket list items at age 69 by bicycling the whole Trace solo (my wife drove) in mid April 2012 - 8 days comfortably. We used the Natchez Trace B&B Reservation Service for seven B&B's, and we went off the Trace to the historic Hotel Chester in Starkville, MS for a couple of nights. The B&B's were super overall - interesting folks, interesting towns, good accommodations (we were always the only folks there), two memorable breakfasts (French Camp and Mamie's Cottage). However, some of them were only B's rather than B&B's since they didn't provide breakfast - but that is clear when you sign up for them.

The Trace is a bicycler's dream: 98% smooth, continuous (no stop signs or traffic lights), lightly traveled (80% of the time I was alone for miles; rode out in the middle of the road). Most of the time you ride in a tunnel of trees. You see no buildings - only some far off farm houses very infrequently. At picnic sites we came upon a few other cyclists who were happy to relate their Natchez Trace stories, and only 11 miles out of the Nashville end I met a 68 year old chap who was in his 17th (and last) day of running the Trace from Natchez to Nashville (a marathon a day for 17 days).

My 7th day of cycling was in a heavy rain storm during which time I did the section near Jackson/Clinton, MS that is closed to traffic. CAUTION ABOUT THE DETOUR SECTION: If you are bicycling southward, get off of the bike path and onto the Trace at the point where there is a barricade for cars. Otherwise, you will end up at the end of the bike path with no access to the Trace (unless you climb up through the bushes and possibly mud and creeks).

The southern half of the Trace is primarily 1-4% up then 1-4% down - with a very infrequently 5-8% grade. That translates into cranking essentially all of the time - little coasting. I stayed in my front big chain ring for that 220 miles. There are some honest hills up in the northernmost 100 miles. Be sure to utilize all of the information on the Natchez Trace B&B Reservation Service web site. You never know when you will need to know the next cross road or the nearest gas and food. Most of the information about the historical sites along the Trace seems to be on this web site as well (much of it seems to be quite similar to the plaques and markers at the sites themselves)

DON'T MISS: The Loveless Cafe (next to the Trace Bicycle Shop, the shop to which I mailed my bike) at the north end of the Trace, The Old Country Store (serves lunch) in Lorman, MS (a bit off the Trace near MilePost 30), the new pie shop on the town square in Columbia, TN (about 25 miles off of the Trace), OBY's oyster poboys in Starkville, MS (about 30 miles off of the Trace), the light and airy blueberry pancakes at Mamie's B&B in Raymond, MS, the wonderful breakfast at the French Camp B&B, Tom Hendrix and his mortarless longest stone wall east of the Trace on County Road 8 near Mile Post 338, the church in Port Gibson, MS with the steeple consisting of a finger pointing to the sky, and the well-marked military park in Vicksburg, MS (of the siege and battle during the American Civil War) where you can get some real hills!

April saw some severe weather along the Trace in 2010 and 2011, but during this mid-April 2012 trip I encountered (heavy) rain only one day. You will surely see some rain. There were no bugs out, but the second day I did encounter a lot of pollen (and hacked and gagged most of the day). Other than birds, I saw little wildlife - two armadillos (one dead), a fox (?), and two snakes (one dead). When the wind didn't blot out sounds I heard many birds, and I could usually hear motor vehicle tires a half mile away (even a Preis makes tire noise!). I saw quite a few RVs and 5th wheel vehicles heading north (opposite of my direction), but very few heading south (in my direction). I did have a bit of wind against me often, but it wasn't very intrusive. I hope to do this trip again!

Brooks Reid, San Marcos, CA
April 2012

Three of us cycled the entire trace October 2011 logging 490 miles (considering miles off/onto the trace for lunch, lodging, cycling shops) over six days. There are a number of GREAT places for lunch just off the parkway. Smalll mom/pops unique and worth the side trip. Randy was a huge help in trip planning especially the three B&Bs we stayed in, maps and "inside" info regarding the trace. Hats off to him for the superb service he provides. The innkeepers treated us like royalty and like the only ones at the establishment. Overall great ride / trip getting away from the daily grind of a big city to a rural area loaded with beautiful scenery, friendly people, good food and miles of safe cycling. Although The Trace is nothing like the Blue Ridge or Skyline Parkways (you must do them as well but BE PREPARED), it is a MUST do for any cyclist. Put it on your bucket list then call or email Randy to make it happen!

Randall Price, Atlanta, Georgia
October 2011

The Trace was all that it was advertised to be, an outstanding bike trail with smooth surfaces, limited traffic, courteous drivers, beautiful scenery, a gained sense of awe, respect and appreciation for the travails of those early sojourners, lovely vistas, grinding headwinds, flying tailwinds, rolling hills, marvelously long stretches of flat interspersed with challenging climbs, a menagerie of animals, oodles of Southern Hospitality, glances of a long gone era, wonderful downhill glides, an abundance of sunny days, a plethora of super friendly "Faux bikers", delicious food, and endless number of interesting sights. All told, in 10 days of glorious riding, we covered over 600 miles.

Barrie Bentley
March 2010

 

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