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Natchez Trace - Is it an interesting drive?
Old 05-01-2015, 10:50 AM   #1
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Natchez Trace - Is it an interesting drive?

Just came across Natchez Trace on Tripadvisor and wonder if I should try this route from New Orleans to Memphis?
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:04 AM   #2
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I can attest to it being a beautiful, slow drive between Nashville & Tupelo. We've done it a couple of times in the fall, and the areas north of the Tennessee border tended to be more eye-catching.

Where do you plan to exit the Trace to get to Memphis? Tupelo, maybe? Or, come all the way to Nashville and then take 40 West the <200 miles to Memphis?
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:25 AM   #3
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I can attest to it being a beautiful, slow drive between Nashville & Tupelo. We've done it a couple of times in the fall, and the areas north of the Tennessee border tended to be more eye-catching.

Where do you plan to exit the Trace to get to Memphis? Tupelo, maybe? Or, come all the way to Nashville and then take 40 West the <200 miles to Memphis?
Not sure yet, we are planning to drive from Los Angeles taking I-10 to New Orleans and then to Memphis and catch I-40 back to California.

While doing research on Tripadvisor someone mentioned Natchez Trace, perhaps we should go to Nashville via Tupelo?
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:46 AM   #4
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It is a fine (but slower way) to travel thru the area. Would I make a major detour to do it? Probably not. By way of comparison, it is leagues away from Blue Ridge Highway as a point of reference, which is worth a considerable detour.
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:46 AM   #5
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Just came across Natchez Trace on Tripadvisor and wonder if I should try this route from New Orleans to Memphis?
The Trace goes along the footpath that was used from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. Goods and services offten went overland, as did soldiers and armamments.

The Natchez Trace is 2 lanes, has a 50 mph speed limit and it's travelers are often radared. From Nashville to Tupelo, the road's pretty, but not knocked out beautiful. You've just got to pay close attention at night for wildife like deer in the road.

The road you're talking about from New Orleans to Memphis would likely be U.S. Hwy 61 through the plantations of the Mississippi River Delta. I would not suggest you consider this route as it's one of the more boring drives in the Southeast. You'd be going through some of the most poverty ridden, almost third world societies in the U.S.
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Old 05-01-2015, 11:53 AM   #6
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Not sure yet, we are planning to drive from Los Angeles taking I-10 to New Orleans and then to Memphis and catch I-40 back to California.

While doing research on Tripadvisor someone mentioned Natchez Trace, perhaps we should go to Nashville via Tupelo?
I have traveled extensively throughout the U.S., and I wouldn't suggest I-10 to New Orleans. It's 900 miles of virtually nothing just to get across Texas. And driving the width of Arizona's no party either.

Last time I drove west to Yuma, Arizona, it was about 850 miles from my house before any interesting scenery on I-40 in Western Oklahoma. And I had no idea that New Mexico was uphill from East to West--all the way to Flagstaff.

Most people today will spend upwards of $200 a day on gasoline and cheap hotels when traveling on the ground. It's very frankly cheaper to fly on Southwest to New Orleans and then rent a car for regional day trips.

There are many scenic places to see in this great country. But I-10 and I-40 (west of Memphis) scenery is seldom very scenic.
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Old 05-01-2015, 12:18 PM   #7
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....By way of comparison, it is leagues away from Blue Ridge Highway as a point of reference, which is worth a considerable detour.
I would agree with this, even (particularly?) in the autumn. If OP and his DW are into civil war battlegrounds, however, the Trace provides some easy access.

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Originally posted by disappointed (OP)
Not sure yet, we are planning to drive from Los Angeles taking I-10 to New Orleans and then to Memphis and catch I-40 back to California.

While doing research on Tripadvisor someone mentioned Natchez Trace, perhaps we should go to Nashville via Tupelo?
Although I may be biased Nashville is worth stopping in for a bit if you are in the area--particularly since your last post indicates a long slow road trip may be in store.
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Old 05-01-2015, 12:50 PM   #8
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What are you doing in Memphis?
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Old 05-01-2015, 02:06 PM   #9
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Just came across Natchez Trace on Tripadvisor and wonder if I should try this route from New Orleans to Memphis?
Watch your speed. National Park Service is notorious for writing speeding tickets on the Trace. It's a Federally policed just like any other national park.
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Old 05-01-2015, 03:38 PM   #10
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Just came across Natchez Trace on Tripadvisor and wonder if I should try this route from New Orleans to Memphis?
I have explored some of the Natchez Trace, from Nashville (went to visit Lewis' grave), and from some section in Alabama (Elvis's birth town - sorry name escapes me).

I thought it was awesome! I don't know if we'll get around to traveling the whole thing, but if I lived closer I would definitely consider it. Especially for spring or fall color.
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Old 05-01-2015, 03:41 PM   #11
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Actually - I love I-10 from El Paso to San Antonio. Extremely lightly travelled, easy fast driving. It's a very well engineered interstate. Quite scenic, IMO, if you enjoy wide open vistas and big skies. A few detours to visit places on the way like the Davis Mountains or Balmorrhea are well worth the stop.
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Old 05-01-2015, 04:11 PM   #12
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We liked it better than the blue ridge parkway!


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Old 05-01-2015, 04:14 PM   #13
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We liked it better than the blue ridge parkway!


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Cool. What time of year? And, generally, why? (We would vote for Blue Ridge because of the mountain scenery; but, we are so close to the upper end of Natchez, we've been on it quite a bit more!)

For OP with the travel route, the Trace would seem to be the logical choice between the two....
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Old 05-01-2015, 04:16 PM   #14
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We liked it better than the blue ridge parkway!
We're driving that next week!

Set Cruise control on 50 mph and enjoy the scenery.

The Natchez Trace is on our list to do in the next couple of years.
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Old 05-01-2015, 04:17 PM   #15
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2013, in October. The leaves were turning. Not sure why the nachos. Was our preference, but I think the drive was just more enjoyable, slower, less winding, more relaxed behind the wheel.


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Old 05-01-2015, 04:19 PM   #16
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Olaf the colors were more pronounced at that time


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Old 05-01-2015, 06:04 PM   #17
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Audrey would have seen Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi, not Alabama. His house was a tiny little shack that they have preserved. Tupelo is a nice growing town.

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Old 05-01-2015, 06:07 PM   #18
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Audrey would have seen Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi, not Alabama. His house was a tiny little shack that they have preserved. Tupelo is a nice growing town.

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Old 05-01-2015, 06:30 PM   #19
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Bicycled the Trace several years ago - Nashville to Nachez. It was one of my least favorite rides. Just seem too straight and not enough scenery change.

In March, we drove to Memphis and Nashville and brought our bikes. Both cities were nice to visit but I really liked Nashville. If you have time, I would recommend it. Although, while I really liked it, I know I was influenced by their good bicycling accommodation. We were able to ride all over including a short ride on the Trace.
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Old 05-01-2015, 07:13 PM   #20
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I hope you didn't ring those cowbells on the Trace. It is much too peaceful for all that noise!

I second the thought that a drive up the Trace from Tupelo to Nashville in the fall or spring, when you aren't in a hurry makes for a nice weekend. I've never driven south towards Natchez. I'll have to do that one time when we visit my wife's family.
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