• A curve along the Natchez Trace Parkway with fall colors

    Natchez Trace

    Parkway AL,MS,TN

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Portion of National Scenic Trail Near Tupelo Closed to Hikers

    Part of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (NOT the Parkway) near Tupelo, MS, has been closed until 2015 due to construction under Tupelo's Major Thoroughfare Construction Project. Parkway travelers may expect delays, but no detours are expected. More »

Choctaw

 
Map showing the Natchez Trace running through the Choctaw and Chickasaw lands.

Before the United States expanded beyond the Mississippi River, the land that would become Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee was known as the Southwest.  This map shows the Old Natchez Trace passing through Choctaw and Chickasaw lands.

NPS image

The Choctaw were the largest tribe along the Old Trace and share a history with it that continues to this day. Historically, when travelers left Natchez, they knew they would soon be passing the through the heart of Choctaw territory. The Choctaw were known to be excellent farmers and often provided food to early Europeans in the area. Politically, the Choctaw allied with the French and against the Chickasaw and English during the many military conflicts that arose from the 1720s until American Independence in 1783. As the United States expanded westward, pressure mounted to secure land from the Choctaw for U.S. settlement. Choctaw lands continued to shrink through a series of land cession treaties. In 1830, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek forcibly removed most Choctaw to land west of the Mississippi River, to the present state of Oklahoma. Some Choctaw remained in Mississippi, some returned, and today are known as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, located in Choctaw, Mississippi, near Philadelphia, approximately 25 miles east of the Parkway at Milepost 160.

 
1822 map of Mississippi that shows young counties, Choctaw and Chickasaw lands, and the Natchez Trace.
In this 1822 map of Mississippi, the Choctaw and Chickasaw lands are being replaced by new counties. The large yellow area shows the Choctaw holdings and the large light blue area in the northeast shows the Chickasaw land. A close inspection shows a faint line, indicated by red arrows, that is the Natchez Trace.
Miss. Historical Society

Did You Know?

Meriwether Lewis Monument, Natchez Trace Parkway, Tennessee

Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, was governor of the Upper Louisiana Territory when he died on the Natchez Trace in 1809, at Grinder's Stand in Tennessee. A monument was erected in his honor in 1848 and can be seen along the Natchez Trace Parkway today.