• A curve along the Natchez Trace Parkway with fall colors

    Natchez Trace

    Parkway AL,MS,TN

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  • Short Construction Delays Possible Near Tupelo, MS (milepost 264.4)

    Repairs on a bridge will require one-lane closures of the Parkway for about 1/4 mile near Tupelo. Work is expected to be completed in fall of 2014. Please use caution due to construction traffic around the work area. More »

  • 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?

The Sunken Trace at mile post 41.5 on the Natchez Trace Parkway

The "Sunken Trace" at milepost 41.5 on the Natchez Trace Parkway was caused by thousands of travelers walking over the easily eroded loess soil.