• 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 »

  • Ammendments to the Superintendent's Compendium

    Launching, landing or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of the Natchez Trace Parkway is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent. More »

Kaintucks

Flatboats could carry heavy loads in shallow water.

Flatboats were ideal for carrying heavy loads down rivers.  Even the Ohio and Mississippi rivers could be shallow in places during dryer seasons.

NPS Image

Although they were known as "Kaintucks," these boatmen floated merchandise down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers from states throughout the Ohio River valley. Agricultural goods, coal, and livestock were among the many products that were floated to markets in Natchez and New Orleans. Once the goods on the boats were sold, the boats were often dismantled and sold as lumber. Before the age of the steamboat, Kaintucks had little use for these flatboats once they reached their destinations.

From Natchez, the boatmen would begin the long walk home. They traveled the Natchez Trace to Nashville, Tennessee. From there, they used more established roads to take them to their homes further north and east. Research indicates that more than 10,000 Kaintucks traveled the Old Trace in the year 1810 alone. The 500 mile trip on foot typically took about 35 days. Lucky travelers that rode horses could expect to cover it in 20 to 25 days.

Did You Know?

Double arch bridge at mile post 438 on the Natchez Trace Parkway

The double arch bridge at milepost 438 on the Natchez Trace Parkway was completed in 1994 and received the Presidential Award for Design Excellence in 1995 for its innovative design. The bridge rises 155 feet above the valley and eliminates the need for spandrel columns.