Natchez Trace National Parkway

Natchez Trace Parkway

A sunken path in the woods, bordered by tall trees.

NPS Photo

Quick Facts

Location:
Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi
Significance:
As the main artery of westward expansion and the road to the Battle of New Orleans, the Natchez Trace was integral to the War of 1812.
Designation:
National Parkway, National Scenic Trail
OPEN TO PUBLIC:
No

First a trail for migrating wildlife, then a foot path traveled by Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes, and finally the artery of American westward expansion, the Natchez Trace links over 400 miles of frontier settlements. 

As American settlement edged into the western frontier in the first years of the republic, the Natchez Trace connected Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi and the commerce of the Mississippi River. When America chose to go to war in 1812, it was partially in response to the concerns of settlers along the trace who feared British influence in the West and the resistance of Native peoples to continued American expansion. 

By the closing months of the War of 1812, thousands of volunteers from Kentucky and Tennessee travled down the Mississippi River and along the Natchez Trace to assemble in New Orleans, where the last major battle of the War of 1812 resulted in an overwhelming American victory, solidifying American claims to unhindered westward expansion - what would eventually be termed "Manifest Destiny."