Tour Length: 7-Days Cycling/6-Nights Lodging, or 5-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging
Detailed itinerary available here.
7-Day Tour Total Miles: 300 to 440 miles, additional mileage options available. (Can I keep up on this tour?)
5-Day Tour Total Miles: 175 miles.
Ability Level: Intermediate (2/3) to Upper Intermediate (3)
7-Day Tour Cost: $2,750 per person. Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more. Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.
5-Day Tour Cost: $1,995 per person. No group discounts offered for this tour. Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.
7-Day Tour Lodging: Includes 6-Nights (subject to change based on availability)
5-Day Tour Lodging: Includes 5-Nights (subject to change based on availability)
Road Bike Rental: Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott CR-1 Pro and Scott Solace carbon road bikes with full Shimano Ultegra components for only $250/week, or $150 for 3 or 4 day tours. Both the CR-1 and Solace models are sub- 17 lb comfortable, high performance bicycles geared for climbing hills. In addition we also have electric bikes available for rental at $375/week. And finally we have a selection of straight bar road bikes and kids bikes in our rental fleet. Just let us know what you need and we can probably find it.
Overall Route Map
Natchez Trace Bike Tour: Itinerary*
*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as an outline as to what to expect on this tour.
Day 0: Arrival in Jackson, MS and Shuttle to Natchez, MS
SUGGESTION: If you have the time, we encourage you to arrive early in Jackson, MS (even a full day before!) and then shuttle to Natchez, MS by early afternoon so that you can have some time to enjoy this small and wonderful town before the start of the tour the following morning. There are dozens of great little shops and eateries along with a many historical sites throughout the town of Natchez.
Day 1: Natchez to Sunken Trace
Our first day of the tour begins at the Hampton Inn & Suites Natchez in Natchez, MS with a meet and greet of guests and guides followed by a short presentation of the week ahead and a brief history of the Natchez Trace. We will fit bikes, load gear into the support vehicle, and then saddle up to ride to the start of the Natchez Trace Parkway’s at southern terminus to begin our week-long journey north.
Today’s route is the lowest mileage of the week so that riders can stretch their legs and get warmed up for the week ahead. At mile marker 10, we will make a short divert from the Trace to view the Emerald Mound Site – an ancient ceremonial mound built by ancestors of the Natchez Indians that dates from the period between 1200 and 1730 A.D.
After Emerald Mound and back on route, riders will soon make another quick divert to Mount Locust Historic Home, one of the oldest surviving structures in Mississippi. While riders take a tour of this house, guides will prepare a gourmet lunch in the parking area. After lunch, we finish the day by meandering our way along the Trace past the small town of Port Gibson, MS (the town General Ulysses S. Grant proclaimed was “too beautiful to burn”) and end the ride at Sunken Trace – a beautifully preserved portion of the centuries old deeply eroded Natchez Trace foot path.
From Sunken Trace we shuttle a short distance to Vicksburg, MS to check into the nearby Anchuca Historic Mansion and Inn. Guests will have time before dinner to stroll this small town or to relax at the inn after the adventures of the day.
Old Warren County Courthouse, Vicksburg, MS
Elevation Profile: 46 mi +2260 ft / -2270 ft
Day 2: Sunken Trace to Ridgeland
This day begins with a hearty breakfast. After breakfast during the shuttle back to the Trace Parkway we will provide a short driving tour around the historic Vicksburg National Military Park. During the morning’s ride we make a stop at the Rocky Springs Site to temporarily trade cycling shoes for walking shoes as we take a short hiking tour of the old Rocky Springs town site and a small portion of the original Old Natchez Trace foot trail.
After our short hiking break, we remount the bikes and continue to thread our way through the dense ancient hardwood forests, past open pastures and cotton fields. At Natchex Trace Parkway mile marker 89, we will make a stop to explore the Clinton Visitor Center where guides will prepare another healthy lunch for riders to refuel. The Center is constructed with period materials and period architectural details including a porch and “dogtrot” and has the look and authentic charm of one of the 19th century farmhouses once located along the Natchez Trace.
After departing the Center, we finish the last miles of our journey along the Ridgeland Multi-Use Path and leave the Trace to check into our lodging for the night in Ridgeland, MS.
Quiet roads await on the Trace
Elevation Profile: 62 mi +2370 ft / -2185 ft
Day 3: Ridgeland to French Camp
On this third day of the tour, our mileage increases yet again, but since this is one of the flatter portions of the Trace, the 81 miles you pedal today will pass by quickly. Departing our hotel, we make our way back to the Trace, though this time we will not ride on the parkway itself, but for the first five miles on the bike path system adjacent to the Trace. Finally back on parkway, one of the highlights of this morning’s portion is the ride along the Ross Barnett Reservoir for about 10 miles.
At mile marker 122, we will make a stop at the Cypress Swamp where a boardwalk trail leads over the murky waters through a tupelo and bald cypress swamp… but make sure to watch for alligators! Also along the way we will pass Kosciusko, Mississippi – the town where Oprah Winfrey was born and lived until age 6.
By the end of the day, we arrive at the French Camp Historic District log-cabin village where riders can relax and enjoy a well deserved authentic Southern meal.
Riding along the Trace
Elevation Profile: 81 mi +1745 ft / -1705 ft
Day 4: French Camp to Tupelo
Today presents the longest day along the Trace, considered the “Queen Stage” due to the distance and challenge of the climbs. However, we will start early and riders will have plenty of time to casually pedal along enjoying the scenery of the Red Clay Hills before settling into the bottomlands near the headwaters of the Big Black River. The miles will seem to zip by along this quiet section of the Trace, with only a few minor hills and minor changes in the uniform surroundings. Just past Houston, Mississippi are the Bynum Mounds – six burial mounds and an associated habitation area built between 100 B.C. and 100 A.D.
Our destination for the evening is Tupelo, Mississippi – birthplace of Elvis Presley – where our lodging, dinner and post-ride relaxation await.
Early morning paceline on the Trace
Elevation Profile: 88 mi +2800 ft / -2890 ft
Day 5: Tupelo to Belmont
After breakfast at the hotel, we pack up and head over to the nearby Elvis Presley Birthplace for a tour of his childhood home and to learn of the humble beginnings of the “King of Rock and Roll”. Afterward we shuttle a short distance back to the Trace and depart from the Parkway Visitor Center to continue our northward journey. Halfway through our ride we make a stop at the Pharr Mounds– a complex of eight dome shaped Tumulus burial mounds built between 100 and 200 A.D.
We then continue our ride to end near Tishomingo State Park and from here we shuttle to our destination at The Belmont Hotel, a restored 1927 Georgian style hotel in Belmont, Mississippi.
One of the many sections of the Sunken Trace
Elevation Profile: 42 mi +2055 ft / -1910 ft
Day 6: Belmont to Meriwether Lewis National Monument
Today is the second longest day of the Trace at 85 miles and reaching the highest point along the entire Trace to 1,100′ above sea level. We start early in order to get out onto the Trace with plenty of sunshine to spare. Shuttling a short distance from Belmont, we begin the riding and the scenery remains world-class, from the wooded ridges to the steep hollows carved by brooks cascading over rocky stream beds. We will pedal across three states today starting from Mississippi, passing through Alabama, and finally ending in Tennessee.
We end the ride at the Meriwether Lewis National Monument and then shuttle to this evenings accommodations. Today’s accomplishments will be well earned!
The Commodore Hotel in Linden, TN
Elevation Profile: 85 mi +3780 ft / -3470 ft
Day 7: Meriwether Lewis National Monument to Double Arch Bridge
The final day of the tour has arrived and we have saved what we think is the best of the Trace for last! Following breakfast we will shuttle a short distance from our lodging to the Meriwether Lewis National Monument. Here while riders check out the monument to a great American explorer, guides will get the bikes ready for the final leg of the Trace.
Riders roll away and soon enjoy the magnificent scenery along the twisty turns and rolling hills on this final section of the Trace. At mile marker 438 you will ride across the gracefully designed Double Arch Bridge and then soon after the bridge, pull into a turnout at the Northern Terminus to end the riding for the week. The tour concludes with 30 mile shuttle back to Nashville, TN.
Grinders Stand at Meriwether Lewis National Monument
Elevation Profile: 53 mi +3830 ft / -3935 ft
NEW FOR 2019: 5-Day Southern Antebellum Tour
This special 5-Day tour explores the deep history of the southern Natchez Trace area and the pre-Civil War era known as the Antebellum South. The daily mileages are lower than typical for a Lizard Head tour, but we take time to explore the area in depth to truly learn its history, both ancient with Native American settlements and up to the start of the Civil War which marked the end of the Antebellum Era. We will visit dozens of historical places while en route and stay in historic lodging each evening. Along the way we will learn about the origins of the “Old Natchez Trace”, a well-traveled footpath that ran over 450 miles from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi.
Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week(9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891
Spring 2019 Natchez Trace Tour Dates:
Autumn 2019 Natchez Trace Tour Dates: