Natchez Trace Parkway | CHICKASAW VILLAGE SITE (MP 261.8)

Chickasaw Village archaeological site on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Chickasaw Village archaeological site on the Natchez Trace Parkway

The Chickasaw Village Site on the Natchez Trace Parkway offers a number of education and exercise opportunities for Parkway visitors.

Chickasaw Indian Information Shelter

A covered shelter houses four information panels and an audio commentary about the history of the Chickasaw Indians. One panel detailing the French-Chickasaw War of 1736 is particularly interesting. As it turns out, the Americans weren’t the first to try and wipe out the Indians, for the French were at it here in the Louisiana Territory long before America was founded. The Chickasaw were allied with the British, while the French joined with the Choctaw in an effort to destroy the Chickasaw nation. This is the only Indian tribe the French were not able to either make friends with or conquer.

Chickasaw Village information shelter

Chickasaw Village information shelter

Chickasaw Village

A Chickasaw village once stood on these grounds. Archaeologists found the remains of three homes and a fort. While the remains are not on display, the sites are ringed with concrete curb, and information signs tell about the structures that were once here.

Cement curb outlines the location of a former structure at the Chickasaw Village site

Cement curb outlines the location of a former structure at the Chickasaw Village site

Chickasaw Village Nature Trail

A .3-mile loop nature trail educates visitors about the plants used by the Indians for medicine and food. The trail begins at the information shelter—look for the “Wild Plants Indians Used” sign and follow the worn dirt path into the woods. The trail comes out of the woods behind the information shelter.

Start of the Chickasaw Village Nature Trail on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Start of the Chickasaw Village Nature Trail on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Along the path are two types of information signs: ones that simply identify a plant, and ones that tell about how the Indians used a particular plant. In either case it is nearly impossible to tell which plant the sign is referring to because a lot of vegetation has grown up in front of the sign since the trail was made. The information is still quite interesting, especially the information on how the plant is used.

Information panel on how Indians used trees and plants in the area

Information panel on how Indians used trees and plants in the area

There is one tricky intersection to be aware of. About halfway around the loop the trail dead ends into a T-intersection and there is no indication as to which way to go—turn right.

The trail is slightly hilly but still easy to hike. The path is generally wide and smooth with no rocks or roots to trip over. Other than the unmarked intersection, it is easy to follow. It takes about 15 minutes to hike the trail and to read the information panels, and there is no reason to hike the trail if you don’t plan on reading and learning something along the way.

Typical terrain of the Chickasaw Village Nature Trail

Typical terrain of the Chickasaw Village Nature Trail

Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail

You can also take a hike on the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail from this location. The Blackland Prairie segment runs approximately six miles from West Jackson Street to the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center near McCullough Road. The Chickasaw Village is located 4 miles from the Visitor Center (north) and 1.5 miles from Jackson Street (south).

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Last updated on December 3, 2021
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