Natchez Trace Parkway | NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY VISITOR CENTER (MP 266)

Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center

Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center

GENERAL INFORMATION

There are a number of places along the Natchez Trace Parkway where you can pick up a park brochure and ask a few questions, but the official Visitor Center is at Mile Post 266 near Tupelo, Mississippi. It would be nice to have full scale visitor centers at the beginning, middle, and end of the Parkway, but most likely the one here at Tupelo is as good as it will ever get.

OPERATING HOURS

The Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center is open daily from 9 AM to 4:30 PM except when closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Keep in mind that times can always change, so before making travel plans be sure to get the current schedule on the National Park Service’s official Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the Natchez Trace Parkway.

AMENITIES

  • Ranger-staffed information desk where you can pick up a brochure and map of the Natchez Trace Parkway
  • Book and souvenir store
  • Park film
  • Natchez Trace Museum
  • Restrooms
Information desk and gift store at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center

Information desk and gift store at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center

PARK FILM

A 15-minute film about the Natchez Trace is shown on demand in the Visitor Center’s auditorium. It covers the Trace from the time the Europeans came into the picture up through the creation of the Natchez Trace Parkway. The film it is suitable for all ages.

NATCHEZ TRACE MUSEUM

Exhibit area at the Natchez Trace Museum inside the Visitor Center near Tupelo

Exhibit area at the Natchez Trace Museum inside the Visitor Center near Tupelo

Take some time to browse through the modern, interactive, and intellectually engaging exhibits of the Natchez Trace Museum. Along with information panels that cover the entire timeline of the Trace starting in prehistoric times up through how it became a National Park, there are plenty of videos, including one exhibit where you can watch fifteen different short films on various topics. The information covered is different from what you will see in the park film. With each one running at least two minutes, you could spend a half hour at this exhibit alone.

While most of the exhibits consist of information panels, there are two cases of artifacts on display: one filled with Indian-related items and the other with the typical gear used by the Kaintucks. Kaintuck was the nickname given to the boatmen who floated down the Mississippi with their cargo and then walked back home along the Natchez Trace. Since steam power had not been invented, the boats could not travel upstream against the current. Many of these men were from Kentucky, which is where the nickname came from, but it evolved into a moniker for all boatmen, regardless of origin.

Kaintuck exhibit at the Natchez Trace Museum

Kaintuck exhibit at the Natchez Trace Museum

Embedded in various information panels along the wall are three more video screens, each showing a film of about four minutes in length. Topics covered are the Indians who lived along the Trace, the Kaintucks, and the construction of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Including the park film and the previously mentioned videos, you have close to an hour’s worth of videos that you can watch.

Kaintuck information panel with embedded video player

Kaintuck information panel with embedded video player

Outside of the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center are three picnic tables (no grills). Public restrooms are also available.

Picnic area at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center near Tupelo, Mississippi

Picnic area at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center near Tupelo, Mississippi

SCHEDULING YOUR TIME

Most people who stop at the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center just get a brochure, browse the exhibits, and leave. However, you could spend 1.5 to 2 hours if you want to read everything and see all of the videos.

Back to the Top | Next Stop North | Next Stop South


With a few exceptions, use of any photograph on the National Park Planner website requires a paid Royalty Free Editorial Use License or Commercial Use License. See the Photo Usage page for details.
Last updated on December 3, 2021
Share this article