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Drive the Tennessee Leg of the Natchez Trace Parkway

Situated in the bottom corner pocket of the Tennessee and Alabama border, Wayne County is the second largest region in Tennessee and also the least populated, making it an ideal place to get away from it all. Dotted with pastoral farmland and home to vast hardwood forests as it snakes down to the Gulf, the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444-mile national park route that stretches from Nashville to Natchez, Miss. runs right through the heart of Wayne County.


Photo: Odinn Media


Planning to drive the Tennessee section of the Natchez Trace Parkway? Here's what to expect.


Collinwood


The city of Collinwood is found along this section of the parkway, the largest in this rural area, so you’ll have a handful of options for food and shopping to break up your journey.


Photo: Odinn Media


An hour off the Natchez Trace in Wildwood is The Pin Oak Lodge at Natchez State Park. With 37 rooms and a location on 48,000 acres of woodland, the lodge is equipped with a restaurant open on the weekends, kayak and paddleboard rentals for nearby Pinoak Lake and an unparalleled location in the wildlands of Tennessee.


If you’re coming from the north into Wayne County, the Meriwether Lewis Monument at Grinder’s Stand is one of the key stops along the Natchez Trace Parkway. The monument, built in 1848 and containing Meriwether Lewis’ grave, remains one of the largest structures along the entire Trace. Visitors can explore the interpretive exhibits, stroll the Pioneer Cemetery, walk the paved trails and even stay overnight in the 32 site primitive campground (no water, electricity or dump stations).


Photo: Odinn Media


Clifton


If a small town along the Tennessee River is more your speed, the town of Clifton is such a spot to deviate from the Natchez Trace while you’re visiting the area. With a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at Ross Creek Landing that offers 18 holes for $45 on weekends and vacation rentals both around the course and in restored Victorian B&Bs, this gem of a community is a lovely place to unplug.


Waynesboro


Waynesboro, the county seat, is a classic Tennessee small town with a focus on horse-themed activities like the Buffalo River Trail Ride or Crazy Horse canoe rentals. Camping and cabin rentals are available throughout the city and along the river at various locations. Natural Bridge in Waynesboro is an impressive limestone cave and waterfall complex that is only open on Sundays to the general public from 10am to 4pm because it is located on land operated by Tennessee Fitness Spa, a wellness retreat, the rest of the week. Visitors need to be 16 years or older to visit, and entrance is free.


Photo: Odinn Media


Start here for more ideas on what to do in Wayne County, Tennessee.

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