Top Ten Campsites near Nashville and Memphis

Natchez Trace State Park and Forest

Directions: To reach Natchez Traces State Park and Forest from Memphis, take I-40 east to exit 116. Turn south on TN 116 and immediately enter the park.

Fees: Campsites are $14 per night.

Information: Call (901) 968-3742 or visit

The Natchez Trace was a travel and trade route used by Indians and settlers. A western branch of this path that once connected Nashville, Tennessee, and Natchez, Mississippi, passes through the park where today's visitors hike, fish, swim, ride horses, and camp on 48,000 acres of attractive forest. This was once among the most abused land in the state. Subsequent conservation, which began in the 1930's, has rendered the Natchez an inviting destination.

There are 45 miles of hiking trails here traversing woodlands, fields, streams, and shorelines. The Red Leaves Trail offers a backcountry camping experience, with four campsites spread along 20 miles of pathway. Mountain bikers have miles and miles of backcountry roads and paths to pedal. Park stables offer trail rides, too.

The best destination for car campers is along Cub Lake. Two campgrounds, both with hot showers, offer ridgeline camping with gravel pads or spots down in a hollow near the lake on more hilly terrain. Cub Lake is the quietest of the four impoundments in the park, since no motors are allowed. Fishing is popular on all the lakes. There are more developed facilities here, but Natchez is spread out enough so that all park visitors can enjoy the recreation of their choice without detracting from the natural beauty of the area. Come see for yourself.


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