The Corps of Discovery When Thomas Jefferson was looking for a strong, bold leader to explore the northwest in search of an all-water connection between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean, he found an eager volunteer in his personal secretary, Meriwether Lewis. Jefferson agreed that Lewis was the man for the job, and on May 14, 1804, the Corps of Discovery left St. Louis. The 2.3 year tour failed to find a continuous waterway to the Pacific, but it succeeded spectacularly in accumulating massive amounts of geographical, cultural, and biological information. This information, though familiar to the resident American Indians and the French and British trappers in the northwest, was previously unknown to scientists. After the Expedition After the expedition returned home, Jefferson rewarded Lewis with the governorship of the Upper Louisiana Territory. As the presidency changed, so did politics. Several of the bills that Lewis submitted to the Department of War for payment were questioned, leaving Lewis personally liable for those bills. Lewis set out from St. Louis (the capital of the Upper Louisiana Territory) toward Washington to defend them. Part of Lewis's route took him along a portion of the Natchez Trace. During the early morning of October 11th, while staying in Grinder's Stand, Lewis died of gunshot wounds. The evidence that exists leads most historians to conclude that Lewis' wounds were self-inflicted, and many who knew Lewis believed he had committed suicide. Some accounts dated 1848 and later suggest that Lewis may have been murdered. The Memorial Meriwether Lewis was buried near Grinder's Stand, and, in 1848, the State of Tennessee erected a memorial to honor him. A simple erect, broken shaft reaches above the stone base, symbolizing a life cut short. The memorial includes several inscriptions, one in Latin. "Immaturus obi; sed tu felicior annos vive meos: Bona Republica! vive tuos." "I died before my time, but thou O great and good Republic, live out my years while you live out your own." To see the Lewis Monument, visit the Meriwether Lewis Site at milepost 385.9 on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Parts of the trail were very maintained. Then there were parts of the trail you had to wonder if it was still the trail. Lots of trees down and found some poison ivy on part of the trail. But overall I enjoyed the hike. Especially the part of the trail close to the water.

Way too much unavoidable poison ivy allowed to grow all over footpath itself.

I made it a mile before turning back. Trails need some attention big trees down everywhere.

This trail needs some maintenance. Trees, big and small, lying across the path were common. The blazes are almost gone and not a bright color. There needs to be some additional signage at intersections of paths to keep you on your planned hike. There are some slippery spots on steep inclines because of rock. Some areas were overgrown and there is a lot of poison ivy out there. This is a nice challenging trail with lots of incline/decline and small streams. Probably underused and underappreciated because of comments like mine. The park is nice and clean, nicest restrooms on that section of the Trace. Just wish the trail also met that standard.

I couldn't complete the loop because of over growth past the creek. Way too much poison ivy grown over a large portion of the trail. I had to turn around and hike up the road to get back to my car. The areas I did hike was beautiful and would have loved to complete the loop. A few large downed trees forced me off the trail and when I had to circle back a newly fallen tree blocked the trail which wasn't there when I first went through.

Great Trail, a bit narrow for 2 dogs at the same time, but quiet and perfect. There were several incline / decline portions along the river - when you take the left and start to decline if you follow the path counterclockwise (go to the right). Otherwise, really decent paths and lots of history.

Beautiful,loved it

One of my favorite areas in Middle Tennessee. A great hike with beautiful scenery and lots of history. Also has a primitive campground here. Close to Fall Hollow and Devil's Backbone.

11 months ago

Beautiful! Take your all trails app with you to keep you on the trail. It was covered in a thick blanket of leaves.

Drove down the Natchez Trace on a beautiful Christmas Day. ( there is a detour 5 miles before the trail) The park is very well kept and the trail is easy to follow. I took the Old Trace to the edge of the park then followed the trail to the camp area and back to the lot I parked in. Really enjoyed the creek along the trail.
This trail is about 1-1/2 hours away, but I would certainly go back to share it with a friend!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Get a map at the park!
We started at the monument down the old trace road. When you get to the four way stop, do NOT turn right! There are several trees across the trail, it is grown over, we lost our way a couple of times, the two hill climbs were on all fours, and had it not been so dry, we would've definitely gotten our feet wet. I'd stay straight for the most lengthy of trails. The full loop is a lot longer than 4.3. It's more like 5.3. The old trace road trail and the trail portions to the west of the park road are easier and maintained. We did not see another hiker the whole time. Listen to the other reviews in warmer weather about ticks. I can see the potential for a great tick attack! The full large loop isn't signed or spray painted at all. Take a map and keep your eyes on!!

Saturday, November 05, 2016