Natchez Trace Parkway
The Natchez Trace Parkway is designed to encourage leisurely exploration of the history and beauty of Old Southwest. Here are a few pointers to make your trip more enjoyable.
Regulations and Safety
Obey posted speed limits. Be alert for animals on the Parkway. Avoid fatigue by stopping often and taking walks.
· Hunting is prohibited.
· Any firearm that is prohibited by state or federal law is prohibited on the Parkway.
· Non-recreational hauling is prohibited.
· All commercial vehicles are prohibited.
· Trucks over one ton capacity are prohibited.
· Camping is allowed only in designated areas.
· All natural, historical, and archeological objects are protected by federal law.
· Build fires only in fire rings or grills.
· Poison ivy, fire ants, and venomous snakes are found in the three-state area. Be alert when walking.
· Dogs are permitted in outdoor areas on a leash no longer than six feet. Please clean up after your pet. Service animals only in buildings.
· Construction and paving projects are ongoing.
Information about detours can be found at www.nps.gov/natr or
No Hunter parking permitted.
These regulations are excerpts from the Alabama Game and Fish Regulations book. For more
information, please consult your copy.
Daily Creel, Possession, and Size Limits on Game Fish
Possession of certain animal species, including fish, is illegal in Alabama, as is the release of bias or stocking of fish, snails, mussels or crayfish. See 220-2-26 and 220-2-92 of your Alabama Game and Fish Regulations book for more information.
From 220-2-35 Daily Creel Limits, Possession Limits and Size Limits on Game Fish.
The creel and possession limits for fish in all public waters of the State, except as otherwise provided for certain State and Federally owned and /or managed fishing lakes and ponds, (also see difference for the Chattahoochee River and its impoundments such as Eufaula and West Point) shall be as follows:
Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass, and Redeye or Coosa Bass or Combinations
No more than five (5)of the bass daily creel of 10 may, be smallmouth bass. See Alabama Game and Fish regulations book for specific limitations.
See Alabama Game and Fish regulations book for site specific limitations.
Saltwater Striped Bass and Hybrid or Combinations
See Alabama Game and Fish regulations book for site specific limitations.
It is illegal to posses any crappie less than nine(9) inches in total length taken from Alabama public waters. See Alabama Game and Fish regulations book for exceptions.
It is illegal to posses more tan on (1) catches over 34 inches in total length taken from Alabama public watered.See Alabama Game and Fish regulations book for exceptions. No blue catfish or flathead catfish over 34 inches in total length may be transported live beyond the boundaries of this state unless permitted in writing by the Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. See Alabama Game and Fish regulations book for exceptions. There is no limit on smaller catfish taken by legal means.
220-2-894: It shall be illegal to take or attempt to take paddlefish (spoonbill) form all public waters of Alabama by any method or to posses paddlefish (spoonbill) or any part of a paddlefish (spoonbill). Any paddlefish (spoonbill) accidentally captured shall be immediately returned to the waters form whence it came. See Alabama Game and Fish regulations book for exceptions.
220-2-26, Section (4); All species of sturgeon are hereby declared to be protected fish within the State and any person who shall catch a sturgeon shall immediately return it to the water from whence it came with the least possible harm.
220-2-115 Snagging or Snatching Fish on the Tennessee River
It shall be unlawful to take fish on the Tennessee River or its impoundments by pulling a shingle hook or group of hooks through the water (snagging or snatching), provided said hooks may be so used with bait and/or lures to entice fish to strike or bite such bait or lure. It shall further be unlawful to catch a fish on the Tennessee River out its impoundments by hooking the fish in anyplace other than the mouth or head. Any fish hooked other than in the mouth or head must immediately be returned to the water from where it came with the least possible harm.
There is no closed season on any freshwater game fish
The sale of fame fish taken from public water is prohibited by law in Alabama.
Operators of all vessels must comply with the requirements for the types and use of lights when anchored or underway from sunset to sunrise, or during times of limited visibility.
Personal Floatation Devices (Life Preservers)
Vessels less than 16 feet in length will have aboard type I,II,III or V personal floatation devices for each person. Vessels 16 feet and over in length shall have aboard a U. S. Coast Guard approved Type I, II, III, or V personal floatation device for each person and at least one Type IV on board as a throwable device. The Type V personal flotation device must be worn to be acceptable.
All person under eight years of age, on any vessel, must, at all times, wear a U. S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device that must be strapped, snapped or ripped securely in place; except, no personal flotation device is required when inside a cabin or enclosed sleeping space.
Emergency Engine Cut-Off Switch
No person shall operate or give permission to operate any vessel less than 24 feet in length, having an open cockpit and having more than 50 horsepower unless said vessel is equipped with an emergency engine or motor shut-off switch. The cut-off switch must be a lanyard-toe and must be attached to the person, clothing or personal flotation device of the operator.
1. Operating a vessel or personal watercraft under the age of 12(check 2001 changers)
2. Operating a vessel in such a manner and at a rate of speed as will create a hazardous wash or wake when approaching or passing another vessel or when entering or leaving a harbor or marina area.
3. Operating a vessel towing a person or persons on water skies, or an aquaplane or similar device unless there is in the vessel a person, in addition to the operator, who is at least 12 years of age and is observing and is capable of communicating to the operator the progress of the person being towed or unless the vessel is equipped with a wide-angle mirror with a viewing surface of at least 78 square inches and a field of vision of at least 170 degrees.
4. Motor boats generally yield right-of-way to non-motor powered boats.
Vessels yielding right-of-way shall reduce speed, stop, reverse or alter course to avoid collision.
5. Vessel with right-of-way shall hold course and speed. If there is danger of collision, all vessels will slow down, stop or reverse until danger is averted.
6. Vessels approaching or passing another vessel must be operated in such manner and at such rate of speed as will not create a hazardous wash or wake.
7. All vessels must be operated at reasonable speeds for given situations and must be under the complete control of the operator at all times.
It is unlawful to operate a vessel in a reckless manner upon the water of this state. A person is guilty of reckless operation when he operates any vessel or manipulators any water skies or any
other marine transportation device upon the waters of this state in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property at a speed or in a manner to endanger or likely to endanger life or limb or property or cause injury to any person.
It is unlawful to operate a vessel in a careless manner upon the waters of this State. Careless operations is the endangerment of life, limb, or property through negligence, carelessness or inattention of the operator.
The Roberson Archer Act and The Boating Safety Enhancement Act of 2001 mandates that no one under the age of 12 may operate a motorized vessel, and every vessel operator be licensed and have the license in possession at the time of operation. Any person who was age 40 or older on April 28, 1994, is exempt from taking an approved boating course and /or the written exam. Persons who are age exempt are still required to obtain a boat operators license.
Obstruction of Operator's View Prohibited
It shall be unlawful for the operator of a vessel, when the vessel is operated at the above speed, to position or allow the positioning of, persons or equipment including but not limited to seats, coolers, ski and tubing devices in a manner that obscures the operator's view or would otherwise impair the safety operation of the vessel while operating on the waters of the state. Sailboats and auxiliary sailboats are exempt form this section.
For more information on boating safety laws and regulations call the Marine Police Division at (334)242-3673 or visit www.outdooralabama.com and click on Boating.
Thing to Do
Visit one of the five sections of Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail that parallel the Parkway, or stretch your legs on one of the many short (20 minutes) self-guided trails.
Stope at one of the three NI's campgrounds on the Parkway (Rocky Springs milepost 54; Jeff Busby milepost 193.1 and Meriwether Lewis milepost 385) for free camping. If you want hookups and showers, visit one of the state parks or private campgrounds along the way.
The Parkway is a designated bicycle route. Bike for the day or complete all 444 miles. Bicycle only campground are available, and other tools to plan your trip can be found on our website. Bicycles are not permitted on trails.
Fishing is permitted in the lakes and streams along the Parkway, provided that angers hold a valid license and follow all regulations for the state in which they are fishing.
As you explore the Natchez Trace Parkway, complete fun actives to help you learn more about the park. Pick up your booklet form a ranger or print it from our website. Turn it in at one of the sites listed to the right, and get a Junior Ranger badge and certificate.
Horses are welcome in many sections of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail. Trailheads large enough for horse trailers are marked on the Parkway map with a horse symbol. Please ride only on those sections of trail marked for horses,
Where to Find a Ranger...
Meriwether Lewis Cabin
Milepost 385.9, near Hohenwald, TN
931-796-5586 seasonal hours
Parkway Visitor Center
Milepost 266, near Tupelo, MS 800-305-7417
Open daily (excluding Dec 25) 8am to 5pm
Parkway Information Cabin
Milepost 102.1 near Ridgeland MS
601-898-9417 Seasonal hours
Mount Locust Historic Inn
Milepost 15.5 near Natchez MS
601-445-4211 seasonal hours
National Park Service U. S. Department of the Interior
Vehicles should change lanes to pass bicycles. Do no pass or change lanes when your view of oncoming traffic is limited.
Launching, landing or operating unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) /drones anywhere within the boundary of the Natchez Trace Parkway is illegal.
Photo NPS Marc Muench