The Scenic Route: Byways On Your Way

Natchez Trace: Photo by NPS staff
Natchez Trace: Photo by NPS staff

One of the great things about traveling The Scenic Route is that, if you play your cards right, you can string several of these scenic byways together into a cross-country road trip that’s virtually guaranteed to be more memorable than simply droning along on the interstates.

Having written about Louisiana’s section of the Great River Road in the February issue of Trailer Life, I thought I’d share some nearby scenic byways that make great detours on your way to or from the Bayou State:

Natchez Trace Parkway 

Crossing three states on its way north from the Mississippi River town of Natchez, MS to its terminus outside Nashville, TN, this 444-mile scenic byway is full of surprises. From little-known chapters of American history to fields of wildflowers and quaint small towns, the Natchez Trace makes it possible to follow in the footsteps of the Native Americans, trappers, merchants, bandits and Civil War soldiers that made this winding path a major thoroughfare in the pre-steamboat era.  As one of the few historic byways that have survived the coming of the interstates, today you’ll find an RV trip along the Trace to be the very essence of traveling The Scenic Route. 

Selma Montgomery Byway
Selma Montgomery Byway - Photo: Theresa Hall, NPS

Selma to Montgomery March Byway

Among the pivotal moments in American history, few are more dramatic than the civil rights protests that culminated in the marches from Selma to Montgomery, AL in the spring of 1965.   This 54-mile National Historic Trail takes you along that historic route, with stops at important sites including Brown Chapel, the movement’s home base, the National Voting Rights Museum and the Edmund Pettus Bridge where local police and state troopers met the nonviolent protesters with billy clubs and tear gas in a one-sided confrontation that became known as Bloody Sunday.  The trip ends on the steps of the Alabama state capitol where the marchers and 25,000 supporters gathered to hear Martin Luther King Jr.’s How Long, Not Long speech.  

While your at it, check out my earlier posts on two other nearby scenic byways, the Creole Nature Trail and Big Bend Scenic Byway.

 

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