This annual 9-Day tour explores the deep history of the southern Natchez Trace area and the pre-Civil War era known as the Antebellum South. The Trace has long been a vital conduit for Southern Pride and offers outstanding cycling opportunities with its rolling hills, incredible scenery, and ample stretches of road with light motorized traffic. Experience 165 miles of this cycling paradise through the most beautiful parts of Mississippi including Ridgeland, Port Gibson, and Natchez. An additional 120 miles off the Trace are included where you’ll experience the communities that gave rise to the enduring charm of Southern hospitality, including Ridgeland, Vicksburg, and Rocky Springs. Each day you’ll enjoy the authentic cuisine of the region and the unique culture of the American South. This area is also a favorite of both US Civil War and antebellum home enthusiasts with an abundance of history from the early days of Native American and European influences along the Trace and Mississippi River.
Whether you are a new or veteran cyclist, this region and tour is ideal for you. Our fully supported tour will provide a one-of-a-kind bicycle adventure and access to all the best-kept secrets of this area.
The Natchez Trace is known for its flatter terrain. The areas around Vicksburg and Port Gibson are dotted with rolling hills, especially inside the Vicksburg National Military Park. Daily mileages range from 20 – 63 miles, with shorter options available. Bike rentals are available. Temperatures in the area range from the low 50’s in the evening to the upper 70’s during the day.
• Welcome reception and orientation
• 9 nights in Hotels or a Southern Bed and Breakfast
• 25 meals – 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 9 dinners
• Van support during the course of the trip
• Professional guide services by two BIKEternity trip leaders
• Daily route directions and maps, including GPX files for your GPS
• Sightseeing and Cultural Activities Include:
• Guided bicycle tour of the Vicksburg National Military Park
• Walking tour of Vicksburg
• Tour of the USS Cairo Museum
• Visits to Windsor Ruins and Alcorn University
• Guided tour of one antebellum home in Natchez
• Southern Road to Freedom Educational Choir Concert
Airfare is not included in the cost of the tour. Travel to and from our start point is the responsibility of each individual. Airport transfers. Insurance of any kind. Alcoholic beverages. Items of a personal nature.
Airline tickets - Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip is confirmed with the minimum number of participants required to operate.
Travel insurance - To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Please contact us for recommendations.
We’ll gather as a group after we check in before 4 PM at the Towne Place Suites Marriott in Ridgeland, MS. We’ll greet each other at our 4 PM orientation meeting at the hotel then stroll to dinner at the Sombra Mexican Grill serving local cuisine. The evening will end with our bikes and gear ready for our adventure through Mississippi.
Terrain: Flat with a few small hills
We’ll begin our adventure with an early start and nice loop ride around the Barnett Reservoir including a 14-mile section of the Natchez Trace north of Ridgeland. We will finish by mid-afternoon so that you can enjoy a late lunch on your own. We will meet again in the early evening for dinner at one of Ridgelands fine establishments.
Terrain: Rolling hills
We’ll head west out of Ridgeland toward the historic town of Vicksburg. We’ll ride rural Mississippi country roads as we make our way toward the mighty Mississippi River, passing through the sometimes forgotten towns of Bolton, Edwards, and Bovina. All the towns along the route were on the old Alabama and Vicksburg Railroad and suffered damage during the Civil War as a result. We will finish the day at the Hampton Inn and Suites as we enter our first ‘rest’ day.
Terrain: Rolling Hills
After breakfast, we will begin the day with a visit and film at the Vicksburg National Military Park that commemorates the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg in 1863. A beautiful and historic 16-mile guided cycling tour that includes stops at the Illinois Monument, USS Cairo Museum, and Vicksburg National Cemetery will be offered. Beautiful vistas are in abundance throughout this park. After the tour, you will be on your own for lunch in downtown Vicksburg which showcases beautiful shows, historic buildings, and restaurants. In the afternoon, the Maggio Historic Walking Tour of Vicksburg is offered which will take you through one of the most historic districts in the city of Vicksburg. The evening concludes with dinner at the Walnut Hills Restaurant, a Vicksburg icon. Fabulous authentic Southern plantation cuisine served in the atmosphere of an 1880’s home. The world-famous fried chicken is a specialty as are the varied garden vegetables, each prepared from unique recipes.
Terrain: Large rolling hills, major road
We’ll head directly south out of Vicksburg, paralleling the Mississippi toward the city that General US Grant declared, “too beautiful to burn”. A morning stop at the Tomato Place south of the city is a must for every cyclist. The atmosphere and southern hospitality are just fun! The smoothies and sandwiches are awesome; the outdoor fruit and vegetable stand adds to the decor. We will depart from the main road as much as possible along our journey to take in more of the rural nature of this area. In the afternoon, we will arrive in Port Gibson with its magnificent dome topped courthouse. This once thriving community was actually much closer to the Mississippi River before the river shifted course decades ago. The city saw a lot of activity during the US Civil War. Port Gibson played a big role in the development of blues music in Mississippi and is a part of the Mississippi Blues Trail. We will end our day at the Isabelle Bed and Breakfast.
Terrain: A few steep climbs followed by flat-ish cycling into Natchez
We’ll be off Trace the first part of the day as we ride to, and explore the Windsor Ruins (the largest antebellum Greek Revival mansion ever built in Mississippi), visit the Rodney Ghost town and take a tour of Alcorn State University. Founded in 1871, Alcorn is the oldest public historically black land-grant institution in the United States. The steps of Windsor Ruins can be found at Alcorn State University. We finish the day as we cruise ‘downhill’ along flat terrain into the historic city of Natchez and a layover day with many activities. We’ll stay at the Holiday Inn Express.
Terrain: Flat/no riding day
We’ll begin with an early morning jaunt to the Natchez Visitor Center for “The Natchez Story” film and to browse the exhibits and artifacts. We will move on to a guided tour of 3 antebellum homes in Natchez: Linden(1800), Auburn (1812) and Airlie (1790). You’ll be free for lunch on your own and explore Natchez which could include kayaking the Mississippi River, Natchez City Sightseeing Tour, museums, shopping, or a self-guided walking/cycling tour. Or just hang out and unwind. We will gather for dinner at the Magnolia Grill followed by the Southern Road to Freedom choral concert.
Miles: 42 Miles
Terrain: Mostly flat-ish
We start at the southern terminus of the Natchez Trace today and head back toward Port Gibson and our B&B overnight along the spring wildflowers that dominate this section of the Trace. We will have more time to explore the sights we just past by a few days earlier. You can visit the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians State Historic Site before starting the Trace if you get an early start to the day. As you ride the Trace you will encounter the Emerald Mound (a ceremonial burial mound built by the ancestors of the Natchez around 1400), the Loess Bluff (deposits of the topsoil left by the last Ice Age) and Mount Locust (a historic first stand or ‘inn’). We’ll finish at the Isabella B&B.
Terrain: Flat to small rolling hills
After another early hearty breakfast, we will return to the Trace for our last day on the road as we ride back to Ridgeland. Although today is our longest day, it will not be the hardest. We will continue along the tree and wildflower-lined Trace and the rolling loess that comprises this section of the state. We will pass the Sunken Trace and Mangum Mound taking a rest break at Rocky Springs, once a thriving town in the 18th century and now a ghost town that we can tour by foot. The Battle of Raymond site is located along this section of the Trace as well; a battle that convinced General US Grant that Jackson, MS had to be captured before the siege of Vicksburg could begin. We will end our day back at our start point hotel where we will celebrate our time together and share our stories over a celebration dinner. We will bid each other farewell as we depart for home or rides unknown the next morning.
Call 860-428-9301 to reserve this trip on the phone
Monday-Friday, 9 AM to 3 PM Mountain Standard Time