Natchez Trace Bike Tour - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Natchez Trace Bike Tour

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Natchez Trace Bike Tour: Highlights

NOTE: This is one of our most popular tours and tour dates fill up fast, so make your reservations NOW to secure your spot!


The Natchez Trace Parkway is one of North America’s hidden gems. With it’s vast stretches of twisty roads with little vehicle traffic, it’s tremendous scenery over ridges and through isolated hollows, it’s undulating terrain with no big climbing, and it’s myriad small friendly towns steeped in history, it’s no wonder that the Natchez Trace (also known simply as the “Trace”) is a destination for many cyclists looking to reconnect with nature while pursuing their love of cycling.

The Natchez Trace, also known as the “Old Natchez Trace”, is a historical foot path that extends roughly 440 miles from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. The “Trace” was first created by migrating animals and then used for centuries by Native Americans. After the Americas were founded, the Trace was later used by early European and American explorers, traders, and emigrants in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Today, the trail is commemorated by the 440 mile Natchez Trace Parkway, which follows the approximate path of the old Trace.

NEW FOR 2019: 5-Day Southern Antebellum Tour

This special 5-Day tour explores the deep history of the southern Natchez Trace area and the pre-Civil War era known as the Antebellum South. The daily mileages are lower than typical for a Lizard Head tour, but we take time to explore the area in depth to truly learn its history, both ancient with Native American settlements and up to the start of the Civil War which marked the end of the Antebellum Era. We will visit dozens of historical places while en route and stay in historic lodging each evening. Along the way we will learn about the origins of the “Old Natchez Trace”, a well-traveled footpath that ran over 450 miles from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi.

Click here for the itinerary.

Natchez Trace Parkway

Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace is a beautiful road

Double Arch Bridge

Double Arch Bridge

Below the Double Arch Bridge

Natchez Trace Bike Tour: Testimonials

Read what previous guests on our Natchez Trace Bike tour have been saying…

Kent and I had a fun time on the ride from Natchez to Nashville. Peter, Peter and Anna did a great job handling all the logistics which many times were quite tricky. – Linda

I just wanted you know that Candice and I really appreciated your energy, consideration, and organization this past week of cycling. Although some days were tough we felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of the tour. – Cathy

I am back from the Trace and just wanted to let you know that I had a really good time. History element was a big part of it. I especially want to let you know how good a job Matt and Peter did. They were professional, calm and super guides. – Lucy

I just completed the Natchez Trace Bicycle Tour. It was a great tour. The route was outstanding. Limited auto traffic and very courteous drivers that went out of their way to be polite. Peter and Anna are the best tour guides I have ever ridden with. They made road details clear and easy to understand. They were very supportive for all the riders regardless of a rider’s pace. They kept us all properly supplied with water and nutrients during the ride. Their professionalism is definitely 5 star! Thank you for the tour. I am glad I choose this tour from the Lizard Head list. – Jeff D.

Natchez Trace Bike Tour: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

Spring 2019 Natchez Trace Tour Dates:

  • April 13 to 19, 2019 Spring Blossom TourSOLD OUT
  • April 21 to 27, 2019 Spring Blossom Tour (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO! 1 spot remains
  • April 29 to May 5, 2019 Spring Blossom Tour (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO! 1 spot remains

Autumn 2019 Natchez Trace Tour Dates:

  • September 29 to October 5, 2019SOLD OUT
  • October 13 to 19, 2019 Fall Foliage Tour (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!
  • October 21 to 27, 2019 Fall Foliage Tour (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED: 4 riders needed to make a GO!
  • October 29 to November 2, 2019 5-Day Southern Antebellum Tour Special historical tour of the southern Trace (Book Now!)

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Natchez Trace Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 7-Days Cycling/6-Nights Lodging, or 5-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging

Arrival Airport: Jackson, MS (Jackson–Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport – JAN). Guests arrive on Day 0 (the day before the tour starts) and are on-their-own for transportation from Jackson, MS to the Meeting Town of Natchez, MS. We recommend making shuttle arrangements with Downtown Karla Brown.
NOTE: For the Natchez Trace 5-Day tour, Lizard Head offers a 3:00 PM shuttle from the Jackson airport to Natchez, MS.

Meeting Town & Hotel: The meeting town is Natchez, MS and the meeting hotel is the Hampton Inn & Suites Natchez. Guests on-their-own for reservations at the Hampton Inn, or at other nearby hotels or inns this evening.
NOTE: For the Natchez Trace 5-Day tour, the meeting hotel in Natchez, MS is included in the tour cost.

Departure Airport: Nashville, TN (Nashville International Airport – BNA).
NOTE: The Natchez Trace 5-Day tour ends back in Jackson, MS at approximately 3:00 PM.

Pre-Tour Shuttle: On Day 0 (the day before the tour start) of the Natchez Trace 7-Day tour, a pre-tour shuttle from Nashville, TN is available when reserved in advance (cost is $75/pp). The shuttle leaves the Courtyard by Marriott Nashville Airport (not included in tour cost) in Nashville, TN at 6:30 AM, makes a stop in Jackson, MS early afternoon to pick-up additional guests, departs about 3:00 PM and then arrives at approximately 6:00 PM in Natchez, MS. If you are flying to Nashville, the Courtyard by Marriott offers a complimentary shuttle to and from Nashville International Airport. If you are driving to Nashville, we recommend that you leave your vehicle for long-term parking with the Courtyard by Marriott, or at either the The Parking Spot or Park ‘N Fly for retrieval upon our return to Nashville at the end of the tour and use Uber to meet us at the Courtyard by Marriott at 6:30 AM.

Post Tour Logistics: The Natchez Trace 7-Day tour ends on Day 7 at approximately 5:00 PM at the Nashville airport ending hotel (Courtyard Marriott – not included in tour cost). If you would like to fly out on Day 7, please make your flight reservation for 7:00 PM or later. If the tour is running behind due to unforeseen circumstances, riders can always Uber off the Trace to make a flight.
NOTE: The Natchez Trace 5-Day tour ends back in Jackson, MS at approximately 3:00 PM.

7-Day Tour Total Miles: 300 to 440 miles, additional mileage options available. (Can I keep up on this tour?)

5-Day Tour Total Miles: 175 miles.

Ability Level: Intermediate (2/3)  to Upper Intermediate (3) 
On the Natchez Trace 7-Day tour there are moderate climbs on the last 3 days of the Natchez Trace tour, but overall there are very few big climbs along most of the Trace which makes even the longer mileage days relatively easy. This is a very leisurely tour along a magnificent ribbon of extremely well maintained pavement.

7-Day Tour Cost: $2,750 per person. Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more. Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

5-Day Tour Cost: $1,995 per person. No group discounts offered for this tour. Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

7-Day Tour Single Room Supplement: Add $425 to the Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (includes 6-nights of private room).

5-Day Tour Single Room Supplement: Add $350 to the Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (includes 5-nights of private room).

7-Day Tour Includes: 7-Days of guide service, 6-nights of lodging, all meals, entry fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental and massage therapy are additional.

5-Day Tour Includes: 5-Days of guide service, 4-nights of lodging, all meals, entry fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental and massage therapy are additional.

7-Day Tour Lodging: Includes 6-Nights (subject to change based on availability)

5-Day Tour Lodging: Includes 4-Nights (subject to change based on availability)

NOTE: Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Bike Rental

Road Bike Rental: Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott CR-1 Pro and Scott Solace carbon road bikes with full Shimano Ultegra components for only $250/week, or $150 for 3 or 4 day tours. Both the CR-1 and Solace models are sub- 17 lb comfortable, high performance bicycles geared for climbing hills. In addition we also have electric bikes available for rental at $375/week. And finally we have a selection of straight bar road bikes and kids bikes in our rental fleet. Just let us know what you need and we can probably find it.

Please also see this blog post for more information on bike rentals.

Electric Bike Rental: We now have a limited selection of SCOTT electric bikes that can be reserved for our tours. These are road bikes with straight bars that make the slowest rider the fastest rider in the group. Rental Price is $375/week.

Couples Bike Rental Discount: Sign up as a couple and receive one free bike high performance rental per couple ($250 value).

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on its tours.

Read more on our Road Bike Rental FAQs page.

Meals On Tour

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and of course plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies. We pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works for you during the week. Gluten Free, Dairy Free or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Dinners: Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients. Guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu: including appetizer, salad, entree and of course dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Overall Route Map

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels
= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be?
If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equalling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump!
Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options
Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. :-)

Slow or Fast?
Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Natchez Trace Bike Tour: Itinerary*

*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as an outline as to what to expect on this tour.

Day 0: Arrival in Jackson, MS and Shuttle to Natchez, MS

PRE-TOUR SHUTTLE ON DAY 0 – Guests fly early into Jackson, MS (Jackson–Evers International Airport – JAN) on the day before (Day 0) the tour starts and then shuttle to Natchez, MS. A 3:00 pm shuttle on Day 0 is offered by Lizard Head Cycling Guides from Jackson to Natchez, MS.

  • If you are arriving in Jackson, MS later than 3:00 pm, please let us know.
  • Guests can also make their own shuttle arrangements from Jackson, MS to Natchez, MS with Downtown Karla Brown.
  • The meeting hotel in Natchez, MS is the Hampton Inn & Suites Natchez and guests are on-their-own for reservations at the Hampton Inn, or at other nearby hotels or inns this evening. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Natchez South in Natchez, MS is adjacent to the Hampton Inn.

SUGGESTION: If you have the time, we encourage you to arrive early in Jackson, MS (even a full day before!) and then shuttle to Natchez, MS by early afternoon so that you can have some time to enjoy this small and wonderful town before the start of the tour the following morning. There are dozens of great little shops and eateries along with a many historical sites throughout the town of Natchez.

Day 1: Natchez to Sunken Trace
46 Miles with up to 2,260 feet of climbing

Our first day of the tour begins at the Hampton Inn & Suites Natchez in Natchez, MS with a meet and greet of guests and guides followed by a short presentation of the week ahead and a brief history of the Natchez Trace. We will fit bikes, load gear into the support vehicle, and then saddle up to ride to the start of the Natchez Trace Parkway’s at southern terminus to begin our week-long journey north.

Today’s route is the lowest mileage of the week so that riders can stretch their legs and get warmed up for the week ahead. At mile marker 10, we will make a short divert from the Trace to view the Emerald Mound Site – an ancient ceremonial mound built by ancestors of the Natchez Indians that dates from the period between 1200 and 1730 A.D.

After Emerald Mound and back on route, riders will soon make another quick divert to Mount Locust Historic Home, one of the oldest surviving structures in Mississippi. While riders take a tour of this house, guides will prepare a gourmet lunch in the parking area. After lunch, we finish the day by meandering our way along the Trace past the small town of Port Gibson, MS (the town General Ulysses S. Grant proclaimed was “too beautiful to burn”) and end the ride at Sunken Trace – a beautifully preserved portion of the centuries old deeply eroded Natchez Trace foot path.

From Sunken Trace we shuttle a short distance to Vicksburg, MS to check into the nearby Anchuca Historic Mansion and Inn. Guests will have time before dinner to stroll this small town or to relax at the inn after the adventures of the day.

Elevation Profile: 46 mi +2260 ft / -2270 ft

Day 2: Sunken Trace to Ridgeland
62 Miles with up to 2,370 feet of climbing

This day begins with a hearty breakfast. After breakfast during the shuttle back to the Trace Parkway we will provide a short driving tour around the historic Vicksburg National Military Park. During the morning’s ride we make a stop at the Rocky Springs Site to temporarily trade cycling shoes for walking shoes as we take a short hiking tour of the old Rocky Springs town site and a small portion of the original Old Natchez Trace foot trail.

After our short hiking break, we remount the bikes and continue to thread our way through the dense ancient hardwood forests, past open pastures and cotton fields. At Natchex Trace Parkway mile marker 89, we will make a stop to explore the Clinton Visitor Center where guides will prepare another healthy lunch for riders to refuel. The Center is constructed with period materials and period architectural details including a porch and “dogtrot” and has the look and authentic charm of one of the 19th century farmhouses once located along the Natchez Trace.

After departing the Center, we finish the last miles of our journey along the Ridgeland Multi-Use Path and leave the Trace to check into our lodging for the night in Ridgeland, MS.

Elevation Profile: 62 mi +2370 ft / -2185 ft

Day 3: Ridgeland to French Camp
81 Miles with up to 1,745 feet of climbing

On this third day of the tour, our mileage increases yet again, but since this is one of the flatter portions of the Trace, the 81 miles you pedal today will pass by quickly. Departing our hotel, we make our way back to the Trace, though this time we will not ride on the parkway itself, but for the first five miles on the bike path system adjacent to the Trace. Finally back on parkway, one of the highlights of this morning’s portion is the ride along the Ross Barnett Reservoir for about 10 miles.

At mile marker 122, we will make a stop at the Cypress Swamp where a boardwalk trail leads over the murky waters through a tupelo and bald cypress swamp… but make sure to watch for alligators! Also along the way we will pass Kosciusko, Mississippi – the town where Oprah Winfrey was born and lived until age 6.

By the end of the day, we arrive at the French Camp Historic District log-cabin village where riders can relax and enjoy a well deserved authentic Southern meal.

Elevation Profile: 81 mi +1745 ft / -1705 ft

Day 4: French Camp to Tupelo
88 Miles with up 2,800 feet of climbing

Today presents the longest day along the Trace, considered the “Queen Stage” due to the distance and challenge of the climbs. However, we will start early and riders will have plenty of time to casually pedal along enjoying the scenery of the Red Clay Hills before settling into the bottomlands near the headwaters of the Big Black River. The miles will seem to zip by along this quiet section of the Trace, with only a few minor hills and minor changes in the uniform surroundings. Just past Houston, Mississippi are the Bynum Mounds – six burial mounds and an associated habitation area built between 100 B.C. and 100 A.D.

Our destination for the evening is Tupelo, Mississippi – birthplace of Elvis Presley – where our lodging, dinner and post-ride relaxation await.

Elevation Profile: 88 mi +2800 ft / -2890 ft

Day 5: Tupelo to Belmont
42 Miles with up to 2,055 feet of climbing

After breakfast at the hotel, we pack up and head over to the nearby Elvis Presley Birthplace for a tour of his childhood home and to learn of the humble beginnings of the “King of Rock and Roll”. Afterward we shuttle a short distance back to the Trace and depart from the Parkway Visitor Center to continue our northward journey. Halfway through our ride we make a stop at the Pharr Mounds – a complex of eight dome shaped Tumulus burial mounds built between 100 and 200 A.D.

We then continue our ride to end near Tishomingo State Park and from here we shuttle to our destination at The Belmont Hotel, a restored 1927 Georgian style hotel in Belmont, Mississippi.

Elevation Profile: 42 mi +2055 ft / -1910 ft

Day 6: Belmont to Meriwether Lewis National Monument
85 Miles with up to 3,780 feet of climbing

Today is the second longest day of the Trace at 85 miles and reaching the highest point along the entire Trace to 1,100′ above sea level. We start early in order to get out onto the Trace with plenty of sunshine to spare. Shuttling a short distance from Belmont, we begin the riding and the scenery remains world-class, from the wooded ridges to the steep hollows carved by brooks cascading over rocky stream beds. We will pedal across three states today starting from Mississippi, passing through Alabama, and finally ending in Tennessee.

We end the ride at the Meriwether Lewis National Monument and then shuttle to this evenings accommodations. Today’s accomplishments will be well earned!

Elevation Profile: 85 mi +3780 ft / -3470 ft

Day 7: Meriwether Lewis National Monument to Double Arch Bridge
55 Miles with up to 4,075 feet of climbing

The final day of the tour has arrived and we have saved what we think is the best of the Trace for last! Following breakfast we will shuttle a short distance from our lodging to the Meriwether Lewis National Monument. Here while riders check out the monument to a great American explorer, guides will get the bikes ready for the final leg of the Trace.

Riders roll away and soon enjoy the magnificent scenery along the twisty turns and rolling hills on this final section of the Trace. At mile marker 438 you will ride across the gracefully designed Double Arch Bridge and then soon after the bridge, pull into a turnout at the Northern Terminus to end the riding for the week. The tour concludes with 30 mile shuttle back to Nashville, TN.

Well done!

Elevation Profile: 53 mi +3830 ft / -3935 ft

Natchez Trace Bike Tour: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

Ride Difficulty: This custom tour is designed for ADVANCED to INTERMEDIATE cyclists with various levels of fitness. Each day there are additional mileage options for advanced riders.

Tour Support: A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment will support this tour.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

Lizard Head Cycling Guides highly recommends clients purchase Travel Insurance through MH Ross Travel Insurance. A policy can be purchased individually through the sales link below or Lizard Head Cycling Guides can also set-up a policy for its clients.

The estimated cost for a 50-year old buying insurance for a $2,500 tour ranges from $100 (standard plan) to about $200 (cancel for any reason plan).

Lizard Head Cycling Guides Custom Sales Portal Link is:

  • The best options for our clients are either the Asset or Bridge plans.
  • The Asset-Plus & Complete plans both include a Cancel-For-Any-Reason option.
    • As a result these plans cost more.
    • The Cancel-for-Any-Reason option is only available when insurance is purchased within two weeks of initial deposit.

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