Background Image

Hiking, swimming, boating, and more at Natchez Trace

Home  /  Arts & Leisure  /  Hiking, swimming, boating, and more at Natchez Trace

Hiking, swimming, boating, and more at Natchez Trace

Natchez Trace State Park is located on an alternate route of the old Natchez Trace. This route of the old trace is on the opposite side of the Tennessee River from the Natchez Trace Parkway. The name originally applied to a series of trails and paths that originated with animal migration routes and American Indian trade and travel routes. These were later used by returning boatmen that had floated goods to markets in Natchez and New Orleans from the Nashville area.

Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Program approximately 48,000 acres of land were purchased in the area of the park. This purchase provided jobs for many people. Programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration established many of the buildings still being used today and laid the foundation for what is now Natchez Trace State Park at the core of the large tract of public lands.

The park’s hiking trails, range from a one-half mile up to 4.5 miles, and a 40 mile overnight trail. The trails wind through the forest and fields and along the lakeshores and streams of Natchez Park. Visitors also enjoy the museum that features local and park history, picnic facilities, camping, cabins and lodges, boating and the park’s restaurant.

The park offers activities for visitors of all ages. Fishing is a favorite activity at Natchez Trace and anglers have four lakes from which to choose. Fifty-eight acre Cub Lake and 690 acre Pin Oak Lake are operated by Tennessee State Parks, while 90 acre Maple Creek Lake and 167 acre Brown’s Creek Lake are operated by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Natchez Trace State Park is one of the few parks that have an onsite wrangler camp. Located 2.2 miles south of I-40 on Hwy. 114 the Bucksnort Wrangler Camp features 65 campsites with full hook-ups, two bathhouses and a dump station. There are 250 miles of riding trails on the south end of the park in the Natchez Trace State Forest operated by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.

For more information on upcoming events, visit Natchez Trace online.


A free public swim beach is located at Cub Lake. No lifeguards are on duty. The Pin Oak Campground has a swimming beach only for campers. A pool is located at Pin Oak Lodge. The unheated pool is for inn and cabin guests only and is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.


Pin Oak Lake is popular for all types of boats and water recreation and has two public boat launch ramps with courtesy docks. Both ramps can accommodate fishing boats, ski boats, pontoon boats and wave runners. Guests may rent jon boats at the boat dock for use on Cub Lake. Personal electric trolling motors can be used on park jon boats. Brown’s Lake and Maples Creek Lake are managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.


Pin Oak — 1.5 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy/Moderate
Fairview Gullies — 1.0 Miles — Natural Surface — Moderate
Cub Lake — Natchez Trace State Park — 4.0 Miles — Natural — Moderate
Fern Trail — 0.2 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy
Red Leaves — 40.0 Miles — Natural Surface — Moderate – Difficult
Oak Ridge — 0.8 Miles — Natural Surface — Easy


Mountain biking is allowed on the multi-use fire trails. (There are miles of fire trails that are multi-use (bike, horse, and off road vehicle). The trails are dirt or gravel with varying terrain.)

Trail Length: 50+ miles
Trail Rating: Intermediate


Brown’s Creek Lake (167 acre) is managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) using Florida strain Largemouth Bass to produce trophy Largemouth Bass. Fish surveys as recent as 2012 have documented that there are bass in the 10-pound class in the lake.  Jon boat rentals are available and a lake permit fee is required.

Maple’s Creek Lake (90 acre) is also managed by TWRA and provides excellent catfish fishing and quality Bluegill and Redear Sunfish. Jon boat rentals are available and day or annual lake use permits are available on site via a drop box.

Pin Oak Lake (690 acre) is managed by the park. Evening fishing can be productive for bass, bluegill and catfish.

Fish limits for all lakes include: Black Bass: 5/day no length limit except Brown’s Lake has 18″ to 24″ slot limit; Crappie: 30/day no length limit on Maple and Pin Oak, 30/day 8″ limit on Brown’s, 15/day no limit on Cub; Redear: 20/day on length limit, Bluegill: no creel limit/ no length limit, Catfish: 5/day no length limit.

Bait, tackle and snacks are for sale at nearby locations. Fishing licenses may be purchased at the inn.


With many acres of scenic woodlands, Natchez Trace State Park offers many options for the equine enthusiast. Ride on over 250 miles of public use trails when visiting the Wrangler Camp. The Bucksnort Wrangler Camp offers camping, bathhouses, electric and water hook-ups at over 60 sites. Each campsite has a horse rail so you can camp with your horse or board at the equestrian center next door.


Natchez Trace has 17 standard cabins nestled among tall trees on beautiful Cub Lake. These cabins have one bedroom with a queen bed and a sleeper sofa accommodating up to four people.

The cabins are completely equipped for housekeeping with full modern bathrooms, kitchen appliances, cooking utensils, linens and towels.  Each cabin has a grill and picnic table. They are air-conditioned and also have fireplaces.

The public beach and day-use area are located just across an arm of the lake and are accessible via a rustic footbridge.

Cabins are popular, so advance reservations are a must. Reservations are handled by the Pin Oak Lodge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)