Add adventure to your workout while surrounded by nature.  The trail is all  the workout equipment you  need.  Take the challenge of 28 miles on the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail to get fit or just relax outdoors.  The national park is not far from Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin and Columbia, Tennessee — just far enough from the city to experience the extra benefits of a workout on a National Park trail.


Introduction to the Trail Fit Challenge:




1. Reach your target destination on the trail.

2. Reach a farther target destination on the trail.

3.  Reach a farther target destination on the trail faster.

4.  Reach a farther target destination on the trail faster carrying an increasingly heavier weight.

Select the Portion of the Trail that Meets Your Fitness Needs-  The  200 foot climb at the north trail will raise your heart rate, and  a brisk walk on the two-mile hike to the War of 1812  Memorial Site will keep the rate up.  If you are just beginning, you may prefer to park at the War of 1812  Memorial Site and walk north toward the trail head, making a loop back before descending the hill.

Push Your Endurance-  Determine your endurance limit and push the limit.

Extend Your Endurance-  Each time you hike the trail, add a quarter-mile or half-mile.  Plan eventually to hike the entire 28 miles.

Compare Stats-  Encourage and challenge friends to take the challenge with you and compare your results.


While you will not need specialized equipment, you should plan to bring the following items:

– Hiking boots or shoes with  soles designed for the outdoor terrain.

– Water.  There is a water fountain at the Garrison Creek comfort station but no other fountains along the trail.  Consider the temperature and humidity level to determine the amount of water you will need.

-Insect Repellent.  If you are allergic to insect bites, apply insect repellent before beginning the hike for non-winter hikes.

-First Aid Kit.  Consider taking moleskins for blisters, antibiotic ointment, bandages, scissors, tweezers, pain reliever and whistle to signal for help if you have an emergency.


1.  Strength-  The largest muscles in your body are from the waist down.  By strengthening those muscles on the hike, you add strength to your entire body.  Each step activates muscles in your lower back and makes them stronger.

2.  Cardiovascular-  As you hike, the heart and lungs work harder to pump blood to supply oxygen to the muscles in the lower body.  The heart is a muscle that also becomes stronger during the workout.  Physical results may include lowered blood pressure.

3.  Endurance- Gradually increasing distance or pace adds to the ability of your body to endure greater physical challenges.

4.  Muscle tone-  Your muscles respond to repetitive hikes by taking on a more physically fit appearance and movement.


A walk on the trail helps clear the mind and reduce stress with natural stress relievers.  Some physicians are adopting the practice of writing prescriptions for trail hikes to help reduce patients’ stress levels.


The old Natchez Trace trail is one of the oldest trails in North America.  Early humans walked it when traveling from the South American continent to the area that is now Canada.  American Indian warriors and chiefs traveled its path for hunting, trade, and war.  Early Americans such as Meriwether Lewis, Andrew Jackson, James John Audubon, Davy Crockett, Sam Houston,  and maybe even Abraham Lincoln walked sections of the trace.


Consult your physician before undertaking any strenuous physical activity to determine your own safe physical limitations.



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