Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meriwether Lewis, Again

First time we've been hitched up since September

We made the move today from Millersville, just north of Nashville, to Meriwether Lewis, near Columbia southwest of Nashville, on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  The rains of the past two days are gone and we had a beautiful drive with bright blue skies.  It’s cold out there, though.  Also gone are our warm temperatures.
Crossed the Cumberland River as we made our way out of Nashville
Natchez Trace Parkway bridge over Highway 96
Not much traffic on the Parkway today.

We were very surprised upon arrival at Meriwether Lewis.  We were here for a few days last fall and since that time all roads in the entire park, including the campground, are new; so new they almost don’t look like they’ve been driven on.  In the campground, the interior roads as well as the parking pads have all been repaved.  The Natchez Trace is a unit of the National Park Service and the campgrounds along the Parkway are free.  However, there is no electricity and no dump stations, at least at Meriwether Lewis.  There are central water spigots and these have also been replaced.  Each site has a picnic table (ours looks fairly new) and a fire ring.  The campground is located along the ridge top so we have a nice view down into the valley.
Settled in for a few days

These campgrounds along the Natchez Trace are popular in the fall, especially with snowbirds from Canada.  I was concerned we might not get a site, but I shouldn’t have worried.  There are 30 or so sites here and only about 8 are occupied.  However, our nearest neighbor is from Ontario.
New trail signs to go along with the new roads

With the rains the past couple days we haven’t gotten much exercise.  Once we got set up (and there’s not much setting up to do when there are no utilities to hook up) we went out for a little leg stretcher.  There are several miles of trail here, but we didn’t have a lot of time for a real hike, so we just walked up the road to the Old Trace and cut across to the area were Meriwether Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame, died.
And new split rail fences

There are several areas along the Parkway in which you can clearly see the historic old trace.  The Old Trace is part of the established trail system within Meriwether Lewis.  In October, 1809 Lewis came to this point on the Trace to spend the night at the Grinder Stand.  During the wee hours of the night he took his own life.  Some believe he may have been murdered, but most scholars lean toward suicide.  Anyway, Meriwether Lewis is buried here near where the Grinder House once stood.
Replica of the Grinder House
All that remains of the original Grinder house where Lewis died

Today, a replica of the Grinder House serves as a small park office on one side of the house with a small display about Meriwether Lewis and other historical sites along the Natchez Trace.
Lewis is buried beneath this monument.
Around the Lewis grave are the graves of several pioneers who lived in the area.

Our plan is to be here until Sunday.  Tomorrow, we want to do a little hiking just north of here at Devil’s Backbone and Saturday, the Clarksville chapter of Tennessee Trails will be hiking here.  We hope to join them for that hike.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. Looks like my rig might be able to fit in a sight. I wondered about that. Do you run your generator in order to post?

  2. You are in a very beautiful area and nice camping location. Hope you can get out tomorrow and do some hiking. Interesting information about Meriwether Lewis.

  3. great campsite for a few days!!..enjoy the hike tomorrow!!

  4. What a great looking spot. It'll be great to get out and do some hiking around in that area.