One of the first things I did when moving down to New Orleans was experiment with ways to get out of the city without a car. Traveling with bikes on trains can get you far, even with the limitations on Amtrak. Bikes do have to be checked as baggage for the Crescent and Sunset Limited trains, but on City of New Orleans route they accommodate bringing bikes on-board for a $20 dollar fee, making the city of Jackson an optimal choice.
From there you can catch the Natchez Trace in Ridgeland, Mississippi inclusive of 400 miles of long distance riding.
The Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez are some of the most historically significant and influential groups of people to have lived along the Natchez Trace and sites of historical significance are well documented on National Park Service’s website. There’s also plenty of information on spots for bike camping.
Here’s how to get there:
After reserving bike spaces in advance (they are limited) with our tickets, it was easy enough to drop-off bikes train side a half hour before your departure.
Trains depart daily to Jackson at 1:45pm and return to New Orleans daily at 11:20am.
Maps and even information about the city’s bike lanes were hard to access, but for the 90 minute journey to the trace in Ridgeland, I recommend taking Mill St. to Old Canton. Then ride up Ridgewood Rd to head up S Pear Orchard Rd. Also, remember to be prepared for hills. There are plenty of bluffs and some steep climbs on this journey.
So if you only have two wheels, there are still opportunities to explore long-distance riding beyond state lines.