ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Loess Bluff on the Natchez Trace, Mississippi
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Loess Bluff on the Natchez Trace, Mississippi
Loess Bluff on the Natchez Trace
The exhibit near the southern end of the Natchez
Trace Parkway explains a loess bluff and the
significance of this soil in Mississippi.
Loess Bluff Exhibit
An interpretive sign explains
the significance of the loess
bluff visible along the Natchez
Trace Parkway.
Natchez Trace
In places where the original
Natchez Trace crossed loess
formations, it often carved
sunken roads more than 20
feet deep.
Loess Bluff - Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi
Natural Feature from the Ice Age
The Loess Bluff is a unique geological
feature found at the 12.4 milepost on the
Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.

Loess is a natural formation with a
surprising and fascinating ancient history.
The word is pronounces low-ess and it
refers to the formation of unique hills and
sharp bluffs found along the lower
Mississippi Valley. The bluff along the
Natchez Trace is an outstanding example, as
are the sharp bluffs seen all around historic
Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Loess actually is windswept sand and clay
that is thought by geologists to have been
deposited in the last ice age. While glaciers,
of course, did not reach as far south as
Mississippi, winds deposited large amounts
of loess soil in the state. Today it is easily
recognizable by its almost vertical bluffs and
distinctive coloring.

The loess terrain around Vicksburg, in fact,
played a key role in the location of forts and
batteries in the
Battle of Vicksburg. The
rugged nature of the land also played a roll in
where troops could deploy and move during
the battle.

As it winds north from Natchez on its way to
Tennessee, the Natchez Trace Parkway
passes through an impressive area of loess
The Loess Bluff Exhibit is located at milepost
12.4 on the Natchez Trace Parkway. There
are interpretive signs and the park area
includes an outstanding example of a loess
bluff formation.  Also in this area of the
parkway be sure to visit Mount Locust Inn &
Plantation and
Emerald Mound.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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