Meriwether Lewis Campground, Natchez Trace Parkway, Hohenwald, TN

Early Spring Flower at Meriwether
This was one of the few early spring flowers I came across while at Meriwether Lewis Campground. The little sweetie was but the size of a nickel. I’m guessing maybe something in the aster family.

CAMPGROUND NAME: Meriwether Lewis
LOCATION: Natchez Trace Parkway, Hohenwald, TN
KIND: National Park
SEASONAL: No
RATES: Free, 14 day consecutive stay limit; 30 day annual limit
RESERVATIONS ACCEPTED: No
PARK WEB SITE
HOSTED: There was a site marked Host but it was vacant when I was there in early April. I called park headquarters to ask if I could use it (it has water and electrical hookups and probably sewer) but was told no because hosts come and go.
PHONE: 800-305-7417. This is the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center
GPS: N 35.52251, W 087.45600 This marks the entry to the campground from Campground Road is is a mile or so from where Campground Road meets Route 20, and slightly further from Natchez Trace Parkway
GPS 2: N 35.50567, W 087.46156 This marks the junction of Meriwether Lewis Parkway (which in a short distance becomes Campground Road) and Route 20 (also known as Summertown Highway)

PeeWee--the best little blue motorcycle, ever!--Charlene my RV and Sunny my solar panel settle into site #18 at Meriwether Lewis Campground along the Natchez Trace Parkway outside of Hohenwald, TN
PeeWee–the best little blue motorcycle, ever!–Charlene my RV and Sunny my solar panel settle into site #18 at Meriwether Lewis Campground along the Natchez Trace Parkway outside of Hohenwald, TN

ACCESS: Roads to and in the campground are paved. It’s a little narrow in places in the campground but decent size Class As were about and I had no trouble with my 30′ Class C. One site is marked Accessible but apart from being the closest one to the restroom I think many of the others are just as accessible.
SITES: 31
SURFACING: Asphalt
PULL THRU: Yes
BACK-IN: Yes
MAXIMUM RIG SIZE: I saw none stated but some sites were certainly long enough for a 40+’ rig and towed vehicle… the question would be more about width
TENTS: Permitted, up to three per site, but finding level ground may not be easy in many sites
LEVELNESS: The campground is a little tilty. I lucked out and found site #18 empty. It is an almost level pull through,
SHADE: There will be lots when leaves are on the trees
SPACING: Some sites are directly across the campground road from each others, some have a little more privacy.
TENT PADS: I saw no pads but did see one tent set up by some bicyclists
FIRE GRILLS: Ground level
PICNIC TABLES: Yes
PETS: On leash

HOOKUPS: No, none
DUMP STATION: No

Forest Floor near Meriwether Lewis Campground
Forest Floor near Meriwether Lewis Campground, Natchez Trace Parkway, Hohenwald, TN

CELLULAR:
Note: measurements of signal strength, data transfer speeds and connection type (4G vs. LTE) were erratic so the readings provided below should be viewed with that in mind. The one constant was that cellular signal strength was notably improved with the booster.

AT&T iPhone 5s without Wilson Mobile 4G booster:
1-2 bars, 4G or LTE, fluctuating between the two
Signal strength: 4%-22%, -110.5-100.5 dBm rapidly fluctuating
Download speed: with LTE 10.09 Mbps
Upload speed: with LTE 3.77 Mbps

AT&T iPhone 5s with Wilson Mobile 4G booster:
3-4 bars, 4G or LTE, fluctuating between the two
Signal strength: 37%-56%, -77.9 dBm @56%
Download speed: 4.47 Mbps
Upload speed: 4.71 Mbps

Verizon iPad Air without Wilson Mobile 4G booster:
2 bars, LTE
Signal strength: as low as 1%, -112.4 dBm @56%
Download speed: 11.91 Mbps
Upload speed: 0.67 Mbps

Verizon iPad Air with Wilson Mobile 4G booster:
4 bars, LTE
Signal strength: as high as 32%, -93.0 dBM
Download speed: 10.91 Mbps
Upload speed: 1.59 Mbps

Meriwether Memorial
I stand in awe of the man, Meriwether Lewis, who over 200 years ago, before GPS, before roads, before electricity and modern conveniences of any kind crossed the unchartered territory of half the young USA, in the wild, with a small band of early pioneers. The broken column atop his grave is intentional and symbolizes a life cut short, for after having been and aide to President Jefferson, leading the Lewis and Clark expedition and being Governor of the Louisiana Territory, he perished by gunshot at the age of just 35.

TV
Over-the-air: Yes. I think I scanned something like 12 channels
Cable: No
WiFi: No

RESTROOMS:
RESTROOM RATING: Fail, but only because there was no hot water. Otherwise they were nice. (I assign a Pass or Fail rating based on many considerations including: cleanliness, usability, hot water availability, hand soap availability, ease or difficulty it is to use the toilet paper, condition of fixtures, if using the restroom is a pleasant or unpleasant experience, etc.)
SOAP: Hand soap
TOILETS: Flush
SHOWERS: No

TRASH: Yes
WATER: There is a garden hose threaded spigot by the restroom. The campground road widens there so it may be possible to pull to the side to fill your fresh water tank
LAUNDRY: No
RECYCLING: No

BUGS: There wasn’t any noticeable bug activity when I was there in early April

Chesle Flanigan's Grave
Chesle Flanigan’s grave marked by this headstone is but one of a small number that share Pioneer Cemetery with Meriwether Lewis. Names on the headstones make it clear that several family members of different families are buried here and that they had different national backgrounds,

NEAREST FACILITIES:
Gas: There are a lot of stations in Hohenwald
Dump: See RV Parks below. Cn you dump if not staying there? I don’t know.
Propane: Google shows Ferrelgas at 327 Allison Ave. in Hohenwald but I don’t know if the fill tanks on motorhomes. Phone 256-878-2717 is the phone provided by Google
Groceries: The Hohenwald Walmart has a market
RV Parks: AllStays shows Fall Hollow Campground about 5 miles to the north, 931-796-1480; Many Cedars Campground about the sam to the south, 931-796-4384. I believe these are as-the-crow-flies distances.

The Natchez Trace Parkway
Natchez Trace Parkway in late March near Ackerman Mississippi.

The campground sits on a hilltop and as I wrote this in early April many if not most sites have views through the trees in one or more directions. Once the trees fill out with the new leaves leaves of spring (they were still bare when I was there) those views will likely disappear–the campground is in a forest of deciduous trees.

There are two loops within the campground. Once you enter stay left at the fork in the campground road if you want to be in the loop closest to the restroom.

It was very quiet when I was there. School was in session–there were no children about. It was early spring, probably not peak season, still there weren’t all that many open sites by day’s end.

The terrain of the campground is a little tilty, more so in some places than others. Some of the sites are close to level. I was in #18, a pull-thru that required just a little bit of leveling and was relatively close to the restroom.

The campground has both pull-thrus and back-ins. Some sites can accommodate good size rigs. Right next to me was a 35′ Class A with a car in tow. My site, #18, had ample room for my rig which with my motorcycle carrier on back is about 33′. There was also easily room enough for two cars in addition to my rig. I think it the case that width may be more of a concern here than length. I can see that strategic selection of parking location within any given site may be called for in order to open slides without hitting trees. Slides on opposing sides? You may not be able to open them all the way in some sites.

There are a few hiking trails near the campground. I hiked one I picked up at the end of Campground Road at Little Swan Creek parking area. It dropped down the hill from there and followed  the creek. At some point I turned right following a tributary to the creek, later emerging at Old Spring picnic area which is quite lovely. It was all lovely. The loop was about 3.3 miles and took about 2 hours.

NPS building at Meriwether Memorial
A wooden, log cabin of sorts used by the NPS as something of a visitor center at the Meriwether Lewis Memorial.

Just a mile from the campground is the gravesite of and memorial to Meriwether Lewis of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition also known as the Corps of Discovery. After that famed expedition, as Governor of the Louisiana Territory, Lewis traveled the Old Trace on his way to Washington D.C. and it is within a few steps of his gravesite that he met his untimely death by gunshot. It appears uncertain whether it was murder or suicide. The broken column atop his grave symbolizes a life cut short. He’d been an aide to President Jefferson, leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and Governor of the Louisiana Territory all before his tragic death at the tender age of just 35. Much has been written about the man, or course. A relatively short biography can be found on Wikipedia. During the Lewis and Clark Expedition extensive journals were kept by various members of the party much of which can be here. Ken Burns’ highly acclaimed, must-see documentary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition produced for PBS can be had for a song at my Amazon affiliate link: Lewis & Clark – The Journey of the Corps of Discovery

Section of the original Natchez Trace
This shot represents an idyllic section of the original Natchez Trace, the Old Trace as it is sometimes called. In reality, some sections of the Trace at times were miserable with water and mud, heat, humidity, insects and highwaymen (robbers). Travel was sometimes extremely difficult, even impossible.

Very near the campground are sections of the Old Trace, the original Natchez Trace where, over 200 years ago walked pioneers, robbers, Native Americans, bison and deer; over which marched the army of General Andrew Jackson, and upon which Meriwether Lewis himself did tread. You can walk in the shadows of their footsteps, upon the same earth.

The neighboring town of Hohenwald (pronounced Hornwall by the locals I’m told) is maybe a 15 minute drive and you should be able to find pretty much anything you need there. It is host to a Walmart SuperCenter which, by the way, allows overnight parking of motorhomes. If you cannot snag a spot at Meriwether Lewis Campground the Walmart might make for an acceptable Plan B for a night. From there you could launch early the next morning to lay in wait for an opening at Meriwether.

Related Links:
Natchez State Park Campground
Jeff Busby Campground, Natchez Trace Parkway

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13 thoughts on “Meriwether Lewis Campground, Natchez Trace Parkway, Hohenwald, TN”

  1. Never heard of Hohenwald, TN until we became interested in Oliver Travel Trailers earlier this year. They’re fiberglass TT manufactured in Hohenwald. We visited the area in February right after a big ice storm, so we really didn’t get to see much as many of the businesses were closed and parking lots were still icy. Then I was talking to my hairdresser about taking a trip to Hohenwald and it turns out her father lived there! Small world.

    Thanks for the review of the campground. We may try to stay there when we pick up our Oliver.

    1. It’s a great place to stay if you’ve got business in Hohenwald or if you’re just traveling thru. Now you’ve got me curious about Oliver trailers so I’ll have to check them out.

        1. It’s truly an amazing story. Of course, the fact that people lived at all without our modern day conveniences amazes me. That they crossed the country with no place to buy groceries, for example, no bed to sleep in, no flashlights, no roof over their heads… I could go on.

      1. Been to Meriwether Lewis camp ground many times. It’s my favorite place to camp ⛺. Thanks for the review. I have to agree with your findings.

  2. Thanks for your recent posts on the parks/campgrounds in my area (middle TN). We’ve recently purchased our first small travel trailer and are compiling a list of weekend jaunts within a few hours of home. I appreciate the thorough information you give with each post. Taking the guesswork out of the equation helps considerably! Happy trails…Rhonda

  3. We stayed one night at Meriwether Lewis last August. Very nice GC and the price is right. We were at a site very near the restroom. I would rate them as a 10 – very clean. Did not expect flush toilet let alone a shower.
    The host site had the water on so we filled up there as we were leaving.

  4. We just got home from a trip up the Trace from Narchez to Tupelo. We spent one night at Jeff Busby Campground and found your info to be right on. Now we are planning to complete the rest of the trip and stay a few nights at Meriwether Lewis. Thanks for the detailed info.

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