CAMPGROUND NAME: Meriwether Lewis
LOCATION: Natchez Trace Parkway, Hohenwald, TN
KIND: National Park
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)
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.
PULL THRU: 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
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
Over-the-air: Yes. I think I scanned something like 12 channels
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
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
BUGS: There wasn’t any noticeable bug activity when I was there in early April
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 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.
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
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.