We’re doing another review of a Thousand Trails campground due to the unique features and experience at this RV park. We had planned to be at Natchez Trace Wilderness Preserve for the last two weeks of May but only stayed one night. While this park has many things going for it, there was one aspect that was a total deal breaker for us. First, let’s review the basics.
Natchez Trace Wilderness Preserve is a HUGE campground located about 1.5 hours south west of Nashville, TN. The park is very spread out and much of it is on the banks of Dan Maddox Lake, a small fishing lake. The distance from the front gate to our camp site was over 2 miles! We were impressed by how well the park was managed and the tremendous engagement of park staff.
Most of the sites at the park, are allocated to long-term / annual lease holders. The majority of sites are 30 amp with only water hook up. And while there are very few 50 amp / full hookup sites, there is no extra charge for 50 amp service. Most sites are sized for rigs less than 35′ and include picnic tables, and fire rings are at a few sites. The site surfaces vary from gravel, to concrete, to asphalt and are mostly level. There is adequate room between sites, but the utility services on many of the sites are positioned very far forward so that you will have to run your electric cord, water and sewer lines pretty far. That said, there was great tree cover for ample shade. In addition to campsites, cabins are available for rent. After getting set-up, we discovered there were additional 50 amp / full hookup sites near the boat rental area that were not shown on the map, but these sites were in total sun.
There are many amenities and an abundance of activities. There’s a seasonal pool in very good condition with ample seating but no shade. There is a children’s playground along with a mini golf course. The lodge buildings and recreational hall are in good condition and clean with attractive, if somewhat dated, decor. These buildings also have functional WiFi. The activities calendar is full of numerous planned activities for both adults and children. Examples include karaoke, casino night, bingo, Pokemon club, hog roast, bonfires, coffee socials, crafting, and many more. There is good access to lake activities through canoe and kayak rentals as well as a boat ramp with fish cleaning station.
It’s generally very quiet through the park during the week, but because the park is mostly populated by seasonal, long-term site holders, the weekends are very busy. Golf cart and razor vehicle use is common since the distances to the amenities and activities are very long. There are several group event venues scattered throughout the park which brings in additional traffic for weddings, family reunions, etc. The camp store stocks some food and drink items and also offers a grill with breakfast and lunch selections for convenience. Otherwise, it’s a 20- minute scenic drive to the small town of Hohenwald for supplies.
The park’s location is very much off the beaten path and there are limited activities outside the park. Historic sites of the upper Natchez Trace are nearby along with a number of hikes to waterfalls and mines. You can access Nashville for a day trip, and there are several wineries and distilleries in the region. This is a good place to go if you’re looking to relax and just enjoy what the park has to offer.
The only significant draw back of this RV park is the lack of ANY cell signal – it is truly a total black out. We do understand that for many people lack of cell signal is not necessarily a bad thing. However, with our businesses and the projects we had planned for that time, we could not be without connectivity. After a few days at a private park near I-65, we decided to spend most of the last two weeks of May boondocking at Meriwether Lewis Campground. We did have some cell signal there and were able to accomplish what we needed to during our stay.
My lesson in this experience is to check reviews with Campendium and AllStays. We have stayed at several Thousand Trails parks and feel that most are at least adequate for our needs. I never expected that cell signal would be an issue in that part of Tennessee. After the fact, I did look at Campendium and saw that many reviewers reported on the poor cell service in the area. Had I checked before hand, I could have saved us a bunch of hassle.
All in all, we give Natchez Trace Wilderness Preserve a “B” and would readily stay there again — if we’re able to be without cell signal.
For a printable summary of this review, click HERE.
Please see this post for more understanding of how we rate campgrounds: Our Idea of a Perfect Campground
We welcome your comments or questions about this campground below.