If lost souls are doomed to eternal wandering, you’ll find a crowd in Vicksburg National Cemetery: Of the 17,000 Union soldiers interred here, most are unidentified, their bodies buried where they fell in battle, then exhumed and transferred here. Snag a free trail guide (PDF) for this loop, and follow orange and white blazes across former battle lines to stirring monuments like the Missouri State Memorial (mile 2.5), where opposing regiments from the same state battled one another. At mile five, enter the 116-acre cemetery and wander its rows of weathered headstones on a hill 200 feet above the Mississippi. Continue 7.5 miles over hardwood-forested ridges to a half-dozen more memorials and the Confederate surrender site (mile 11). (601-636-0583, nps.gov/vick)
Please note: this trail is for hikers only. No bikes, horses, or motorized vehicles allowed.
GPS data courtesy of Vickburg NMP
- Distance: 17.4
Location: 32.344656, -90.852073
Start from the Visitor Center.
Location: 32.346737, -90.851418
Just past the fourth tablet, you will see the second WTP marking the entrance back into the woods. Follow the trail down the ridge at a compass heading of 80 degrees.
Location: 32.349616, -90.849415
Enter the woods, following the ridge, heading slightly northeast.
Location: 32.352043, -90.848237
Enter the woods and descend the ridge to the east.
Location: 32.36317, -90.844635
The guns here were commanded by Captain John Wesley Powell. Follow the trail to the bottom of the hill.
Location: 32.375076, -90.867448
Cemetery. Approximately 17,000 Union dead are buried here, plus another 1,200 dead from later American wars. Only 4,000 of these Union soldiers have been identified; the rest are unknown.
Location: 32.377179, -90.855688
The post marking the entrance to the woods is located just before the 46th Ohio Infantry monument. Enter the woods heading northeast.
Location: 32.374262, -90.838979
Go into the woods to the southwest until you get to the bottom of the ravine.
Location: 32.362255, -90.84052
After crossing the bridge, you will see the
sixteenth WTP on the right marking the entrance back into the woods. Follow the old roadbed to the bottom of the hill and stay basically in the bottom headed west.
Location: 32.35345, -90.846756
At the far end of the mowed area, you will find the seventeenth WTP and Milepost 11.5
marking your re-entry to the woods. Right next to the WTP you will see a position marker for the 93d Illinois Infantry. Your hike ends at the Visitor Center, which represents Milepost 12.5 of the trail.