The Gordon House and Ferry site on the Natchez Trace Parkway is a good afternoon drive and hike for a get away from Nashville, Brentwood, or Franklin.
The house it located at mile marker 407.7, which is approximately 33 miles south of the Natchez Trace Bridge over Highway 96.
The Gordon House is one of the few remaining buildings associated with the old Natchez Trace. The home, a federal style, two story brick building was built in 1818 by Captain John Gordon. Gordon made an arrangement with the Chickasaw Chief George Colbert to operate a trading post and ferry on the Duck River.
The house was a landmark for travelers heading North, it indicated they were getting close to the roads end, Nashville. After his death in 1819 Gordon’s wife Dolly continued to run the ferry and homestead until her death in 1859. The ferry continued to operate until 1896 when a bridge was built over the Duck River.
The site has picnic tables and a rest room. If you walk past the house, down the hill, then across the field to a creek there is an approximately ½ mile long trail that meanders through the woods to the old ferry site.
If you choose to take the trail be sure you have some bug repellent, and are ready to do some rock jumping across the little creek. The trail is an easy walk, though when we hiked it, was not well maintained or marked.
After crossing the creek you go uphill through the woods and then down into a field of tall grass.
You will see a sign that tells about the ferry site and you can walk a few hundred feet to the Duck River. Watch out for exposed roots, be careful as it would be easy to catch your foot and trip or twist an ankle.
Along the river bank you may see mussel shells, the Duck River is one of the most biologically rich and diverse rivers in North America. This diversity includes over 60 species of mussels, 151 fish species, and 22 aquatic snail species.