Event Details

  • Everyday from 03/26/2013 to 05/01/2013

    Location: Russell Cave National Monument Time: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Fee Information: free Contact Name: Keena Graham Contact Email: e-mail us Contact Phone Number: 256-495-2672

2013 year marks the 175th anniversary of the Trail of Tears. This was when Cherokee Indians and bands from other southeastern tribes were removed from their ancestral homes in the east to unfamiliar lands in the west. You’ll be surprised to know that some of the roads we travel, waterways we play in, and places we visit are on the routes used during Indian Removal. Russell Cave National Monument challenges you to visit these places, take pictures of the signs, and send them to ranger Keena Graham at keena_graham@nps.gov, mail them, or visit the park to show proof of completion. The first person to accomplish this challenge will receive a Cherokee-style pot made by nationally known artist, Tammy Beane. Previous challenge winners are excluded.


  • Some of the soldiers associated with the Benge Detachment are believed to have stayed at the Fort Payne Cabin site built by "Spirit the Preacher" in Fort Payne, Alabama.
  • The Benge Route runs through Lake Guntersville State Park in Marshall County.
  • Although, the National Park Service administers the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, this portion of the trail runs through the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge located near Decatur, Alabama.
  • John Ross was born in Turkeytown which some believe may be partially covered by Lake Weiss outside of Centre, Alabama. Take a picture of the lake or the road sign bearing the name of the old town.
  • John Ross, Andrew Ross, and George Lowery persuaded missionaries to develop a second mission near Willstown Cemetery in Fort Payne, Alabama.
  • Fourteen American Indian Nations that were greatly affected by Indian Removal say they descended from the people who lived for 10,000 years continuously at Russell Cave National Monument in Alabama.
  • Although not confirmed, it is believed that a road that came near the Blue Hole at Little River Canyon National Preserve was used to remove 40 Cherokee people during the Trail of Tears.


  • Red Clay served as the seat of government for the Cherokee Nation from 1832-1838.
  • You can find the names of flowers and trees written in the Cherokee language at Audubon Acres in Chattanooga.
  • It is reported that President Monroe visited Brainerd Mission where an old cemetery still exists close to Brainerd Road in Chattanooga.
  • A portion of the Trail of Tears goes through and around Moccasin Bend, one of the only National Archeological Districts in the country.
  • Blythe's Ferry is Located within the Cherokee Removal Memorial Park, this is the place where nine detachments crossed the Tennessee River.
  • There were many "Removal Camps" in the Charleston/Calhoun, Tennessee area near the Hiawassee River. Take a picture of one of the Trail of Tears historic markers.
  • Beautiful medallions lead the way to Ross's Landing in Chattanooga which was one of the "launching" sites of the Trail of Tears.


  • Located near Dalton, Georgia, The Chief Vann House was once the home of two famous Cherokee leaders.
  • The Chieftains Museum in Rome, Georgia, was the home of the Cherokee leader, Major Ridge, who recruited and led troops who fought alongside Andrew Jackson during the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
  • US 411 connects Gadsden, Centre, Rome, and Cartersville. Be sure to take a picture of one of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail signs on this road.
  • The home of John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, is in the town once known as Poplar Spring, Georgia which is now Rossville.
  •  New Echota was the site of the first American Indian language newspaper office.
  • Cedar Town, once known as Beaver Town, was a Cherokee and Creek village where an encampment site was located during the Trail of Tears.


Did You Know?