Plan Your Visit
RETRACE THE TRAIL
The sites on Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, stretching 5,043 miles across nine states, together form a journey of compassion and understanding. The trail commemorates the forced removal of Cherokee from their homelands; the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments followed westward; and the revival of the Cherokee Nation. We encourage you to retrace the trail on foot, by vehicle, over water, by bicycle or horse—to sacred sites that tell the story of suffering and intolerance, but just as important, one of survival.
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail passes through the present-day states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Due to the trail's length, you may decide to travel its entirety or just one or two sites. Take time to plan your trip to meet your needs. View the brochure and maps to learn more about the locations of Trail of Tears sites.
To assist with planning your visit, go to PLACES TO GO for an interactive map with trail sites and a list of sites by state. Go to the PUBLICATIONS page to print trail brochures. Go to the MULTIMEDIA page to access film, exhibits, and a photo gallery.
Travel and tourism information is available by phone or on the Internet at the websites listed below.
Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel 800-252-2262
Southern Illinois Tourism Council 800-342-3100
North Carolina Travel and Tourism 800-847-4862
Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department 800-652-6552
Trail of Tears Guidebooks
There is no standard, widely-recognized guidebook that today's travelers can use to follow the main Trail of Tears routes (between the southern Appalachian Mountains and Oklahoma) and that help travelers locate important historical sites, trail segments, and interpretive sites along the way. The following books, however, collectively provide a substantial amount of trail-related site information.
Department of Arkansas Heritage, Heritage Trail, a Guide to Historic Arkansas Trails: Butterfield Trail, Civil War Trails, Southwest Trail, Trail of Tears (Little Rock, the author), 2012.
Duncan, Barbara R., and Brett H. Riggs, Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook (Chapel Hill, Museum of the Cherokee Indian and University of North Carolina Press), 2003.
Fitzgerald, David, and Duane H. King, Cherokee Trail of Tears (Portland, Oregon, Graphic Arts Books), 2007.
Gilbert, Joan, Trail of Tears Across Missouri (Columbia, University of Missouri Press), 1996.
Latch, Darrell, The Trail of Tears through Arkansas and Oklahoma (Tuscola, Illinois, Son Light Power), 2007.
National Park Service, Trail of Tears National Historic Trail: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Comprehensive Management and Use Plan, 2 volumes (Denver, the author), 1992.
Rozema, Vicki, Footsteps of the Cherokees, a Guide to the Eastern Homelands of the Cherokee Nation (Winston-Salem, North Carolina, John F. Blair), 1995.
Tennessee Division of Archaeology, The Trail of Tears in Tennessee: a Study of the Routes Used During the Cherokee Removal of 1838 (Nashville, the author), 2001.