Uncover the Stories along the Trail of Tears

A dark time in our country's past, the Trail of Tears coincided with the efforts to relocate eastern tribes to lands west of the Mississippi River. The materials provided below can connect classrooms with the hardships and heartbreak experienced during relocation.


There are a variety of lessons and activities for grades 4-12. The historic trail lessons are an essential lens to understanding the perspectives, pathways and intersections of emigrants, American Indians, white settlers, soldiers and traders throughout the early to late 19th century. We encourage you to incorporate these lessons into your classroom as you deem fit.

We highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with:

Through the portal, you will have full access to NPS recommended lessons and activities that align with Common Core and State Standards. Simply use the search engine and type in "Old Spanish National Historic Trail." Some of these lessons are credited to teachers in local communities, while others link to partner websites and associated trail sites along the Old Spanish Trail.

National Historic Trails Lesson Plan

This 3-5 day lesson focuses on the skills of collaboration and presentation in an effort to teach students about the content and concepts along nine of the national historic trails. The purpose of this is to have them not only research and understand, but also think critically about the pathways and perspectives of trail travelers. This multiday lesson plan was created by a Colorado teacher for national historic trails (see below).

Two people retrace the trail through a deciduous forest

Partner Lesson Plans

Kentucky Educational Television offers educational essays, videos, and lesson plans connecting the national park sites in the state.

Last updated: April 15, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

National Trails Office Regions 6|7|8
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
1100 Old Santa Fe Trail

Santa Fe , NM 87505


505 988-6098

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