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Trail of Tears State Park
429 Moccasin Springs
Jackson, MO 63755
Phone: (573) 290-5268
Directions: From I-55: Take exit #155 (Fruitland/Jackosn exit) off of I-55. Follow US Hwy 61 North for 1 mile, then turn right onto MO Hwy 177. Follow MO Hwy 177 for 11.5 miles to the park, staying right at 7.4 miles. The entrance will be on your left.
From Cape Girardeau: Follow Big Bend Rd/MO Hwy 177 North out of town approx 10 miles to the park, which will be on your right.
About Trail of Tears
The Indian Removal Act of 1830, passed by president Andrew Jackson, called for the removal of American Indians living east of the Mississippi River to relocate west of the Mississippi River. Trail of Tears State Park commemorates the Cherokee Indian removal portion of the event.
During the winter of 1838-39, more than 16,000 Cherokees were forced from their homes to march West nearly a thousand miles to Indian Territory, which is present-day Oklahoma. Most of them crossed the Mississippi River and traveled through Cape Girardeau County, where Trail of Tears State Park is located. Battling harsh winter conditions, disease, exposure and starvation, it is estimated that over 4,000 Cherokee lost their lives during the march, almost a fourth of their population.
Trail of Tears State Park is located along the Trail of Tears National Historic trail, and is a certified site along the trail. Many exhibits and features in the park's visitor center help explain the relocation, as well as the park's natural and other historical features.
Located right on the Mississippi River, the native woodlands and hills look much the same as they did to the Cherokee nearly 200 years ago. Abundant wildlife can be found within the park, and the bluffs along the river sometimes offer winter roosting sites for bald eagles.
Two camping areas are offered in the park, a basic/primitive camping area located in the wooded area of the park, and semi-modern sites with electricity are located near the river. Facilities include restrooms, showers, laundry, and a dump station. A primitive camping area near the Peewah Trail is also available for backpackers.
Fishing can be tried in either the Mississippi River, or the park's 20 acre Lake Boutin. The river offers catfish, carp and perch, while the lake is stocked with bass, bluegill and catfish. The lake is also popular with activities such as swimming and canoeing, and numerous picnic sites are scatered around the lake.
Features & Facilities
Visitor Center | Exhibits | Observation Deck | Amphitheater | Pavilions | Picnic Area/Tables | Playground | Swimming Beach | Campground | Group Camping | Restrooms | Showers | Laundry | Dump Station | Launch Ramp
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