The tragic history that gives Trail of Tears State Park its name provides a sharp contrast to the peaceful, serene setting and the abundance of recreational opportunities enjoyed by visitors today. The 3,415-acre park is a memorial to the Cherokee Indians that lost their lives in a forced relocation, as well as a place for visitors to participate in a variety of outdoor adventures. The park is located on the site where nine of 13 groups of Cherokee Indians crossed the Mississippi River in harsh winter conditions in 1838-39. Thousands lost their lives on the trail, including dozens on or near the parks grounds. Legend says that Nancy Bushyhead Hildebrand died and was buried within the parks boundaries. The Bushyhead Memorial is a tribute to all the Cherokee who died on the trail. The parks visitor center features exhibits that interpret the forced relocation, as well as the parks many natural features. Today, numerous picnic sites are scattered throughout the park and campsites are available in a wooded area and near the river. Anglers can cast their lines in either the Mississippi River or the 20-acre Lake Boutin, stocked with bass, bluegill and catfish. The parks numerous trails offer opportunities for hiking, backpacking, primitive camping and equestrian pursuits. In winter, the bluffs and cliffs along the river are noted as roosting sites for bald eagles. An accessible overlook provides a majestic view of the river and beyond.

We had a great time on this trail. Not advisable on hiking it in tennis shoes. Hiking boots and pants are best as you brush across different plants and come in contact with spiders and other insects. Beautiful view of the Mississippi River at 1.5 miles in. We completed the trail in roughly 1.5 hours without stopping. To really take in the views expect 2 to 2.5 hours.

great challenging terrain at spots and several scenic views

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

This trail is open. Nice new bridge at the beginning. Plenty of parking at trailhead as there is a pavilion for picnicing there. As other reviewers have said, it is an out and back. Parts of it are very steep so you get a good workout. The recommendation to wear bug spray is spot on. The views of the river are spectacular and a nice reward after a challenging climb.

The visitors' center at the entrance to the park is nice too.

hiking
4 months ago

Go on a date/time when you know someone else has already hiked, or you will be kissing spider webs every 10'. It's a great trail though!!

trail running
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

No longer a loop trail. It's an out and back, so 3 miles total(1.5 out, 1.5 back). A good trail especially if you look and turn things over as we saw a snake, newts, lizards, mole, mouse, and salamanders. A good workout too but make sure to bring bug spray.