Description - **This information provided by www.mostateparks.com**
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 park’s grounds. Legend says that Nancy Bushyhead Hildebrand died and was buried within the park’s boundaries. The Bushyhead Memorial is a tribute to all the Cherokee who died on the trail. The park’s visitor center features exhibits that interpret the forced relocation, as well as the park’s 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 park’s 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.
- Trail of Tears SP Campground Information
Trail of Tears State Park offers basic, electric and electric, water and sewer campsites and a special-use camping area. Services include reservable sites, a dump station, showers, water and laundry.
Mississippi River Campground is open year-round. Lake Boutin Campground is open daily May through September and on weekends only during October and April.
For reservations, there is a required two-night minimum stay for weekends and major holidays from May 15 through Sept. 15.
The special-use area is by reservation only for group camping. It offers campers a large area to set up multiple tents, vault toilets, picnic tables and a fire pit. This area does not have water or showers. Campers may use the facilities in the Lake Boutin Campground. Camping capacity is 40 campers and/or 10 cars. A $1 per camper per night fee is charged. Check-in is 3 p.m. and check-out is 3 p.m. the following day. Contact the park office at (573) 334-1711 to make your reservations for the special-use area.
Park Gate Information
Park gates close at 10 p.m. during the on-season. During November and March, gates close at 9 p.m. From December through February, gates close at 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Campers need to be sure to arrive prior to gate closure times.
Recreation - Fishing
Anglers can cast their lines in the Mississippi River, which offers catfish, perch and carp. Twenty-acre Lake Boutin is stocked with bass, bluegill and catfish. Day usage is from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. April through October; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. November and March; and December through February 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Visitors must have a valid Missouri fishing license in order to fish in these areas.
There are two concrete boat launches within the park. One launch accesses Lake Boutin (electric motors only) while the other accesses the Mississippi River (becomes unusable when the river level gets to 13 feet or below). Day usage is from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. April through October; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. November and March; and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday December through February.
Numerous picnic sites are scattered throughout the park. There are also two picnic shelters available for use. If not reserved, the shelters are available at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis.
Greens Ferry Shelter is the smaller of the two shelters. This shelter is near the Bushyhead Memorial and can seat approximately 40 adults. It has vault toilets, a fireplace and six tables. It can be reserved for $25 per day.
Wescoat Shelter can seat approximately 100 people. It has modern restrooms, water, electricity, lights, two fireplace grills, 14 tables and a playground nearby. (Warning: has potential for flooding March - June). Wescoat Shelter can be reserved for $40 per day.
Two playgrounds are located within the park. One is located next to Wescoat Shelter and the other is in the lake picnic area.
Visitors can cool off at the beach on Lake Boutin. Day usage is from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Trail of Tears State Park offers 14.5 miles of trail within the park's 3415-acres.
Peewah Trail -- 10 miles
Peewah is an Indian word meaning "come follow in this direction." This trail offers visitors access to the most remote areas of the park. Winding through Indian Creek Wild Area, this trail is approximately 10 miles long and is open to hikers, backpackers and equestrian riders. The trail is divided into four different sections by following various loops of the trail. The green section takes visitors to an overlook located along the Mississippi River and is approximately 1.5-miles round trip. The yellow loop is 3.4 miles and meanders along the Mississippi for a short distance. The red loop is a little under six miles.
Sheppard Point Trail -- 2 miles
This trail is a two-mile loop trail that ascends to the top of a beautiful bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. The trail is considered difficult and is open only to hikers due to the rugged terrain.
Lake Trail -- 2 miles
The picturesque Lake Trail winds around the basic campground and along a portion of Lake Boutin for approximately two miles.
Nature Trail -- 0.5 miles
Nature Trail is the shortest trail in the park. Visitors have spotted white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits and gray squirrels while hiking along this easy trail.
Climate - Missouri experiences four distinct seasons with an average yearly temperature of 54 degrees F. Summer temperatures reach 90 degrees F often and are plagued with high humidity levels. Nighttime lows during the summer dip slightly near 70 degrees. September brings cooler fall weather with less humidity. By October nights begin to cool significantly and the fall foliage changes to brilliant hues of orange, red and yellow. Winter months bring an average of 24 inches of snow and normal temperatures average between 20 and 45 degrees F. Spring is characterized by wet weather with temperatures reaching between 32 and 60 degrees F.
429 Moccasin Springs
Jackson, MO 63755