Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
The Forced Relocation of the Cherokee Nation
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the removal in 1838 of the Cherokee Nation and the paths that 17 Cherokee detachments followed westward (plus members of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole tribes from its ancestral homeland in parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama to land set aside for American Indians in what is now the state of Oklahoma. Roughly 100,000 Indians were forcibly removed from tribal lands. The picture shown here was taken in Tennessee.
The Cherokee's journey by water and land was over a thousand miles long, The impact to the Cherokee was devastating. Hundreds died during their trip west, and thousands more perished from the consequences of relocation. This chapter in American and Cherokee history became known as the Trail of Tears, and culminated the implementation of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which mandated the removal of all American Indian tribes east of the Mississippi River to lands in the West.
Today the trail encompasses about 2,200 miles of land and water routes, and traverses portions of nine states.
The National Park Service, in partnership with other federal agencies, state and local agencies, non-profit organizations, and private landowners, administers the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Participating national historic trail sites display the official trail logo.
The Trail of Tears Association is a major partner with the National Park Service dedicated to the preservation, public awareness, and appreciation of the Trail of Tears.