Trail of Tears Itinerary

Learn More about Pulaski County, in central Missouri.

Waynesville’s lush Laughlin Park, along the Roubidoux Creek, played a part in one of the most tragic periods in American history, The Trail of Tears.  From 1837 to 1839 the US Government forced the Cherokee and four other Indian nations to leave their homelands and relocate to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma.  Along their trek of over 5,000 miles, some camped along the Roubidoux Creek.   

Stop 1 Cherokee Encampment

The City of Waynesville partnered with the National Park Service to establish a memorial alongside a concrete walking trail.  Memorial storyboards are placed throughout the park bring to light the history of the area and the trial and tribulations of the Cherokee.  Just to the left of the memorial, there is a rural pathway that weaves along the river, leading to the Roubidoux Spring.  This spring bubbles and gurgles with an average of 37 million gallons of freshwater a day.  You will often meet up with cave-certified scuba divers from around the world that access the underwater cave, through an entry below the boardwalk.  The spring is also a favorite swimming hole for locals.   On occasion, you will meet up with fly-fishermen that will share a story or two, and folks kayaking the riverway.  This area of Pulaski County is one of those hidden gems of Pulaski County. Open Year Round. No appointment is necessary.

Stop 2 – Museums

As you meander the town of Waynesville, download the Waynesville Walking Tour Brochure or interactive map, which features historic information and imagery. 

The Museums in downtown Waynesville, Old Stagecoach Stop House, and the Pulaski County Courthouse Museum feature exhibits and information on the Trail of Tears along with Civil War and local history.  The County Courthouse features an extensive arrowhead collection you won’t want to miss.  The museums are open Saturdays from 10 AM-4 PM.  Call ahead for availability.

Stop 3 – Heritage Cultural Arts Center

As you continue to learn more about the Trail of Tears, book time at the Heritage Cultural Arts Center (417 Route 66 West, Waynesville). Located just east of the Roubidoux Bridge.  Your hosts will share their knowledge of the Native American people, their traditions, and their way of life.  They also own the Trail of Tears & Herb Gardens, near Jerome Missouri, just east of Pulaski County.  This amazing property features unique rock and concrete figures on display across the hillside. This unique stop was originally created by Larry Baggett and recently restored by Marie. Call ahead for an appointment.