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Trail Of Tears State Forest Camping

At Trail Of Tears State Park

Hiking Trail of Tears State Forest in Southern Illinois

Trail of Tears State Park offers basic, electric and sewer/electric/water campsites and a special-use camping area.

You are now able to reserve your Missouri State Parks campsite up to 12 months in advance, expanding from the previous six-month window. To make a reservation or view campsites details, photos and availability, go to the reservation website by clicking the “Make a Reservation” link below and start planning your trip today. Reservations may also be made by calling toll free 877-ICampMO . Printable campground maps are available for your reference by clicking the “Map” links.

Click here for a guide to the symbols.

Important Camping Information:
  • Reservable sites may be available on a day-by-day basis if the site is not reserved. Before occupying a site, check with the park staff or follow the directions on the posted card.
  • During the off-season , water is off for full hookup sites, and showerhouses are closed. Potable water is available from the frost-free spigot at the dump station.
  • The railroad near the Mississippi River Campground is still active.
  • Campers planning to carry in firewood must comply with current firewood advisories.
Other Types of Camping Areas Available in the Park:

Trail Of Tears State Forest Loop Trail

Head out on this 10.0-km loop trail near Jonesboro, Illinois. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 2 h 42 min to complete. This trail is great for birding, camping, and hiking, and it’s unlikely you’ll encounter many other people while exploring. The trail is open year-round and is beautiful to visit anytime. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

The trail is very nice right now! Not many parts are overgrown and theres a lot of fallen leaves and stick coverage. Saw one small nonvenomous grass snake slithering down the middle of the trail though!


Nice wide trail. Southern Illinois is filled with poison ivy so that is expected. It is well marked except at the bottoms of the big hills. Just do some bushwacking to the top of the ridge.


This trail had well maintained areas and areas the trail really needed a once over. there were two points we got really turned around. The trail is beautiful with a mostly wide path good enough for two or 3 people to walk with. be careful of the horse poop though.

We started at Fire Trail 31 N and wanted to go do a loop through the trails on the north side. Hiking was good, but signage got tricky at one point and we got lost, so we just turned around and went back the way we came. Overall, nice hiking and good wide trails.


I was disappointed, it is very overgrown and not an enjoyable hike. We actually stopped and turned around.

Camp In The Trail Of Tears State Forest

Jonesboro, Illinois

Added by Lucas Bremer

Enjoy the solitude of Illinois’ Ozark Hills.

Trail of Tears State Forest lies within one of the most rugged landscapes in Illinois. The hills are steep, and the soil is shallow and susceptible to erosion. Cliffs are all around and streams with gravel bottoms are in the narrow forest filled valleys.

In 1838-39 the Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaw nations were forced by the U.S. Army to move from the southeast to reservations in Oklahoma Territory. They wintered here in primitive camps. Bitter cold and starvation claimed hundreds of lives. The cruel trek came to be known as the “Trail of Tears.” The State Forest’s name memorializes the tragic event.

The CCC constructed many of the stonework stabilization walls and log stone shelters within the picnic area and along the Forest roads.

The Trail of Tears State Forest of today encompasses 5114 acres administered by the Illinois Division of Land Management. The nursery is operated by the Division of Forest Resources.

Both Class C and Class D camping sites are available at the State Forest. Some locations have log shelters with adjacent privies. Group camping is available at a few sites. The forest’s gravel roads are closed to vehicles from December 24 through the end of the spring wild turkey hunting season . All camping access is by foot only during that period .

More information on camping and enjoying the state forest can be found here.

Also Check: Camping On Blm Land Montana

Trail Of Tears National Historic Trail

Looking for ways to explore history with kids this summer? Consider visiting the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, just south of Jonesboro.

The Trail of Tears commemorates the forcible removal of more than 16,000 Cherokee, black slaves and other tribes from their homelands to Oklahoma in 1838 and 1839. The impact to these people was devastating. Hundreds of Cherokee died from cold and hunger during the trip west, and thousands more perished from the consequences of relocation.

Recent improvements made near Hamburg Hill, located south of Jonesboro, include a visitor parking area and restroom. The Forest Service will continue restoration work later this year and install new interpretive signs. This work is being completed, in part, through National Park Service Connect Trails to Parks funding.

The Jonesboro and Vienna offices recently acquired the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail cancellation stamp for the Passport to Your National Parks Program, led by the National Park Service. The program began in 1986, with the passport book and cancellation stamp serving as a record of park visits. Today, the cancellation stamps are available at nearly all 417 National Park units and several affiliated sites, such as Shawnee National Forest. Visit the trail and get your passport stamped at either national forest offices.

Trail Of Tears State Forest

Photo of Camp in the Trail of Tears State Forest

Set among the rugged slopes of the Ozark Hills in Southern Illinois, this site offers picnic shelters with roadside fireplaces throughout the forest. Features a network of trails for hiking and horseback riding enthusiasts.


Trail of Tears State Forest is situated in western Union County, five miles northwest of Jonesboro and 20 miles south of Murphysboro. Just over 5,000 acres are within the state forest.

Set among the rugged slopes of the Ozark Hills in Southern Illinois, this site offers picnic shelters with roadside fireplaces throughout the forest. Features a network of trails for hiking and horseback riding enthusiasts.

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