There is currently six National Park Service Site in Missouri and eight associated sites.
Official National Parks of Missouri
- Gateway Arch National Park (fingers crossed it will be demoted to a National Memorial)
- George Washington Carver National Monument
- Harry S Truman National Historic Site
- Ozark National Scenic Riverways
- Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
- Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
Associated sites of Missouri
- California National Historic Trail
- Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
- Oregon National Historic Trail
- Ozark National Scenic Riverways
- Pony Express National Historic Trail
- Santa Fe National Historic Trail
- Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
- Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
Missouri National Parks
Gateway Arch National Park
(fingers crossed it will be demoted to a National Memorial)
George Washington Carver National Monument
Harry S Truman National Historic Site
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
California National Historic Trail
The California National Historic Trail is a massive 5,000 mile trail and runs thru 10 different states. This trail retraces the overland routes over 250,000 emigrants took to reach the fertile farmlands and famed gold fields of California in the 1840’s and 1850’s.
Unlike some of the other trails of the National Trails System, the California Trail isn’t a single hiking trail. It is a disconnected series of hiking trails, roads, and sites. Many of the US highways follow the wagon trail the settlers created as they rushed to California. Emigrants had a choice of routes across the United States. These trails start in Missouri and Nebraska. The then run thru Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming before splitting into Idaho and Utah. They go thru Nevada and into California and Oregon.
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail follows the route Meriwether Lewis and William Clark took across the United States’ newly purchased territory. The trail starts at Camp Dubois, Illinois and passes thru Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and ends in Washington. The trail is a combination of auto, land and water routes.
The Lewis and Clark expedition started in May 1804 with the goal to find a practical route across the western region of North America. They were to lay claim to these lands to limit European expansion. The expedition was a success. Lewis and Clark crossed the Louisiana purchase and made it to the Pacific Ocean. They recorded the plants, animals, and landscapes as they traveled. They laid the foundations for future relationships with the American Indian tribes of the relationships.
The trail was established on November 10, 1978. There are over 100 stops along the trail.
Oregon National Historic Trail
The Oregon National Historic Trail is often called the Oregon Trail. This 2,170-mile trail was used to travel from Independence, Missouri to Oregon Territory. These men and women headed west to fertile farmlands. The first half of the trail was used by travelers on the California National Historic Trail and the Mormon National Historic Trail.
Roughly 400,000 people packed up their lives into covered wagons to follow the Oregon Trail. Several stops along the Oregon Trail are their own national park sites such as Scotts Bluff National Monument, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, and Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Many other sites are within a couple hours drive of the trail.
Today, the trail runs thru Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. The Oregon National Historic Trail is mostly an autoroute.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Pony Express National Historic Trail
The Pony Express National Historic Trail follows the 1860 and 1861 mail route used by the Pony Express to transport mail between Missouri to California. The Pony Express used a relay of horse-mounted riders. The system was set-up so that riders would ride between 186 Pony Express stations. The stations were between 5-25 miles apart. At each station, the rider would switch to a fresh horse and continue on their journey. The Pony Express reduced the time to for a letter to travel across the US from six months to 10 days. After 18 months of speedy mail delivery, the Pony Express was replaced with the telegraph.
Pony Express National Historic Trail was declared a National Historic Trail on August 3, 1992. Today it is mostly an auto-touring route starting in Missouri and traveling through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Nevada on the way to California. There are sections of the trail where visitors can hike or ride along the trail. The trail is still being developed for tourism but there are several stations and museums along the route so visitors can learn more about the Pony Express.
In Missouri, visitors can explore St. Joseph Riverfront Landing, Patee House, and a Pony Express Stable.
Santa Fe National Historic Trail
Santa Fe National Historic Trail was a freight transportation route from Franklin, Missouri, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The route runs through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico. The trail splits in Kansas into the Mountain Route which heads further west into Colorado before heading south and the Cimarron Cutoff which crosses the Cimarron Desert and goes through Oklahoma. The trail was established in 1822 to encourage trade between the US and Mexico.
Today, visitors to the Santa Fe National Historic Trail is an autoroute. Along the way, there are many local, state and federal sites to explore to learn more about the route and the region’s history. Autograph Rock near Boise City, Oklahoma was an important stopping place as it was one of the few year-round water sources in this region.
Santa Fe National Historic Trail was created in 1987.
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail follows the different routes members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Ponca, and Ho-Chunk/Winnebago nations were forced to march for resettlement as part of the Indian Removal Act. The Trail of Tears follows the four main routes from Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas on their way to Oklahoma.
The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail stands as a reminder of the horrific treatment the American Indians suffered at the hands of the U.S government. It is estimated between 2,000 – 8,000 Cherokee died along the trail (that doesn’t include deaths of any of the other tribes or deaths in the Seminole wats).
Today, visitors to the Trail of Tears can drive any one of the four main autoroutes and visit sites such as the Cherokee County Historical Museum, Brainerd Mission Cemetery, Cherokee National Museum, and Fort Payne Cabin Site to learn more about the journey the American Indians were forced to make and the challenges they faced.
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail was created in 1987.
Things to do in Trail of Tears National Historic Trail: Historical Sites, Museums, auto touring, walking
How to get to Trail of Tears National Historic Trail: The trail follows several routes as it pass through Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma
Where to Stay in Trail of Tears National Historic Trail: There is no lodging on the trail itself, but multiple options are located along the route the trail.
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Entrance Fee: Free
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail Official Website: Click Here
Map of Trail of Tears National Historic Trail: Download
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
View all the National Park Service Sites in neighboring states:
- National Parks of Arkansas
- National Parks of Illinois
- National Parks of Iowa
- National Parks of Kansas
- National Parks of Kentucky
- National Parks of Nebraska
- National Parks of Oklahoma
- National Parks of Tennessee
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