Park Trails

at Trail of Tears State Park

Peewah Trail

  • Backpacking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding

Length: 9 Miles View map

Trail Rating: Rugged

Peewah Trail explores Indian Creek Wild Area, a 1,300-acre area located in one of the most rugged areas of the Mississippi River hills. The Mississippi River, along with Indian Creek and small tributaries, dissect the surrounding loess-covered hills, creating a maze of ravines and side hollows. Majestic hardwood forests of white oak, tulip poplar and hickory cover the hills. Floodplain forests along Indian Creek contain large sweet gums and willows, while junglelike areas thick with wild grapevines abound within the lowlands. Spring wildflowers bloom in abundance along the ridges and deep within the hollows. Nearby, majestic limestone bluffs tower above the river.   

Visitors can follow this trail into one of the most remote parts of the park and experience a sense of solitude devoid of the sights and sounds of everyday life. The trail consists of two loops with a short connector trail between the two. The east loop traverses the ridges of the area and runs atop the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. A short spur leads to an overlook of the Mississippi River for a 1.5-mile round trip from the main trailhead to the overlook. The yellow trail runs along the Mississippi River bluffs for a period before dropping down into a valley with several creek bed crossings. The bottomland along the creek is full of wildflowers in the spring and also contains giant cane. This area is subject to backwater flooding depending upon the water level of the Mississippi River, and portions of the trail may be under water at times. The trail has a steep climb out of the valley back up to the ridge top.  At this point, white connector 1 connects to the trail’s west loop for a longer hike. 

The west loop traverses several valleys and ridges and showcases a variety of forest types. There are sections of dry cherty soils with lots of oaks and hickories as well as bottomland areas with large sycamore and sweet gum trees and an abundance of ferns. Damage from a 2003 tornado can still be seen in the open areas. These areas are slowly regenerating with new plants and trees. Steep drainages empty rainwater into Indian Creek and flash flooding may occur. Some backwater flooding can occur when the water level of the Mississippi River is high. At times, a small portion of the trail may be under water.

White connector 2 divides the west loop and provides access to a backpack camp. Groups of seven or more must camp in this area. The camp contains no improvements or water. No open fires are allowed; backpacking stoves must be carried to the campsite for cooking. Backpackers should notify park staff of any intentions to camp there. 

Peewah Trail can be slippery during wet conditions. Hikers may encounter ticks, poison ivy, briars and downed trees as well as see white-tailed deer, turkey, eagles and snakes. The Overlook Road gate will be closed daily at the assigned times. Equestrians with larger trailers may park on the grass outside the overlook gate at the entrance to the west (red) loop. Equestrians should take care not to travel on the trail when conditions are wet and use caution while riding on the bluffs above the river. Equestrian camping is not allowed.

You may experience:

  • Natural surface, dirt, mud, gravel, shifting rocks, slippery surface, etc.
  • Rocks, roots and/or downed vegetation on trail        
  • Low hanging vegetation
  • Steep grades and inclines more than 10 percent
  • Bluffs or drop-offs next to trail
  • Water/stream crossings without bridges
  • Occasional water over trail
Find the trailhead on the park map
Missouri State Parks Trail Rules and Etiquette
West Loop
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
5.75 Miles 5 hours, 45 minutes Loop Red

East and West Loop trailheads are located along Overlook Road

East Loop
Length Estimated Hiking Time Type Blazes Trailhead
3.25 Miles 3 hours, 15 minutes Loop Yellow East and West Loop trailheads are located along Overlook Road