Land Routes Most Cherokees took the northern route. The route lead through central Tennessee, southwestern Kentucky, and southern Illinois. The groups crossed the Mississippi north of Cape Girardeau in Missouri, then traveled through southern Missouri and western Arkansas. Many died because of diseases, lack of water and bad road conditions. All land routes usually ended near Westville, Oklahoma. There were many more different land routes taken by only a few people. Through their trip, Cherokees had problems with illnesses.
Northern Route (blue/Red)
Bell Route (brown)
Benge Route (purple)
Water Route (in Green) This route was taken by three groups, in total 2,800 Cherokees. The first group left on June 6 and reached the territory after 13 days. All groups started at Ross's Landing at the Tennessee River. They used boats to travel to the Ohio River. They then took this river southward, which took them to the Mississippi River. From there they moved through the Arkansas River westwards. They arrived near Fort Coffee. The second and third group had a lot of problems with diseases, so their trip took longer.