Can you muster some of the pioneering pluck that’s come to define Independence? Our collection of walking tours will have you out on the trails, introducing you to the places where our history was made. From pioneers and the Civil War to a former US president, we offer five complete walking tours that you’re sure to enjoy.
Truman Historic Walking Trail
Throughout his life, Independence’s own former President Harry S. Truman would keep a brisk pace everywhere he went. To honor his love of walking and history, we’ve put together the Truman Historic Walking Trail. Comprising 44 stops, this comprehensive walking tour features important places (and even two trees) in the life of America’s 33rd president.
Missouri Mormon Walking Trail
In the 1830s, situated at the very western edge of America, Independence attracted people from all walks of life. To a certain religious body, popularly known as the Mormons, Independence represented Zion. The Missouri Mormon Walking Trail tells the story of the Latter-day Saints in Independence from 1831 to 1833.
African-American Historic Sites of Independence
Since pioneer days, African-Americans have been an important thread in the fabric of Independence. African-American Historic Sites of Independence introduces you to those figures, like Hiram Young, a legendary ox yoke and wagon maker; Sam Shepard, a slave chosen to build the first county courthouse; and James Boldridge, a renowned horse trainer and breeder.
Civil War Sites of Independence
On August 11, 1862, a company of Confederate soldiers attacked Union soldiers stationed on and around the Independence Square, marking one of the earliest urban battles in the Civil War. Two years later, on October 21 and 22, 1864, another engagement that started outside town near the Little Blue River spilled into the city. This battle involved a combined 15,000 soldiers. Civil War Sites of Independence recounts both of these Civil War battles.
During the day, our historic sites are calm, quiet, and beautiful. At night, however, places like the Vaile Mansion, Bingham-Waggoner Estate, and 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home & Museum are said to be haunted. The Paranormal Path connects you to each of these three places, so that you can decide for yourself whether they’re haunted or hyped. As seen on Travel Channel’s Haunted Towns, the Vaile Mansion boasts a rarely told history as a local sanatorium. Chance an encounter with the “blushing bride” at the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, with original furnishings. Walk through the limestone cells at the 1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home & Museum, where Civil War-era criminals were held in the same building that the jailer and his family called home.
Pioneer Trails Adventures
If a walking tour isn’t for you, check out Pioneer Trails Adventures. These five-star, mule-drawn wagon tours are a quintessential Independence experience. Take a trip back in time and travel the same streets as early pioneer settlers, Frank and Jesse James, Civil War generals, former President Truman, and more—all from inside a covered wagon.