National Frontier Trails Museum

Planning a Visit

museum exterior There's plenty to do at the Frontier Trails Museum. Watch a film in our theater, tour the exhibits, see real wagon ruts, or enjoy a wagon ride. Check our calendar of events for other activities.

The museum is located at
318 W. Pacific Ave.
Independence, MO 64050


Adults $6.00
Seniors (62 and older) $5.00
Youth (6-17) $3.00
Children 5 and younger are free.
For group fees, contact us at  (816) 325-7575.

Museum Hours

9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday - Saturday
12:30 - 4:30 p.m. Sunday

Merrill J. Mattes Research Library Hours

9 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday - Friday, by appointment only


The museum is located south of the Historic Independence Square, 3.3 miles North of I-70.
Personalize your directions using Mapquest.

Group Tours

The museum welcomes your group tour. For group tour information and bookings, contact the Independence Tourism Department.


Film and Exhibits

Begin your visit by viewing the museum's award winning film, "West." This 17-minute film gives an overview of America's westward expansion.

The museum's exhibit gallery recreates the story of those who traveled the trails by using quotes from journals and diaries, original illustrations, and artifacts they left behind. The exhibits also include the explorations of Lewis and Clark, the vital role of fur trappers and traders, the unique story of Mormons looking for religious freedom, and the transcontinental railroad which brought the overland wagon trails to an end.

Most visitors take about 1 to 1½ hours to tour the exhibits.

wagon swales

Trail Swales

During the trails period, thousands of wagons rolled down the hill from the Courthouse Square and passed over the property where the museum now sits. Evidence of the migration can still be seen today in the form of swales, or wagon ruts, left in the field directly across the street from the museum campus. A 1/4-mile long asphalt pathway circles around the swales. Interpretive signs give information about the swales and what it was like to begin the long trail journey. Handicapped accessible.


wagon ride

Covered Wagon Tour

Add to your museum experience by taking a covered wagon tour! The museum offers combination tickets that include museum admission and covered wagon tour through part of Historic Independence. Wagon tours are provided by Pioneer Trails Adventures. Wagon tours are seasonal and subject to weather conditions.

Combination Ticket Prices:
Ages 6-12 $10.00
Age 12 and older $16.00


Chicago and Alton Depot

Chicago and Alton Depot

This two-story train depot, built in 1879, has been restored on the grounds of the museum. The Depot is operated by the Friends of the Chicago and Alton Depot. For information about hours and tours, call 816-325-7955.