CONTACT: Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381

Annual Motorcycle Ride Celebrating Native American Heritage to Travel Through North Alabama September 18

Decatur, Ala. – Motorcyclists from across the southeast will come together September 18, 2021, for a scenic ride across north Alabama to honor Native American Indians that once traveled through the region. Now in its 28th year, the Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride travels from Bridgeport in the northeastern part of Alabama to the northwestern town of Waterloo, and along with the celebratory ride, there is a kick-off rally and a three-day Indian Festival for the public to take part in.

The Trail of Tears Commemorative Motorcycle Ride begins at the Alabama/Tennessee state line on U. S. Highway 72 in Bridgeport with riders departing at 8:00 a.m. CST on Saturday, Sept. 18. The ride travels U. S. Highway 72 West to I-565 West arriving at Redstone Harley-Davidson at approximately 10:30 a.m. for an official ride rest and lunch stop. At 12:00 p.m., riders will depart onto Mooresville Road to Highway 72 and head west through Athens and Florence arriving in Waterloo at approximately 2:30 p.m.

A kick-off rally offering children’s activities, live music, a street dance, fireworks show and other free family fun for the public to enjoy is scheduled in downtown Bridgeport on Friday, Sept. 17. Bikes will arrive from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Reservation at 3:00 p.m. and the official opening ceremony gets underway at 5:00 p.m. Bands scheduled to perform are Legacy Classic Rock Band (6:00 p.m.) and Scott Collier and Midnight Special (8:30 p.m.).

The town of Waterloo will host a free Indian Festival Sept. 17-19 in remembrance of all those who walked the Trail of Tears. Presented by the Alabama Indian Affairs Commission, the three-day event offers live music on Friday and Saturday nights, flute and drum music and displays from Native American artisans and vendors. A River Walk Dedication Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18 at 10:00 a.m. to honor those who experienced the forced journey with the grand entry slated for 1:00 p.m. and bikes arriving around 2:30 p.m. 

The ride is held rain or shine. Guests are expected to follow current CDC guidelines, including, but not limited to, maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from people who are not from the same household, washing or sanitizing hands frequently and wearing a mask when physical distancing is not possible. For more information including a map of the route and a schedule of events, visit or

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 called for the voluntary or forcible removal of all Indians from the eastern United States to the state of Oklahoma. In 1838, the U.S. government hired wagon master J.C.S. Hood to transport 1,070 Native Americans by foot and wagon from Ross's Landing in Chattanooga, Tennessee to what is now Waterloo, Alabama. Much of the journey followed what is now U.S. Highway 72. Many Native Americans died in Waterloo and others escaped into the hills and today, area residents can trace their Native American ancestry to those who fled. As many as 4,000 deaths occurred because of this forced removal of civilized Native Americans from their rightful homes. In recognition of this removal process, the first Trail of Tears Motorcycle Ride was organized in 1994 with approximately 100 riders participating.

About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state. It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions and individuals. Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations and special events is available by calling 800.648.5381 or by visiting