National Historic Trails

There are 19 National Historic Trails within the National Trails System. These trails are long-distance trails (more than 100 miles long) and are historic in nature. Just as wonderful for a short day visit as a cross country expedition following in the footsteps of our ancestors, these trails call to all who want to explore America's rich history and cultural diversity.

 
 
Photo Credit: NPS

Photo Credit: NPS

ALA KAHAKAI NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail traverses 175 miles through hundreds of ancient Hawaiian settlement sites and over 200 ahupua'a (traditional sea to mountain land divisions).

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Minor Park, MO Photo Credit: NPS - Matt Poyner

Minor Park, MO
Photo Credit: NPS - Matt Poyner

CALIFORNIA NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The California National Historic Trail traverses the roughly 2,000 miles between the Missouri River and California following the footsteps our ancestors took in search of gold and farmlands during the mid 1800s.

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Photo Credit: Evans, NPS

Photo Credit: Evans, NPS

CAPTAIN JOHN SMITH CHESAPEAKE NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

Located on the Chesapeake Bay, the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail follows nearly 3,000 miles of Bay and rivers explored during the 17th century.

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Los Corralitos, Zapata County, Texas Photo Credit: Christopher Talbot

Los Corralitos, Zapata County, Texas
Photo Credit: Christopher Talbot

EL CAMINO REAL DE LOS TEJAS NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail retraces the primary overland route from the Rio Grande in Texas to the Red River Valley in Louisiana during the Spanish Colonial Period.

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 Jornada del Muerto, New Mexico Photo Credit: NPS

 Jornada del Muerto, New Mexico
Photo Credit: NPS

EL CAMINO REAL DE TIERRA ADENTRO NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail, also known as the Royal Road of the Interior Lands, spans 1200 miles from New Mexico to Mexico City and preserves rich, Southwestern culture and heritage.

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Photo Credit: Tony Beeman

Photo Credit: Tony Beeman

IDITAROD NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Iditarod National Historic Trail traverses 2,300 miles across Alaska. This winter trails system was originally used to connect ancient villages, and later as an access route to mining districts during the Gold Rush era. Today the trail is primarily used for travel and recreation.

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Sonoran Desert National Monument, Arizona Photo Credit: NPS

Sonoran Desert National Monument, Arizona
Photo Credit: NPS

JUAN BAUTISTA DE ANZA NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

This Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail traverses 1,200 miles from Mexico (New Spain) to California. Over 240 men, women, and children took this journey eventually establishing a settlement at San Francisco Bay.

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Vista House and the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and Washington. Photo Credit: NPS

Vista House and the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and Washington. Photo Credit: NPS

LEWIS AND CLARK NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail retraces the steps of the Corps of Discovery from 1804 to 1806 in their search for a route to the Pacific Ocean.

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Fort Laramie, Wyoming Photo Credit: NPS - NPS/Matt Poyner

Fort Laramie, Wyoming
Photo Credit: NPS - NPS/Matt Poyner

MORMON PIONEER NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail crosses five states and follows the 1,300 mile route that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Montana Photo Credit: Bob Wick, BLM

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, Montana
Photo Credit: Bob Wick, BLM

NEZ PERCE (Nee-Me-Poo) NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Nez Perce National Historic Trail is 1,170 miles long and stretches from Oregon to Montana. This trail aims to tell the story of the Nez Perce people, including the War of 1877.

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Southern California Photo Credit: Bill Buck

Southern California
Photo Credit: Bill Buck

OLD SPANISH NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Old Spanish National Historic Trail crosses six states as it retraces the exchange route for mules and horses between Mexico and California during the 1800's.

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Colombia River, Oregon Photo Credit: NPS - Lee Kreutzer

Colombia River, Oregon
Photo Credit: NPS - Lee Kreutzer

OREGON NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Oregon National Historic Trail is an early American settler trail that crosses more than 2,000 miles across seven states.

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Fort Defiance, Virginia Photo Credit: NPS

Fort Defiance, Virginia
Photo Credit: NPS

OVERMOUNTAIN VICTORY NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail traverses 330 miles across four states as it retraces the steps of the Revolutionary War Overmountain Men.

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Photo Credit: Richard Gwin

Photo Credit: Richard Gwin

PONY EXPRESS NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Pony Express National Historic Trail was a mail route used in 1860-1861 to carry postage between Missouri and California.

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Photo Credit: NPS

Photo Credit: NPS

SANTA FE NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Santa Fe National Historic Trail followers the route of freight wagons carrying cargo through five states, from Missouri to New Mexico.

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Photo Credit: NPS

Photo Credit: NPS

SELMA TO MONTGOMERY NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail follows the route Dr. Martin Luther King and many others traveled on the march for freedom.

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Photo Credit: NPS

Photo Credit: NPS

STAR-SPANGLED BANNER NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is 290 miles long and tells the story of the national anthem of the United States, which resulted from the War of 1812.

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Photo Credit: NPS

Photo Credit: NPS

TRAIL OF TEARS NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail follows the route of the Cherokee after being forcefully removed from their homelands between 1838-1839.

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Photo Credit: Robert Reyes 

Photo Credit: Robert Reyes 

WASHINGTON-ROCHAMBEAU REVOLUTIONARY ROUTE NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL

This Washington Rochambeau National Historic Trail route tells the story of French statesmen, armies, and fleets who helped the United States win independence in 1775-1783.

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