Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Old Spanish National Historic Trail? Old Spanish National Historic Trail extends 2,700 miles across New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California.
Where can I obtain the official map and guide brochure? Trail brochures may be obtained from a number of locations. Many museums and visitor centers along the trail distribute our free brochures. The Passport Program page provides a sample of some of the sites along the trail that may carry our publications. See our publications page to download brochures directly, or email us to request one.
How do I visit or follow the Old Spanish National Historic Trail? This national historic trail is not a clearly marked nor continuous hiking trail. Instead, it is a corridor that passes through communities as well as wild areas and through different states and land ownership. We encourage you to go to the Passport Program web page to discover the many sites you can visit. Your travels on the trail are rich with cultural history: museums, historic sites, landmarks, and trail markers.
ACCESS: Visitors can follow parts of the original trail on public lands and approximate other parts by driving the roads that travel near the historical route. However, many parts of the original trail are privately owned, have been destroyed by development, are under plow, cross mountains, and cross American Indian tribal reserves. Unless clearly marked, there is no public trail access across private property and reserves. Before entering those lands, you must locate the owners and ask their permission. Where can I get my Passport stamped? Go to the Passport for Your National Parks web page on this website for stamp locations in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California.
Do you have educational materials for teachers? We do not currently have any teacher or student specific products. We would be happy to mail you our official map and guide brochure for your classroom. Send an email to: email us with your contact information, mailing address, and the quantity of brochures you need for your class.
What is the Old Spanish Trail? What do Southwest blankets and mules have to do with each other? In 1829 they met on the Old Spanish Trail, an arduous trail traversing 2,800 miles of such rocky and rugged terrain that pack mules were the only transportation option. The route connected two Mexican provinces, California and New Mexico, for the first time. Hispano merchants used mules to carry local merchandise, such as blankets and shawls, to Los Angeles and returned with horses and more mules. Mules were the heart of the trade and transportation system until 1849, when wagon roads and the railroad provided direct routes.
What year was the Old Spanish National Historic Trail established? Congress established the trail in October 2002.
Who owns the Old Spanish National Historic Trail? The trail is administered by the National Park Service (National Trails Intermountain Region) and the Bureau of Land Management, but the actual route on the ground is owned or managed by public, private, nonprofit, state, county, and local landowners. National Trails Intermountain Region works with these landowners to identify the historic trail resources, provide site planning and design, map the trail, and develop educational opportunities. National Trails Intermountain Region does not own any land on the trail.
What is a national historic trail? Much like a national park, a national historic trail is created by an act of Congress. National historic trails are congressionally designated official routes that reflect the research, review, and recommendation of many trail experts. National historic trails commemorate historic trade, migration, and other routes important to American culture.
How can I learn more about the Old Spanish National Historic Trail and take part in organized activities along the trail? The nonprofit organization that helps research, tour, sign, interpret, and protect the trail is Old Spanish Trail Association. Visit their website at: http://www.oldspanishtrail.org/