The California National Historic Trail (NHT) was designated by Congress in 1992 and is administered by the National Park Service (NPS) as a component of the National Trails System. Despite the name, the California NHT is not a continuous traditional trail from end to end, but consists of many trail traces, structures, graves, landmarks, and markers left on the landscape to remind us that the trail still lives on.
To promote the preservation and development of national historic trails for public use, enjoyment, education, and inspiration.
Certifying a National Historic Trail Site
National Historic Trails cross thousands of miles of public and private lands. Along those miles are physical traces of trail history, such as wagon ruts, graves, inscriptions, and campsites - places that tell about that history, such as museums and visitor interpretive centers. Many such traces and places are found on state lands, in nature preserves, in city parks, on private ranches, and even in suburban back yards.
National Trails System
National historic trails are part of the National Trails System, which was established by the National Trails System Act of 1968. National historic trails commemorate historic routes and promote their preservation and development for public use. They recognize diverse facets of history such as prominent past routes of exploration, migration, trade, communication, and military action. National historic trails generally consist of remnant sites and trail segments, and thus are not necessarily contiguous. In addition, while they are administered by federal agencies, land ownership of the sites and segments may be in public or private hands.
Last updated: March 6, 2020