Shared Trail Administration
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail runs through the heart of the Rio Grande Valley. The Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service (NPS) administer the trail together to foster trail preservation and public use. These agencies work in close partnership with El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association, American Indian tribes, state, county, and municipal governmental agencies, private landowners, nonprofit heritage conservation groups, and many others. Trail sites are in private, municipal, tribal, federal, or state ownership. Please ask for permission before visiting any trail sites on private lands and check with public sites for visiting hours and regulations.
To promote the preservation and development of national historic trails for public use, enjoyment, education, and inspiration.
Establishing a New National Historic Trail
Added to the National Trails System in October 2000, El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (Royal Road of the Interior) National Historic Trail recognizes the primary route between the colonial Spanish capital of Mexico City and the Spanish provincial capitals at San Juan de Los Caballeros (1598-1600); San Gabriel (1600-1609); and Santa Fe (1610-1821). The national historic trail extends 404 miles from El Paso, Texas, to Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico. The trail is also international, with 1,400 kilometers in Mexico from the US border to Mexico City. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
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