The NHT Family of Signs and How to Use Them

As you begin, it is important to review the national historic trail family of signs and to understand the various sign types and how they are used. Once you have reviewed the sign types, you will be ready to create a sign plan. The sign plan types and their uses are outlined in detail below. Custom signs are covered at the bottom of the page.

Please note that use of these signs requires explicit approval by the NPS, because the signs include the federally protected El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail logo.

ELTE family of road signs


The recommended national historic trail standard road sign size is 32 inches by 48 inches. The Historic Site Name sign is generally 36 inches by 48 inches to accommodate the variety of potential site names.

Some signs have a secondary lower sign panel or arrows (please refer to road signs in table above):

  • The standard arrow is a 15-inch by 21-inch panel.
  • The NEXT XX MILES lower sign panel is 16 inches by 32 inches.
  • The BEGIN, END, ON LEFT, and ON RIGHT lower sign panels are 12 inches by 32 inches.

These signs are sized for low speed roads to accommodate a 4-inch minimum letter height in compliance with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which is the primary guidance that governs all public roads in the United States. Conditions could exist in which local road jurisdiction may require a smaller or larger size sign. A larger sign will most likely be required for higher speed roads. Ultimately, the agency having jurisdiction over the road or highway has the responsibility for providing direction on the size of the signs required. They may also dictate the quality of reflective sheeting required for the signs, i.e. engineering or high intensity grade.


Site entrance signs are typically custom designed. Some sites have an existing site sign that can have a national historic trail panel added below it; some have site logos or themes that can be applied to the new trail sign. Please contact the NPS to discuss options and funding for NHT-branded entrance signs at your national historic trail site.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Mailing Address:

National Trails Intermountain Region
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail
PO Box 728

Santa Fe, NM 87504


(505) 988-6098

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