The National Trails System Program

Photo image of Scotts bluff and emigrant wagons.
Photo image of Scotts bluff and emigrant wagons.

The Wagner Perspective

"...we could not refrain from a shout of joy which almost involuntarily escaped from our lips the moment this grand and lovely scenery was within our view."

- Orson Pratt July 21, 1847

Before railroads or automobiles, people in America had to travel by foot, horse, boat or wagon. Some of these routes from our nation's early days still remain today as reminders of our historic past. A National Historic Trail (NHT) such as the Mormon Pioneer NHT is an extended trail that follows original routes of travel of national historical significance.

In 1995, the National Park Service established the National Trails System Office in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Salt Lake City Office administers the Oregon, the California, the Mormon Pioneer and the Pony Express NHTs.

The National Trails System does not manage trail resources on a day-to-day basis. The responsibility for managing trail resources remains in the hands of the current trail managers at the federal, state, local and private levels.

The Office was established to improve interstate and interregional coordination. Specific responsibilities of this trails office include coordinating and supporting the protection of trail resources, marking and interpreting the trails, designating and marking an auto-tour route and identifying and certifying high-potential sites.

Image map of the Mormon Pioneer, Pony Express, Oregon & California national historic trails.
Image map of the Mormon Pioneer, Pony Express, Oregon & California national historic trails.

NPS Image

In 1968, Congress enacted the National Trails System Act and in 1978, National Historic Trail designations were added. The National Historic Trails System commemorates these historic routes and promotes their preservation, interpretation and appreciation.

National Historic Trails recognize diverse facets of history such as prominent past routes of exploration, migration, trade, communication and military action. The historic trails generally consist of remnant sites and trail segments, and thus are not necessarily contiguous. Although National Historic Trails are administered by federal agencies, land ownership may be in public or private hands. Of the 11 National Historic Trails, nine are administered by the National Park Service, one by the USDA Forest Service and one by the Bureau of Land Management.

Click this link to learn more about the National Trails System, including National Historic and National Recreation Trails.

View or download a PDF doc of the National Trails System map.

Contact the National Trails System Office

Last updated: July 31, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

National Trails Intermountain Region
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
PO Box 728

Santa Fe, NM 87504


(801) 741-1012

Contact Us