The Old Spanish Trail has been called the most arduous and difficult trail in the United States. With Native American historical roots, the trail was used by the adventurous and opportunists bringing textiles from Santa Fe to trade for mules and horses in Los Angeles beginning in the early 1800s. Spanning more than 2500 miles, parts of the trail were used by fur trappers and later by railroad and military surveyors.

The Old Spanish Trail Association, its members, friends, and partners, are dedicated to protecting, interpreting, and promoting the Old Spanish National Historic Trail.

View the trailer for an exciting new documentary about the OST!

An important part of OSTA’s efforts has been consulting with the federal administrators for the Trail – the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service (NPS) – on a management plan, required by the National Trails System Act. That plan is intended to guide the administration and management of the Trail on federal public lands, and on state, tribal, and local government lands, and private lands through cooperative efforts with such entities and individual landowners. After 15 years of prolonged planning and discussions the BLM and NPS have released a Comprehensive Administrative Strategy for the Trail. 

Read more about the CAS

Descendants and Travelers of the Trail Chapter is initiating an ongoing project: building a data base containing summary information about each of our ancestors and other travelers of the Old Spanish Trail. It will eventually be made accessible to the public on the Old Spanish Trail Association website and become a reference for all OSTA members, historians, teachers, students and other interested parties

Read more about this new project

The Old Spanish Trail Association, its members, friends, and partners are dedicated to protecting, interpreting and promoting the Old Spanish National Historic Trail.

The Old Spanish National Historic Trail was established by Congress in 2002. It has often been referred to as the most arduous, difficult trail in the United States. Its designated routes cover six states and some 2,700 miles, traversing mountains, deserts, rivers, and coastal valleys. It was historically used by curious and brave, enterprising, and sometimes nefarious men, forging trade routes between the Mexican cities of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California.  New Mexican woolen goods were traded for California mules and horses, but the trade also included furs, hides, and even Indian slaves.

Read more about the trail’s history



 Old Spanish Trail Association
P.O. Box 324
Kanab, Utah 84741


Information on our banner photos, from left:
The Crossing of the Grande, now called the Colorado River, a modern day look.
Archaeology on the trail.Photo courtesy Jack Prichett. Visit his website here.
San Gabriel Mission 1832 Painting by Ferdinand Deppe.