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.

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

We’re celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Trails Act in a big way! Join us in Vancouver, Washington Oct. 22 – 25, learning about other trails, preservation, engaging our members and much more. We’ll also have our annual meeting Friday, Oct. 26 at the Historic Fort Vancouver. Sign up here today.

 Contact us today!


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.