In 1994, historian and trail buff Ron Kessler called a meeting at the Rio Grande County Museum in Del Norte, Colorado to gauge interest in identifying and preserving remnants of the Old Spanish Trail. OSTA was formed and its new members persuaded Rio Grande County officials to reroute a new access road to a landfill and avoid destroying a section of the Old Spanish Trail’s North Branch.

From southwestern Native American people to federal land managers to Bruce and Rosina Alderson of England, hundreds of members demonstrate a proud passion for the trail for many individual reasons. The Old Spanish National Historic Trail is perhaps like no other for its rich and fascinating history, its past and present-day politics, the unique blend of cultural heritages, and the dramatic landscape experienced along this great western trail.

Mission Statement

To study, preserve and protect, interpret and educate, and promote respectful use of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail and closely related historic routes.

OSTA promotes public awareness of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail and its multicultural heritage by encouraging research and publication and partnering with governments and private organizations.

Vision Statement

Our association helps bring to life the Old Spanish National Historic Trail, the stories of its diverse people and their trade connections, and weaves together their role in the development of our nation.

The Old Spanish National Historic Trail Association helps to preserve our western heritage. Today’s travelers along the trail can experience a dramatic western landscape and a region rich in adventure, history and lore. As you travel the route, please respect “No Trespassing Signs” and local jurisdictions. It is important to practice good trail ethics and leave no trace of your visit. Artifacts are protected by federal law. Be sure to take advantage of the varied interpretive venues offered by our many trail partners along the route. Local museums, national parks and monuments, and other information centers can provide a wealth of trail information and tips for experiencing cultural activities and local heritage events.