National Scenic and Historic Trails are signature components of the National Trails System, and protected by the BLM as a part of the National Conservation Lands.   Congress established the National Trails System in 1968 and designated the Appalachian and Pacific Crest as the first national trails. From that time on, the BLM engaged with other agencies and volunteers along the Pacific Crest, and on many other trails later enacted.

Today, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the Act, there are 30 congressionally designated National Scenic and Historic Trails in the National Trails System. The BLM now protects nearly 6,000 miles of 18 designated trails in 15 States, and the BLM also manages thousands of miles of trails under study for potential designation. The BLM is a delegated trail administering agency for Iditarod, Old Spanish, and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trails. The BLM manages more miles of historic trails than any other agency. 

National Historic Trails are extended trails that closely follow a historic trail or route of travel that is of national significance. The BLM identifies and protects the historic routes, remnants, and artifacts for public use and enjoyment. 

National Scenic Trails are extended trails that pass through areas with national scenic, historic, natural, or cultural significance. They are managed by the BLM for outdoor recreation, conservation, and public enjoyment.

The BLM offers many ways to explore national trails, ranging from comfortable, accessible visitor center learning environments to wild and remote locations delivering authentic and vicarious experiences for hardy, well-prepared adventurers.  

Browse the National Scenic and Historic Trails managed by the BLM to learn more.

Arizona National Scenic Trail

California National Historic Trail

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail

Iditarod National Historic Trail


The Iditarod Trail is the only winter trail in the National Trails System and the only Congressionally-designated National Historic Trail in Alaska. The Iditarod National Historic Trail system is comprised of a 1,000-mile main trail between Seward and Nome, and an additional 1,400 miles of side/connecting trails that link communities and historic sites, or provide parallel route.

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic goes through BLM managed lands in Arizona and California. The Trail commemorates Spanish Commander Anza’s route taken on the expedition to bring colonists to the San Francisco bay area in 1775-1776. In exploring the trail today, one can experience diverse deserts, mountains, and coastal areas, and learn the historical roles of American Indian and Spanish cultures in the settlement of Arizona and California. 

Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

Nez Perce (Nee Me Poo) National Historic Trail

Nez Perce National Historic Trails

The Nez Perce National Historic Trail passes through Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Wyoming. Added to the National Trails System in 1986, the Nez Perce National Historic Trail commemorates the flight of the Nez Perce Indians from their homeland in the Pacific Northwest to Canada to escape capture by the U.S. military. Using an indirect escape route as dictated by terrain and strategy, the Nez Perce passed through four states and traveled over 1,170 miles, from Wallowa Lake, Oregon, to the Bear Paw Battlefield near Chinook, Montana. 

Old Spanish National Historic Trail

Oregon National Historic Trail

Oregon National Historic Trail

For over 80 years in the nineteenth century, an estimated 300,000 emigrants used the Oregon National Historic Trail as a pathway to the Pacific. Fur traders, gold seekers, missionaries and others traveled west on the approximately 2,000 miles of trail, from Missouri towards the Rocky Mountains to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The once 5-month journey can now be traveled via auto touring, and portions can be travel via foot, mountain bike, and horseback. The trail goes through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail

Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail

Designated for its scenic significance, Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail spans California desert valleys to Northwestern rain forests, offering hikers and equestrians a wide variety of climate and terrain. It crosses California, Oregon, and Washington, with starting points in Canada and Mexico. The Pacific Crest has the greatest elevation change of any of the National Scenic Trails, from near sea level to the crest of the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges.

Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail

Pony Express National Historic Trail

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail


The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail is a network of locally managed trails in a corridor between the mouth of the Potomac River and the Allegheny Highlands. As of mid-2009, 830 miles of existing and planned trails have been recognized as segments of the National Scenic Trail. BLM Eastern States manages two miles of the trail at Douglas Point in St. Charles, Maryland. The area hosts diverse plant and animal populations as well as a historic homesite occupied as early as the 18th century and throughout the 19th century.

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail

Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail


On July 11, 1780, the French General Rochambeau landed off Newport, Rhode Island with an army of 5,750 men and officers. Fifteen months later, they helped General George Washington’s forces defeat the British General Cornwallis at Yorktown.  Marching from Newport, they camped on the Mason Neck of northern Virginia on lands that are now managed as the BLM's Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA).

Help Us Celebrate!

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