National Scenic and Historic Trails

The 1965 “Conservation and Preservation of Natural Beauty” speech by President Lyndon Johnson inspired a movement and in 1968 Congress established the National Trails System Act. The Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails were the first congressionally designated National Trails in the National Trails System. Today there are 30 congressionally designated National Scenic and Historic Trails, many within an hour's drive from most urban areas.  

The BLM administers, manages, and protects these trails as part of its National Conservation Lands. The lands these trails traverse often have complex jurisdictions which requires immense partnering with other federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and dedicated volunteers.  The BLM currently protects nearly 6,000 miles of 19 designated trails in 15 States, in addition to thousands of miles of trails under study for potential designation. The BLM is the delegated trail administering agency for Iditarod National Historic Trail and co-administers the Old Spanish and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trails with the National Park Service.  

The BLM offers many ways to explore national trails, ranging from accessible visitor centers that teach the often-difficult stories from our nation’s past to wild and remote locations delivering authentic and life changing experiences for the well-prepared adventurer. Access to trails offers visitors a safe and welcoming destination that increases stewardship of public land, provides an opportunity to learn, and enhances the quality of life experiences.  In coordination with our trail partner organizations, the BLM is committed towards a trail community of diversity, equity, and inclusion on the National Trails System. 

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


Carin Farley
National Scenic and Historic Trails
Program Lead


Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Photo by Bob Wick.

View our National Scenic and Historic Trails photo collection on @mypubliclands Flickr.