Old Spanish National Historic Trail

In December 2002, the Old Spanish Trail was designated a National Historic Trail by Congress. The Trail is jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Park Service (NPS), working in partnership with other federal, state, and local government agencies, and private landowners who manage or own lands along the trail route. The Old Spanish National Historic Trail extends 2,700 miles across New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California to link Santa Fe and Los Angeles.

Antonio Mariano Armijo (1804 - 1850), a Spanish explorer and merchant, led an expedition of 60 men and a pack string of 100 mules and established the first trade route from Abiquiu, New Mexico to California in 1829 -1830. Armijo and his men traded tanned hides, blankets and other wool products for horses and mules, which were sold in New Mexico. His route, the southernmost and most direct, is known as the Armijo Route of the Old Spanish Trail. Armijo’s route joined the Mojave River at its mouth near what is now Soda Lake and followed the River to the foot of the mountains at Summit Valley, down Cajon Pass and into Alta/Nueva (New) California. The second southern route extended from Las Vegas to Tecopa to Barstow to Victor Valley and down Cajon Pass. About 128 miles of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail crosses through the Barstow Field Office.

Download the Old Spanish National Historic Trail Information Guide

Learn more about the Barstow Field Office

Know Before You Go

The Old Spanish National Historic Trail is not a clearly marked or continuous hiking trail. It passes through communities and wild areas, different states, and land ownerships. Visitors need to carefully plan their visit.

  • Pack adequate food, water, clothes, equipment, and a medical kit.
  • Check out weather forecasts for the region you plan to visit.
  • Research information regarding access/closures, and road hazards.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Internet/cellular service may not be available in remote areas.
  • Know weather extremes, poisonous reptiles, and other hazards.
  • Collecting historical/cultural artifacts is prohibited.
  • Gather area maps, brochures and emergency contact numbers.
  • Adhere to state-local off-highway vehicle regulations.
National Trails System (NTS) 50th Anniversary

America celebrated the 50th anniversary of the NTS Act on October 2, 2018. The NTS includes 11 National Scenic Trails, 19 National Historic Trails, and more than 1,200 National Recreation Trails. These trails provide outdoor recreation opportunities, promote resource preservation, public access, and encourage appreciation of America’s great outdoors history and cultural diversity.


Adventure is at Your Fingertips

Flickr Album:

Old Spanish Trail Adventure


Geographic Coordinates

37.077376, -113.869745


Two branches of the OST cross within or along the boundaries of the Beaver Dam Wash NCA. The Main Branch of the OST generally followed the corridor of modern-day U.S. Highway 91, north-south through the NCA. The Armijo Branch is currently believed to have been through Bulldog Canyon, along the southeastern boundary of the NCA.