El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail, established in 2004, is an historic route through a collection of sites in Texas and Louisiana that preserves the history of the Spanish colonial experience in this area. Extending along 2,500 miles of roads and trails from Mexico to Natchitoches, Louisiana, the El Camino Real de los Tejas linked Spanish missions and forts to the heart of Mexico.
Visitor Rating (write your own review below)
Best when combined with a historic site
Our Weather Mostly clear and mid 40s.
Our Visit I visited El Camino Real de los Tejas NHT while visiting San Antonio Missions NHP in December.
Overall Impression Like most of the National Historic Trails in the National Park Service, El Camino Real de los Tejas isn’t really a single park to be visited. Rather, it’s a route with a few specific sites along the way that mark the presence of an historic road. There are places where the original road can still be seen, but the remaining old Spanish missions are really the best places to discover what this trail was all about–expanding, maintaining and defending the Spanish colonial way of life in Texas and Louisiana.
Visiting Most of the trail is now public roadway, so the easiest way to “see” the trail is to drive Texas Highway 21 and Louisiana Highway 6 which parallel one of the original routes. Driving, however, won’t introduce you to the history of this trail which was the lifeline between Mexico and the missions in Texas and western Louisiana (the edge of French territory). The trail was essential to the Spanish colonial mindset which spread its influence by converting native populations to Catholicism and introducing them to the European lifestyle of farming and ranching. All along the route are sites that preserve pieces of the trail’s history.
Sites Connected with El Camino Real de los Tejas
- Fort Saint Jean Baptiste (Natchitoches, LA)
- Los Adeas State Historic Site (Robeline, LA)
- Mission de los Dolores (San Augustine, TX)
- Old Stone Fort (Nacagdoches, TX)
- Caddo Mounds State Historic Park (Alto, TX)
- Mission Tejas State Park (Grapeland, TX)
- McKinney Falls State Park (Austin, TX)
- Comal Springs (New Braunfels, TX)
- Acequia Madre Mission de Valero (Bexar County, TX)
- San Pedro Springs (San Antonio, TX)
- San Antonio Missions NHP (San Antonio, TX)
- Trevino Ranch and Fort (Laredo, TX)
- Mission Senora del Espiritu Santo (Goliad, TX)
- Los Corralitos (Laredo, TX)
Suggestions Unless you are REALLY just looking to follow the trail, I recommend visiting it in conjunction with one of the other parks or sites listed above. If you’re into National Parks, the only site along the trail run by the National Park Service is San Antonio Missions NHP in San Antonio, site of four 1700s missions along one arm of the El Camino Real de los Tejas. This is an outstanding park for learning more about the Spanish colonial history in Texas that the trail supported, and the park’s visitor center at Mission San Jose is where you can pick up an NPS passport stamp for the trail.
Nearby Towns Austin, Goliad, Laredo, San Antonio (TX), Natchitoches (LA)
Other Nearby Attractions The Alamo, San Antonio Missions NHP, Cane River Creole NHP
Official NPS Website El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail
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