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The Old Spanish National Historic Trail

Historic Site
The Chama River near the Old Spanish Trail – BLM

Two routes of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail cut across the Four Corners Country: the Armijo route, used by trail blazer Antonio Armijo in 1829-1830, to take the first commercial mule packtrain from Abiquiu, in northern New Mexico, to San Gabriel Mission, in southern California; and the Northern Route, used by most of the pack trains between 1830 and 1848, when traffic on the trail dropped off after the American conquest of Mexico. For the 20 years that the trail was in use, packers and traders would leave northern New Mexico in the fall with heavily laden mules carrying loads of woolen goods, hides, and other merchandise. They would winter in California and return to New Mexico in the spring driving herds of horses and mules destined for farm and military work in the eastern United States and Mexico’s silver mines.

The Old Spanish Trail runs from Santa Fe to Los Angeles and crosses remote, rugged country in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California.

Time Period Represented

19th century



Seasons Open

Year round



Nearby Places