The Granddaddy of the Nation’s Trails Began in Mexico

The Camino Real, after languishing in the shadow of the Santa Fe, the Oregon and the California trails, is finally getting its due

The ancient Camino Real or Royal Road was an 1,800-mile trail that connected Mexico City to Santa Fe. Although it was the first European road in the nation and used by some of the earliest European settlers, the Camino Real has languished in the shadow of other historic trails, such as the Oregon and the California. Now, this obscurity may finally be coming to an end. If all goes well, the trail will become the first international historic trail, commemorated by both the United States and Mexico. A museum is also planned. Our writer spent months retracing this ghost of a trail, seeking out its ancient campsites and unearthing the history of those early travelers.

Get the latest Travel & Culture stories in your inbox.