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Visit the Texas Heritage Trail Regions and see where it all happened

Explore by Region


Texas Mountain Trail Region Texas Pecos Trail Texas Tropical Trail Texas Hill Country Trail Texas Forts Trail Independence Trail Region Brazos Trail Region Forest Trail Region Lakes Trail Region Plains Trail Region

Mouse over map to explore regions

Texas is a big state! From the coastal plains of Corpus Christi to the high plains of Amarillo, from the forests of Texarkana to the mountains of El Paso, history and hospitality go hand-in-hand as you travel our highways and back roads. Exploring Texas regionally is a great way to plan your travel across the state or organize day trips if you are staying in one community for several days.

Larger cities can be starting points for travel to smaller towns and the rural countryside. Here are the major communities in each region:

Brazos Region:                 Waco, Bryan, College Station
Forest Region:                  Beaumont, Nacogdoches, Tyler, Huntsville
Forts Region:                    Abilene, San Angelo
Hill Country Region:         San Antonio, Austin, Uvalde
Independence Region:    San Antonio, Houston, Victoria
Lakes Region:                   Dallas, Fort Worth, Wichita Falls
Mountain Region:             El Paso, Van Horn, Alpine
Pecos Region:                   Midland, Odessa, Del Rio
Plains Region:                   Amarillo, Lubbock, Big Spring
Tropical Region:                Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Laredo

Discover thousands of historical, cultural, and natural treasures that make Texas unique! Mouse over the map on the left to view the 10 heritage trail regions of Texas. Learn more about each region below.

Brazos Trail RegionBrazos Trail Region

The Texas Brazos Trail Region is an 18-county area of Central Texas. It is part of the 10-region Heritage Trails Program of the Texas Historical Commission. The Texas Brazos Trail seeks to promote heritage tourism, historic preservation, and economic development. Although, a driving trail is marked out on the map, visitors are encouraged to travel the entire region experiencing the charm and heritage of this mainly rural area of the state. Visitors to the region can explore state parks, visit a presidential library, sample some of Texas' best BBQ, or enjoy one of the many local festivals and events. The region is filled with historic towns, unique downtown shops, museums, beautifully preserved homes, and more.

Forest Trail RegionForest Trail Region

The Forest Trail Region was the “Gateway to Texas” for Caddo Indians, Spanish and French explorers, Anglo pioneers, European immigrants, and enslaved and freed African Americans. Shadows of early Caddo and Spanish occupation linger, and the stories of Texas’ emergence from a wilderness to a great state unfold in the region’s numerous towns, many among the state’s oldest.

Spanning 35 counties from the Oklahoma-Arkansas border to the Gulf of Mexico, the region encompasses great stories of boom and bust in oil and timber, the early rebellion leading to the Texas Revolution, the El Camino Real de los Tejas, and the mystery and manners you’d expect from the lush, sweet spot between the Old South and the Wild West.

Forts Trail RegionForts Trail Region

The Forts Trail Region was once the wild frontier where explorers and frontiersmen clashed with the land and Native Americans. Come hear the stories and explore the places where history was made—and make you own memories! Visit a historic site, tour a museum, or check out the local sites, shops, and eateries. The "trail" is a recommended 650-mile driving loop within a 29-county region of Central West Texas. The trail highlights a Spanish presidio and eight historic frontier forts and the communities and attractions that surround them. Take the trail or explore the region!

Hill Country Trail RegionHill Country Trail Region

Our region is a geographically diverse 19-county area that abounds with natural resources—from tranquil lakes and rivers fed by underground springs, to canyons, hills, and roadways hewn from the natural limestone; from lush fields brimming with the fruits of her rich earth, to the plentiful wildlife that roams free. Our region embraces the rich history of our forefathers who struggled to bring the traditions and crafts of their ancestors to a new land. They were full of hopes and dreams and the energy to make them happen. We are fortunate many people labored to preserve that past, and we welcome you as you discover the history, the culture, and the beauty that is the Texas Hill Country Trail Region!

Independence Trail RegionIndependence Trail Region

Experience Texas' struggle for independence and its years as a sovereign republic (1836-1845). The region covers 28 southeast Texas counties as it reaches from Liberty (east of Houston) along the Gulf Coast Galveston to Refugio to San Antonio into the west and to Washington and Bastrop counties in the north. We encourage travelers to find the spirit of Texas through the story—our fight—for independence. The larger-than-life images of explorers, heroes, and settlers such as Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle, Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett resonate throughout the state, U.S. and beyond as visitors can relive this dynamic history. Festivals, bird sanctuaries, shopping in historic downtowns, metropolitan areas, countrysides blanketed with wildflowers & trees, ranging from lordly pines to mesquite, beaches, lakes, rivers and historic landmarks can all be enjoyed when you drive across the Independence Trail Region.

Lakes Trail RegionLakes Trail Region

The Texas Lakes Trail is a 31-county region in North Central Texas that features world renowned museums, historic downtowns, and western culture. Anchored by the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, the region has the best of both worlds; rural and urban. As you travel the roadways throughout the region, you will be following the paths others have traveled throughout history. Many of the roadways follow historic trails and early highways such as the Bankhead Highway, Chisholm Trail, Butterfield Trail, Shawnee Trail, and the Great Western Trail. There are museums, brochures, and markers to help tell the stories of the early travelers. The cattle trails have definitely left their mark on this region from the countryside to the city. Communities are proud of their western heritage and you can see it on display in the most urbane areas of the region. When you visit the Lakes Trail, you will have an authentic Texas experience accompanied by hospitality that can’t be beat.

Mountain Trail RegionMountain Trail Region

Breathtaking mountains and high-country hikes. Sheer river canyons and winding back roads. Exotic panoramas and star-studded nights. Adventure in the unspoiled West awaits you in the Texas Mountain Trail Region of Far West Texas. See land as early man saw it, as the Apache and Comanche saw it, as ranching pioneers saw it. Visit Big Bend National Park, hike the spectacular South Rim Trail. Follow the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach route through Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Visit our charming mountain communities, where cowboys may still go to lunch in town on horseback. Catch a performance at El Paso’s 1930 Plaza Theatre, in the heart of the museum district. Visit adobe missions, still used as churches for local congregations. We invite you to plan your own adventure! Travel by car, horse, motorcycle, bicycle, RV, or by foot—the scenery and history is unparalleled. Let the Texas Mountain Trail be your guide to discovery and adventure!

Pecos Trail RegionPecos Trail Region

Experience the legendary Wild West of classic books and movies, and the real-life landscape of the Texas Pecos Trail Region. Twenty two counties cover 35,000 square miles and comprise an ecological transition zone at the junction of the Plains to the north, Edwards Plateau in the east, Chihuahuan Desert in the west, and the Brush Country in the south. The Texas Pecos Trail Region allows visitors to experience our rich and diverse Western heritage, including Native American rock art, cowboys and ranching, military forts, Hispanic culture, the Permian Basin Oil Boom of the 20th century, World War II training bases and artifacts, museums, county court houses, and a variety of unique and spectacular natural wonders and outdoor recreation.

Plains Trail RegionPlains Trail Region

Enjoy the rugged beauty and shimmering sunsets of the Texas Plains. Miles and miles of short grass prarie gives way suddenly and unexpectedly to spectacular canyon vistas as you cross this 52-county region that covers approximately 50,000 square miles! The normally pleasant weather can change in an instant and quickly change back again. One of the last parts of the continental United States to be permanently settled, the Texas Plains have been occupied for millennia. More than 12,000 years ago, the Clovis people, the earliest known residents of North America, roamed this land hunting the ancient bison and the Columbian mammoth. In time, the Apache and Comanche nations came, followed by Spanish explorers, cowboys on the free range, and finally, homesteaders seeking opportunity in a new place. The stories of the land and the people are the history of the Texas Plains—and the true stories of the West.

Tropical Trail RegionTropical Trail Region

Located in the state’s southernmost region, the Texas Tropical Trail Region covers 20 counties, 23,000 square miles, and is home to 1.7 million residents. For over 200 miles in both directions, the Tropical Trail borders the nation of Mexico along the Border Byway and the Gulf of Mexico along the Gulf Coast Byway. The region boasts a variety of experiences including diverse cuisine, music, nature, history, culture, and architecture. Historic sites include battlegrounds, architecture, museums, lighthouses, and landmarks. For the adventurous, the region offers beachcombing, hiking, hunting, camping, golfing, boating, fishing, and a wide variety of water sports. Nature lovers can take in birding, wildlife preserves, ranches, sanctuaries, and wetlands. And the mild weather is perfect year-round for multicultural and historic events and festivals.