THE ROYAL ROAD OF THE INTERIOR
At a mere nine miles, the El Paso Mission Trail’s short distance hardly represents the long and vast history found along its route. By following Socorro Road (FM 258), visitors will discover the two mission churches of Ysleta and Socorro and the presidio chapel of San Elizario, historic waypoints in a four hundred year history of communities, cultures, and nationalities. The route represents a segment of the oldest and, at one time, the longest road in North America, the historic El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro; translated in English, the Royal Road of the Interior. This road once extended from Mexico City to Santa Fe (New Mexico), linking missions, farmlands, estates, and military forts, allowing trade goods and supplies to move among Spain’s New World colonies. Designated a National Historic Trail in 2000, the El Camino Real provides a robust chronology of early North American history. El Paso’s segment, the El Paso Mission Trail, plays a vital part, located alongside the Rio Grande, one of the most important landmarks for the trade route.
Today, visitors may explore each of the three mission and chapel landmarks, still serving their communities after hundreds of years, and discover much of the regional history at the Los Portales Tourist Museum and Information Center in San Elizario.