The Old Spanish Trail transcontinental highway was one of the most prominent and persistent American auto trails. It connects the old Spanish colonial towns of St. Augustine, Florida on the Atlantic coast and San Diego, California on the Pacific. The OST highway is not to be confused with the 19th century cattle trail of the same name that wound from Santa Fe to Los Angeles.
The OST highway passes through some of America's best tourist destinations including St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Mobile, New Orleans, San Antonio, Tombstone, Tucson and San Diego. The OST largely follows what later became U.S. Highway 90 in the east and U.S. 80 in the west. Indeed, the road continued on as the Old Spanish Trail even after the U.S. numbered highways were created, with later OST maps including the U.S. highway shields.
The Rand McNally Automobile Road Book from 1923 includes the following description of the Old Spanish Trail:
"Along the Old Spanish Trail are the riches of history, legend, sentiment and natural beauty. And throughout the route there are members of the Old Spanish Trail Association who will find pleasure in making your aquaintance."
In later years, the Old Spanish Trail changed alignment or aquired alternate routes in some areas. Between San Antonio and Van Horn, Texas, the OST followed later U.S. 80, but the U.S. 90 route via Del Rio and Marfa was also an option.
Tourists could also visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park using a detour along TX-54 and U.S. 62 between Van Horn and El Paso. A cut-off route on poorer roads also existed between Lordsburg, NM and Benson, AZ. This cut out the loop through Douglas and Bisbee on U.S. 80.
To avoid the long loop through Phoenix, tourists heading to the coast could take the cut-off to Gila Bend through Casa Grande. This closely follows the path of current Interstate 8.
The Old Spanish Trail's western end is at the Pacific Milestone, in downtown San Diego's Horton Plaza. Other milestones are located in St. Augustine and San Antonio.
Although the terminus of the OST is in San Diego, many trail and highway maps showed the road continuing on to Los Angeles via U.S. 101.
Linked towns have detailed route maps in the City Maps section. Names in bold appear on the official OST Association maps.
St. Augustine, Bayard, Loretto, Goodbee Lake, South Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Whitehouse, Baldwin, MacClenny, Glen St. Mary, Margaretta, Sanderson, Olustee, Lake City, Parkwood, Wellborn, Live Oak, Falmouth, Ellaville, Lee, Madison, Greenville, Riverside, Monticello, Baum, Tallahassee, Salem Park, Shady Rest, Quincy, Douglas City, Gretna, Mt. Pleasant, Chattahoochee, Sneads, Grand Ridge, Marianna, Cottondale, Chipley, Bonifay, Caryville, Westville, Ponce de Leon Spring, De Funiak Springs, Mossy Head, Deer Land, Crestview, Milligan, Galliver, Holts, Harold, Milton, Pensacola.
Robertsdale, Loxley, Mobile, Theodore, St. Elmo, Grand Bay.
Orange Grove, Kreole, Moss Point, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Brierfield, Gulfport, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis.
Pearl River Station, Slidell, McLane City, Gentilly, New Orleans, Westwego, Waggaman, Ama, Luling, Boutte, Paradis, Des Allemands, Raceland, Houma, Gibson, Greenwood, Morgan City, Berwick, Patterson, Centerville, Franklin, Baldwin, Jeanerette, New Iberia, Segura, Cade, Duchamp, Broussard, La Fayette, Scott, Rayne, Crowley, Estherwood, Midland, Mermentau, Jennings, Welsh, Iowa, Lake Charles, Sulphur, Edgerly, Vinton.
Orange, Beaumont, Amelia, Pine Island, China, Nome, Devers, Raywood, Liberty, Dayton, Sheeks, Crosby, Fauna, Dawes, Houston, West Junction, Lotus, Missouri City, Stafford, Sugar Land, Harlem, Richmond, Rosenberg, Tavener, East Bernard, Lissie, Eagle Lake, Alleyton, Columbus, Glidden, Borden, Weimar, Schulenburg, Flatonia, Janice, Waelder, Saturn, Gonzales, Belmont, Wolf, Seguin, McQueeney, Marion, Cibolo, Schertz, Kirby, San Antonio, Leon Springs, Boerne, Comfort, Center Point, Kerrville, Ingram, Mountain Home, Segovia, Junction, Roosevelt, Fort Terrett, Sonora, Ozona, Live Oaks, Sheffield, Fort Stockton, Balmorhea, Toyahvale, Davis Mountain, Kent, Van Horn, Sierra Blanca, Etholen, Finlay, Harris, McNary, Ft. Hancock, Acala, Alamo, Tornillo, Fabens, Clint, Ysleta, El Paso, Canutillo, Vinton, Anthony.
Anthony, Berino, Vado, Mesquite, Mesilla Park, Las Cruces, Aden, Cambray, Akela, Deming, Mongolia, Gage, Wilna, Separ, Lordsburg, Pyra, Gary, Conrad, Mondel, Steins, Rodeo.
Apache, Douglas, Lowell, Bisbee, Tombstone, St. David, Benson, Vail, Tucson, Florence, Florence Junction, Apache Junction, Desert Wells, Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix, Cashion, Coldwater, Perryville, Liberty, Buckeye, Palo Verde, Hassayampa, Arlington, Gila Bend, Sentinel, Aztec, Le Sage, Stoval, Kim, Mohawk, Tacna, Wellton, Dome, Yuma.
Winterhaven, Grays Well, Midway Well, Holtville, El Centro, Seeley, Dixieland, Plaster City, Coyote Well, Mountain Springs, Jacumba, Boulevard, White Star, Live Oak Springs, La Posta, Buckman Springs, Pine Valley, Guatay, Descanso Junction, The Willows, Alpine, Flinn Springs, Bostonia, El Cajon, La Mesa, East San Diego, San Diego.
Texas Hill Country
Old Spanish Trail Photo Guide (Florida)
The Plank Road - Journal of San Diego History