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National Historic Trails

The Baltimore Experience > Exploring the City > National Historic Trails

Three national historic trails pass through Baltimore City and the boundaries of the Baltimore National Heritage Area. The three trails, each established through federal legislation, follow routes of historic and national significance. Each is administered by the National Park Service in coordination with state and local partners and stakeholders. 

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
Length: 3,000 miles in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia

The United States’ first national water trail follows the historic routes of Captain John Smith’s travels throughout the Chesapeake Bay region from 1607 to 1609.  Based on his map and journals, the trail is roughly 3,000 miles long and travels through the waters of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. John Smith extensively explored the Baltimore’s Patapsco River for two and a half days.

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
Length: 106 miles

In Baltimore, visitors following the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail learn about the places, people, and events of the War of 1812. The emphasis is on the events of the summer of 1814, when the citizens of Baltimore successfully defended the city from invasion by British forces on the land and from the water. The trail retraces the movements of British and U.S. forces during the final months of the war and connects 1812-related sites including Patterson Park, Federal Hill, Fort McHenry, and Fell’s Point.

Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail
Length: 680 miles

The Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail consists of the land and water routes taken by General George Washington and French General Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau to and from the siege of Yorktown, Virginia during the Revolutionary War. The trail passes through the District of Columbia and nine states, including Maryland.  After the conclusion of hostilities in 1783, the last group of French soldiers set sail from Baltimore for the French port of Brest. 

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