Historic Battlefield Trail

Texas

Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Take your pick of one of our 12 trail guidebooks when you give $30 or more to build trails!

Historic Battlefield Trail Facts

States: Texas
Counties: Cameron
Length: 8.5 miles
Trail end points: E. Harrison St. and Entrance of Palo Alto Battlefield on FM 1847
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 6017086
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Historic Battlefield Trail Description

Get your fill of American history at the Historic Battlefield Trail in Brownsville, Texas. This unique 8.5 mile rail-trail runs from the heart of Brownsville in the south to the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park at the northern trailhead. The prairie of Palo Alto, recently preserved by the National Park Service, was the site of the first battle of the Mexican-American War in 1846. The war literally changed the map of North America: Prior to the war, the Republic of Texas (and later the United States) claimed the Rio Grande River as its southern boundary, while Mexico claimed the border farther north at the Nueces River.

The Historic Battlefield Trail opened after the city of Brownsville purchased a portion of an abandoned railroad corridor that originally ran from Brownsville to Robstown (not far from Corpus Christi) in 1999. The railroad line was opened in 1904 by the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway Company, which met its early demise after a failed merger with Missouri Pacific Railroad in the 1950s. Evidence of the Historic Battlefield Trail's railroad history is easy to find—the trail ends in the north near an active rail line and crosses a couple of restored railroad trestles on its route.

Paved with asphalt along its entire journey, the trail is also a convenient option for residents of Brownsville to travel to other parts of the city via foot or bike. The trail winds through downtown Brownsville, connecting a number of residential neighborhoods with the city's various amenities, including the Brownsville Event Center, Brownsville Tennis Center, Northside Transfer Station (which serves Brownsville's bus network), and a host of restaurants and stores. Residents and visitors of Brownsville alike can start their trek at Southern Pacific Linear Park, which is directly in front of the federal courthouse for south Texas. A block down the trail from the courthouse is the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art and Gladys Porter Zoo for those wishing to extend their visit even longer.

Two extensions to the trail have since been added, known as the Historic Battlefield Trail Galveston and Fort Brown connections. Beginning at Galveston Rd., the Galveston Connection is a .37 mile extension to the Resaca de la Palma National Battlefield located at 1024 Paredes Line Rd. That location memorializes a pivotal battle in the Mexican-American War. (The Galveston connection is sometimes referrred to as the Resaca de la Palma Connection). 

The latest addition, the Fort Brown Connection, comprises 2.75 miles of bicycle and pedestrian enhancements through Downtown Brownsville. It provides a bike-ped link to Brownsville’s three historic battlefield sites: Fort Brown earthworks; Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park; and the Resaca de la Palma Battlefield site.

The Historic Battlefield Trail is well-maintained with painted stripes, streetlights, benches, and water fountains along its entire route, making the trail appropriate for users of all ages.

Parking and Trail Access

To access the Historic Battlefield Trail, park at the lot at Southern Pacific Linear Park in front of the courthouse on E. 6th Street. Alternatively, park at the Northside Transfer Center's parking lot off of Habana Street at the trail's midpoint. Farther north, the Brownsville Event Center and Brownsville Tennis Center have ample parking at their lots off of Paredes Line Rd. For those wishing to start their trek at the Palo Alto Battlefield trailhead, park at the visitor center on Paredes Line Rd./FM 1847 just north of the intersection with FM 511.

Historic Battlefield Trail Reviews

We just returned from a trip the South Padre Island this February. One windy day we ventured into Brownsville to ride this trail as it was supposed to be warmer and less windy in Brownsville that day. Warmer yes, less windy no. We started in town and rode towards the battle field into a 20-30 MPH wind. Not much for wind protection on this trail. After being a bit convoluted getting through the first couple of miles the trail basically runs through the housing areas of Brownsville on a greenway corridor. There is some water, but overall not a very scenic ride. Glad we went in to ride it but we would not take the couple of hour drive time from South Padre Island in the future. BTW, I am not rating the trail based on the wind that day as those things happen and are not the trails fault.

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

Belden Trail

Texas - 1 miles

The Belden Trail is a short neighborhood path in west Brownsville, which opened on an abandoned Union Pacific Railroad (formerly St. Louis,...

Southmost Nature Trail

Texas - 1.7 miles

The Southmost Nature Trail is a concrete multi-use path in Brownsville, Texas. The first phase of the eventual 7-mile trail was opened in May 2017 and...

Paseo de la Resaca Community Trail

Texas - 7 miles

The Paseo de la Resaca Community Trail is a 7-mile meandering multiuse path in Brownsville, Texas. Surrounded by residential neighborhoods, the scenic...

Accordion

Arroyo Colorado Trail

Texas - 1.8 miles

The Arroyo Colorado Trail offers an east-west route across Harlingen, which is situated in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas. On...

25th Street Hike and Bike Trail

Texas - 4.1 miles

Opened in 2015, the 25th Street Hike and Bike Trail runs north-south through Harlingen, connecting several neighborhoods and important destinations in...

Bicentennial Hike and Bike Trail

Texas - 4 miles

Mission Hike and Bike Trail

Texas - 4.8 miles

Mission Hike and Bike Trail in southern Texas is anchored by the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Within its 760 acres, more than 300 bird...

Corpus Christi Bay Trail

Texas - 8.9 miles

The Corpus Christi Bay Trail connects many of Corpus Christi's tourist attractions along its nearly 9 mile waterfront route, including the Art Museum...

Sunset Lake Park Trail

Texas - 1 miles

The scenic Sunset Lake Park Trail runs on a former rail line—abandoned in 1965—on the edge of Portland, Texas. Originally part of the San Antonio and...

Chacon Creek Hike and Bike Trail

Texas - 2.7 miles

The Chacon Creek Hike and Bike Trail winds along its namesake waterway through the Chacon, Three Points, Clark’s Crossing and Eastwoods neighborhoods...

Angel of Goliad Hike and Bike Trail

Texas - 2.5 miles

Although just 2.5 miles long, the Angel of Goliad Hike and Bike Trail shares a wealth of Texas history as it traverses the scenic and tree-filled...

Medina River Trail

Texas - 7 miles

The Medina River Trail is a natural gem in south San Antonio. As it parallels the river, the pathway winds through the lush woodlands of the Medina...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Get Your 2018 RTC TrailNation Jersey!
Donate and Get a FREE 2018 RTC Guidebook!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews
OR

Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!
OR