Natchitoches is the starting point for the El Camino Real, ending in Mexico. The King's Highway runs through several towns within Natchitoches Parish.
Designated as a National Historic Trail in 2004, El Camino Real de los Tejas has existed for more than 300 years. The Spaniards and the French who marked the trail were followed by early missionaries of multiple faiths and later by such men as Sam Houston Stephen F. Austin, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett.
Stop #1 – Fort St. Jean Baptiste
Located on the banks of Cane River Lake (formerly the Red River) this site features a full-scale replica of the French Colonial fort built in 1716’s. Living historians interpret everyday life of the French soldiers who were stations there in the early 18th Century. For more information and hours of operation, contact 318-357-3101 or 888-677-7853.
Stop #2 - Los Adaes State Historic Area
Los Adaes is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. Archaeological research continues to uncover new information regarding the occupants of Los Adaes and their lives during the 18th Century. For more information and hours of operation, contact 318-356-5555.
Stop #3 – Adai Indian Nation Cultural Center
The history of the Adai Indians is linked with the French and Spanish as allies through trade and military alliance. The center features exhibits on historic and contemporary American Indian culture. For information and hours of operation, contact 318-472-1007 or 877-472-1007.
Stop #4 – St. Anne Catholic Church
Built in 1916 this church on the National Register of Historic Places is a rare example of Gothic Revival architecture and the fourth building erected by Adai tribal members. St Anne serves as the Mother Church of the Adai Nation. For information, contact 318-0472-1007 or 877-472-1007.
Stop #5 - Rebel State Historic Site & LA Country Music Museum
Step back in time with the Louisiana Country Music Museum at Rebel State Historic Site. The museum, shaped like a stringed instrument, houses a wide collection of Country music. For more information and hours of operation, contact 318-357-3101 or 888-677-3600.
Stop #6 – Fort Jesup State Historic Site
A National Historic Landmark site is located 6 miles east of Many, LA off Hwy 6 (formerly the San Antonio Trace). The American fort was established in 1822 and Zachary Taylor was the first commander of the fort. It features the original field kitchen and a replica of officers’ quarters. For more information and hours of operation, contact 318-357-3101 or 888-677-7853.
El Camino Real Sale on the Trail – Ready to “shop ‘til you drop”? The eighth annual El Camino Real Sale on the Trail takes place May 6th and 7th along 175 miles of the historic El Camino Real de los Tejas. Follow the trail through the Caddo region which stretches from LA Hwy 6 in Natchitoches to TX Hwy 21 into Alto, TX.
Along the trail, shoppers will find new and used items sold by local businesses and private individuals. If you are a shopping warrior, collector, or just looking for fun, a weekend shopping the trail is a wonderful way to take advantage of the beautiful spring scenery and historical markers along the El Camino Real.
For more information on shopping or participating in the “Sale on the Trail”, call the Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission at 800-259-1714 or visit www.natchitoches.com.