What is the Trail?

What is the Trail?

The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a 560-mile land and water route that tells the story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region. It connects historic sites in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and commemorates the events leading up to the Battle for Baltimore, the aftermath of which inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem. The trail traces American and British troop movements, introduces visitors to communities affected by the war, and highlights the Chesapeake region’s distinctive landscapes and waterways.

Congress established the Star-Spangled Banner Trail in 2008. The trail is one of 19 national historic trails administered by the National Park Service and one of 30 trails in the National Trails System, which includes the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, and Appalachian Trail.

Developing a national historic trail takes decades of work and a lot of coordination between governments, local businesses, and community organizations. While some trail segments and sites are already marked with interpretive information, NPS and partners plan to install additional signage—as outlined in the management plan—as funds become available. The management plan also calls for trail enhancements that will improve safety, protect natural and cultural resources, and provide new and better ways to access and enjoy the trail.

Download a copy of the trail's management plan executive summary.

If you have questions about the trail or thoughts about how it should develop, please contact us or our partners.

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