Civil War Trails® has been working with communities since 1994 to share their stories and connect visitors with small towns and big stories across a network that now spans six states. Travelers look to Trails to put them in the footsteps of the generals, soldiers, citizens, and the enslaved who found themselves in the midst of this Civil War.
Civil War Trails began with a group of historians whose efforts linked together the sites of Robert E. Lee’s retreat from Petersburg to his surrender at Appomattox. Today the program guides visitors to more than 1,200 sites, over 700 of which we are proud to interpret to the public for the first time.
Each and every site on the Trail is generated at the grass roots level, where local interest begins our process. When communities approach Civil War Trails, we start our work by bringing in local historians and descendants. This community-driven approach allows us to tell history and share stories that oftentimes have not been heard before. This approach allows us to interpret—not commemorate or memorialize—the events, people, and places of the most pivotal time in our nation’s history.
There’s always something new to see and do along the Trail, as our program continues to grow and new research comes to light. We look forward to seeing you on the Trail!!
Since the end of the sesquicentennial events in 2015, visitation to Civil War Trails sites has continued to grow. Travel to historic sites has outpaced the national average for other travel profiles and has become an area of interest for travelers of all backgrounds. Outside of our dedicated history audience, Civil War Trails has become a gateway to other authentic experiences. Along these historic routes you will find local food, drinks, and places to hike, bike and paddle. For these reasons, we and our partners continue to see an increase in visitors between the 25-34 age range. Civil War Trails is not just about the adventure — when you stand in the footsteps of history, these stories become more relevant than ever before.
To find out more about our visitors and the economic impact of Civil War Trails click here.
About Our Board
Civil War Trails, a 501 C-3 non-profit, is governed by a board of directors from across the breadth of our program. Each of our board members is either appointed by one the five partnering state travel offices, or is selected from our regional tourism partners. Board members serve to guide the Trails program forward as a tourism initiative.
While our product is educational, our program’s goal is to deliver economic development. As visitors seek out our sites, as part of the amenities your community offers, they bring in revenue for your businesses and coffers.