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EL CAMINO DEL CABALLO. El Camino del Caballo (also known as Contraband Trace and Smugglers' Road) was a network of footpaths across the southern part of what is now Nacogdoches County, used for smuggling goods from Louisiana into Spanish Texas, particularly between 1800 and 1820. The main route left the Old San Antonio Road near Arroyo Loco, west of Nacogdoches, crossed the lands of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de los Nacogdoches Mission, crossed Moral Creek near its junction with Alazan Creek, and then traversed lands granted to Nepomuceno de la Cerda and José María Mora. Near Carrizo Creek the trace joined another trail that came from the Saline Crossing of the Angelina River. From that juncture the smugglers returned to the Old San Antonio Road or went by Oil Springs, usually crossing Attoyac Bayou two miles below the site of the present State Highway 21 bridge. Efforts of José María Guadiana and other Spanish officials to prevent smuggling of contraband goods by way of the trace proved generally fruitless. The route continued to be used after Mexican independence, and segments remained in use until the 1890s, when fencing of the land cut off sections. Portions of the road could still be seen in 1991.


Edward Blount, "Location of the Old Contraband Trace in Nacogdoches County," Junior Historian, December 1945. Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century: Studies in Spanish Colonial History and Administration (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Nacogdoches County Genealogical Society, Nacogdoches County Families (Dallas: Curtis, 1985).


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"EL CAMINO DEL CABALLO," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.