Trip Report: Palo Alto Battlefield National Park

Trip Report from Palo Alto Battlefield National Park

Today’s trip report will be a short one on Palo Alto Battlefield National Park.  On Sunday, August 24th, my wife and I explored Palo Alto National Park.  It was a nice history experience. 

The Background

Location: 7200 Paredes line road, Brownsville, TX 78526
Admission:  Free
Elevation:  10 to 20 ft.
Weather:  Sunny, hot, 94 to 96F
Difficulty: Easy

Palo Alto is located close to Brownsville, Texas and only 5 miles north of downtown Brownsville.  The park has an interpretive trail, relics from the battle, and a small museum.  In addition, the park has reenactments, just check the schedule of events on the webpage.   Furthermore, there is a paved bike path that starts in the parking lot that leads to downtown Brownsville. 

The prairie of Palo Alto is the site of the first battle in the U.S.-Mexican War.  The U.S.-Mexican war lasted 2 years and significantly increased the size of the United States of America.  In addition, many key figures in the U.S. Civil War got their start in the battle of Palo Alto, like Ulysses S. Grant.  Moreover, the park describes what the landscape looked like in the past and the endangered plants and animals that a visitor would have encountered. 

at Palo Alto National Park
The Prairie Landscape of Palo Alto 

The Trail

Once we entered the park, a fork will take you to the trailhead parking lot or the museum parking lot.  We started our adventure at the trail.  The parking lot and the paved trail are devoid of any shade.  It was a very hot walk during the summer.  In addition, during the walk we saw various plants, a brown crane, and fiddler crab tunnels (no crabs though). 

at Palo Alto National Park
The Trailhead for Palo Alto Trail

The trail is stated to be .5 miles, but is extended by 2 additional trails that take you to the U.S. and Mexican sides.  We actually headed the wrong way down the trail initially and ended up at the backside of the museum.  Once we got back on track, we headed to the Mexican Side first.  It had Mexican replica cannons and interpretive panels that described the battle for the Mexican Army.

at Palo Alto National Park
Replica Mexican Army Cannon

Our next stop was the pavilion that marks the end of the main trail.  The pavilion is elevated slightly and overlooks both the Mexican and U.S. battle lines.  Then we finished the walk by heading to the U.S. side.  The U.S. had both light “mobile” cannons and heavy cannons.  In addition, there were more interpretive panels about The United States.

at Palo Alto National Park
2 of The United States' Light Cannons

The Museum

After a hot walk, we headed over to the museum and it was nice to get some air conditioning.  In the museum, we found out more information on the battle and the traumas it held for both sides.  In addition, the museum provides information on the political climate of both Mexico and the U.S.  Furthermore, you can see typical military uniforms of the time.

at Palo Alto National Park
The Palo Alto Visitor Center and Museum

Final Thoughts

We both thought Palo Alto Battlefield National Park was a neat little park, but it is very small.  Only expect to spend at most 2 hours, unless there is a special event happening.  Also, make sure you wear comfortable shoes, dress for the weather, bring water, and wear sun protection.

at Palo Alto National Park
Replica of a United States Army Heavy Cannon

If you have ever been to Palo Alto Battlefield or want to go let me know your thoughts.  

Jarrett Morgan


  1. It's definitely a doable trail for people with arthritis or other mobility issues. Just make sure to hydrate yourself appropriately and if you're on medication which might affect your skin, wear proper sun protection.


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