Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site, situated at the very southern tip of Texas, commemorates an 1846 battle between the United States and Mexico, and protects large ecosystems of acacia and mesquite trees, yuccas, and cactus.
On May 8, 1846, troops from the United States and Mexico clashed on the prairie of Palo Alto. About 2,300 U.S. Army troops led by Brig. General Zachary Taylor faced 3,200 Mexican troops commanded by Maj. General Mariano Arista. The ensuing battle was the first in a two-year conflict that changed the map of North America. Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site preserves the site of this notable battle and provides an understanding of the causes, events, and consequences of the first war between the independent republics of the United States and Mexico.
In addition to its rich cultural history and related artifacts, Palo Alto is notable for its natural features. Drawn around an expanse of more than 3,400 acres of undeveloped land, more than half of them owned by private landowners, the park boundaries contain an abundance of plant and animal life, including species that are unique to the U.S.-Mexico border region.
If You Go
A trail (1 mile round-trip) leads to an overlook of the battlefield, and a recently opened shorter trail (one-half mile round-trip) along the Mexican line of defense allows visitors to experience firsthand a view of the battlefield from the Mexican vantage point.