Historic Trails Program

Northern Star Scouting supports three Historic Trails in our area.  Units can hike these special trails where history and physical fitness come alive, bridging learning and outdoor activity.  Check out the three trails below, and follow the tabs for links to the requirements.  Further information about the National Historic Trails Award is listed below, with a downloadable application on the right side of this page.

Purchasing awards - Northern star scouting units  

All Historic Trail Award patches are available from the customer service desk at Northern Star Scouting's Leadership Center (6202 Bloomington Rd Fort Snelling, MN 55111) during office hours.  

Purchasing awards - out-of-council units

If your unit is registered in another council, please mail your completed forms to the Leadership Center (6202 Bloomington Rd Fort Snelling, MN 55111)  for processing.  Be sure to include a mailing address to which your patches and ivoice can be sent.  

Fort Snelling Historic trail

Explore history in an urban area on this trail through Minnehaha Park, Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote and Fort Snelling State Park. It's a great opportunity to learn about local history right in our Council's backyard.  This trail was designed with the help of educators from the Minnesota Historical Society to teach participants about the Fort and surrounding area. You'll go through Minnehaha Park, Coldwater Spring, Historic Fort Snelling and Fort Snelling State Park.

Fort Snelling Trail Requirements

L'Etoile Du Nord Historic Trail

L'Etoile Du Nord (Trail of North Star) was established in the downtown area of St. Paul by Boy Scout Troop 9499 of Apple Valley, in connection with Marc Flry's Eagle Scout Service Project. Follow the "Trail of the North Star" and spend the afternoon hiking through historic St. Paul while learning about the area. This trail will familiarize hikers with an area of historical value and begins at 240 Summit Avenue, the historic house of James J. Hill. 

L'Etoile du Nord Trail Requirements

1862 US Dakota War Historic Trail

The trail includes visits to important sites in, and around, Morton and Fairfax Minnesota associated with the war. You'll also see the State Historical Society Museum and the site at the Lower Sioux Agency where the first significant fighting took place. Other stops include the Birth Coulee Battlefield North of Morton, the Morton Monument Hill, and the Historic Fort Ridgely near Fairfax. Directions are located on the Trail questionnaire. Some Indian Lore Merit Badge requirements can be completed if Scouts take time in the Lower Sioux Agency Museum to learn about Dakota culture and governance. The entire trail in the Morton area exceeds 10 miles and counts as a 10 mile hike for the Hiking Merit Badge. Driving is allowed for purposes of earning the Trail patch, but not the Hiking Merit Badge.

1862 US-Dakota War Trail Requirements

National Historic Trails Award

In order to bring appreciation to the ideals, principles, traditions, and his­tory that have made our communities and country what they are today, the BSA encourages units to further their enjoyment of local Historic Trails by working on a national level award. The Historic Trails Award requirements emphasize cooperation between historic societies and Cub Scout, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scout units. Scouts should establish a close relationship with a local society as soon as possible when planning a historic activity—most communities have such societies.

To earn the award, members of your unit must plan and participate in a historic activity. A unit historic activity requires members to:

1. Locate a historic trail or site and study information relating to it. (The information may be obtained from an adult historic society, public library, or people living near the trail or site. You can find BSA Historic Trails here: https://tap.scouting.org/bsa-historic-trails-index/.

2. Hike or camp two days and one night along the trail or in the vicinity of the site. Options include an area hotel or the home of other Scouts.

3. Cooperate with an adult group such as a historic society to restore and mark all or part of this trail or site (This may be done during the hike or overnight camp), or cooperate with such a group to plan and stage a historic pageant, ceremony, or other public event related to this trail or site. Such an event should be large enough to merit coverage by the local press. Your unit leader must then file the Historic Trails Award application with your local council service center.

Contact us

John McDermid

Activities Director

Riley Firman

Field Assistant
Historic Trails Program

Documents to download