In 1691 the first Spanish provincial Governor of Texas, Domingo Teran de los Rios, ordered that a trail be blazed as a direct route from Monclova, then a capital of the province, to the Spanish Missions established among the Indians of East Texas in 1690. Spanish Explorers blazed the road from the Rio Grande across Texas to the River San Francisco De Sabinas (Sabine River). The distance of more than 500 miles was known as the El Camino Real, King’s Highway, which is one of the oldest and most traveled overland routes in North America. Today’s travelers are able to travel parts of the historic El Camino Real which, in 1929, was incorporated into State Highway 21. The road crosses the Toledo Bend Reservoir at the Pendleton Bridge, now spanning the Sabine River and connecting with Highway 6 in Louisiana. This route was later known as the Old San Antonio Road, beginning in Louisiana and transversing the land area that is now Sabine County, the Old San Antonio Road continued westward through Nacogdoches, Crockett, Bastrop, San Antonio, and on to Monclova, Mexico.
West of the Sabine River (now Toledo Bend Reservoir) the Old San Antonio Road swung slightly south and westward. An artesian spring on the road located about 7 miles west of the Sabine River became a favorite camping spot. From this point (later the town of Milam), routes paralleling the Sabine River were established northward and southward. As the population grew other routes were established that connected the growing communities in different parts of the country. Some of these routes, still unpaved, are in use today. These old country lanes provide visitors with an opportunity to enjoy a quiet drive over wooden bridges and shaded, rock strewn creeks. Find out more about these roads, and drive over them, by checking out the Self Guided Road Tour for Sabine County.