Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park is the site of the first major battle of the U.S.-Mexican War. Visitors can experience a landscape almost as it existed on the day of the battle. The park enjoys the unique distinction of being the only National Park Service unit to interpret the U.S.-Mexican War.
Together with the Resaca de la Palma Battlefield unit, Palo Alto Battlefield provides an opportunity to learn about the war, its causes and consequences, and its impact on the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico.
More Than a Battlefield
Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park was created to recognize an important historical event, but it also protects many natural resources. Park boundaries are drawn around more than 3,400 acres of undeveloped land. The park contains an abundance of plant and animal life—including many species unique to the U.S-Mexico border region.
The park's defining feature is the broad coastal prairie—scene of the first battle of the U.S.- Mexican War. Clumps of razor-sharp cord grass and other low-lying grasses and flowers cover this coastal plain. It stretches to the east for miles toward the Gulf of Mexico. It is interrupted only by scattered trees, yuccas, and prickly-pear cactus.
History & Nature Side by Side
Fortunately, cultural and natural resource activities at the park usually complement each other. Battlefield preservation projects usually support habitat preservation. This habit provides a home for plants and animals that have called Palo Alto their home since the time of the war. Similarly, projects to restore the landscape to its Mexican War era appearance generally encourage restoration of native habitat and species.
Visitors will ultimately benefit from the park's conservation efforts. History enthusiasts will have an opportunity to view terrain and vegetation that influenced the battle. Nature enthusiasts will have an opportunity to view plants and animals that drew the attention of soldiers more than so long ago.
The park hopes visitors will find Palo Alto a place of simple beauty and a living monument to the men who fought here so many years ago.