Paseo del Morro

The trail follows the west section of the Spanish colonial defensive systems of Old San Juan from the San Juan Gate to Fort El Morro.

National Recreation Trail

Designated in 2001

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in the NRT Database

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Paseo del Morro is a boardwalk that borders the outer edge of Old San Juan's imposing Castillo San Felipe del Morro along the entrance to the San Juan Bay. The trail once served as a maintenance road for the west section of the city walls. In 1998 it was opened to the public and in 2001 it was designated as a National Recreational Trail.

The paseo was designed to provide the visitor with an impressive view of these 300-year-old walls and the natural beauty of the San Juan Bay and estuary systems. Built from 1539 to 1787, the El Morro fort has walls up to 16 feet thick, many garitas (sentry posts), and a New England-style lighthouse that was constructed in 1908. The walls around Old San Juan are tall and imposing. The walls are as high as 42 feet and as thick as 45 feet at the base, and two feet at the top. The mural, or city wall, features two walls of sandstone blocks filled with sand, mortar, limestone, and water.

The trail is illuminated which provides an impressive sight during the night. There are stone benches located along its route, and interpretive bilingual stations that enhance the cultural landscape and the recreational opportunities offered by the San Juan Historical Site. A number of features have been installed to help protect the historic features of the fortification from erosion. A breakwater was installed in 1949 and a rock pile along the shore called a riprap, was started in the 1970s and completed in the 1990s. Concrete coating, known as shotcrete, was sprayed, or ‘shot’, onto the slope to further protect the National Historic Site.

Once you reach the famous Gate of San Juan, a giant doorway that gives access to the inside of the city walls, the Paseo del Morro becomes one with the Paseo de la Princesa.

Today, San Juan is known as La Ciudad Amurallada (The Walled City). It was, along with Havana and Cartagena, Colombia, among the Spanish colonial cities with the most formidable walls.

Find out more about the San Juan National Historic Site at

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