More than 1,200 years ago, a group of Caddo Indians known as the Hasinai built a village 26 miles west of present-day Nacogdoches.The Caddo selected this site for a permanent settlement about A.D. 800. The site was the southwestern-most ceremonial center for the great Mound Builder culture.
From here, the Caddo dominated life in the region for approximately 500 years. The settlement at Caddo Mounds flourished until the 13th century when the site was abandoned. Most archeologists agree that the elite ruling class left Caddo Mounds after the loss of their regional influence, as outlying hamlets and trade groups became self-sufficient and grew less dependent on the cultural center in religious and political matters.
The Hasinai Caddo groups continued to live through the 1830s in their traditional East Texas homeland in the Neches and Angelina River valleys, but by the early 1840s, all Caddo groups had moved to the Brazos River area to remove themselves from Anglo-American repressive measures and colonization efforts. They remained there until the U.S. government placed them on the Brazos Indian Reservation in 1855, and then in 1859, the Caddo (about 1,050 people) were removed to the Washita River in Indian Territory, now western Oklahoma. The Caddo continue to live in western Oklahoma, primarily near the Caddo Nation Headquarters outside Binger, Oklahoma.
Today, three earthen mounds still rise from the lush Pineywoods landscape, where visitors discover the everyday life and the history of this ancient civilization. Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is a prehistoric village and ceremonial center located on the original El Camino Real de Los Tejas. Visitors can walk the 0.7-mile self-guided interpretive trail that includes the grass house, mounds, and borrow pit. An additional 0.4-mile interpretive self-guided trail along El Camino Real de Los Tejas allows visitors to learn about the historic road and see a piece of the original road. A visitor center and museum off hands-on exhibits that highlight Caddo village life.
Self-guided tours of Caddo Mounds typically take 1.5 hours, and guided tours are 1.5 – 2+ hours depending on selected activities. The site has two golf carts available on request for those who do not wish to walk the trails. Visitor parking is available on site.