The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile-long (4.0 km) path through downtown Boston, Massachusetts that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States. Marked largely with brick, it winds between Boston Common to the USS Constitution in Charlestown. Stops along the trail include simple explanatory ground markers, graveyards, notable churches and buildings, and a historic naval frigate. While most of the sites are free or suggest donations, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, and the Paul Revere House charge admission. The Freedom Trail is overseen by the City of Boston's Freedom Trail Commission and is supported in part by grants from various nonprofits and foundations, private philanthropy, and Boston National Historical Park.
The Freedom Trail was originally conceived by local journalist William Schofield, who in 1951 suggested building a pedestrian trail to link together important local landmarks. Boston mayor John Hynes decided to put Schofield's idea into action. By 1953, 40,000 people were walking the trail annually.
The National Park Service operates a visitor's center on the first floor of Faneuil Hall, where they offer tours, give out free maps of the Freedom Trail and other historic sites, and sell books about Boston and United States history.
Some observers have noted the tendency of the Freedom Trail's narrative frame to omit certain historical locations, such as the sites of the Boston Tea Party and the Liberty Tree.
Members of the Boy Scouts of America who hike or camp along the Freedom Trail may be eligible for the Historic Trails Award.
The Black Heritage Trail crosses the Freedom Trail between the Massachusetts State House and Park Street Church.