The Ho Chi Minh trail was a path that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) to the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam) through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia. The system provided support, in the form of manpower and materiel, to the Vietcong, or National Liberation Front, and the North Vietnamese Army, or People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), during the Vietnam War (1959â€“1975).
The trail was not a single route, but rather a complex maze of truck routes, paths for foot and bicycle traffic, and river transportation systems. The name, taken from North Vietnamese president Ho Chi Minh, is of American origin. Although the trail was mostly in Laos, the communists called it the Truong Son Road, after a mountain range in central Vietnam. According to the U.S. National Security Agency's official history of the war, the Trail system was "one of the great achievements of military engineering of the 20th century."