The Canal Zone Postal Service issued the 12-cent Las Cruces Trail to Panama regular stamp on June 1, 1949, to mark the centennial of the California Gold Rush. The Postal Service issued four stamps on this date. It depicts a miner with axe leading heavily laden mules over the dangerously deteriorated Spanish-built Las Cruces Trail to Panama City. This was perhaps the most difficult and perilous part of the twenty-mile journey to Panama City, especially during the May-December 'rainy season'. The 12-cent stamp was intended for use on double-weight airmail letters to the United States or quadruple-weight boat mail letters. It was most often used, however, in combination with various Gold Rush centennial stamps or with other stamps in a 'make-up' rate situation.
Half million 12-cent Gold Rush Centennial stamps were printed.
Philatelically, it is most often seen with its sisters on cacheted first day covers created by a rather large group of artist/producers both on the Isthmus and in the United States. Some 31,000 were sold on the first day at the various Canal Zone post offices, the least number of any of the four stamps in this series. Single usages are very scarce, and it is rarely seen in combination with other stamps.