During development, axons of the mammalian corpus callosum must navigate across the midline to establish connections with corresponding targets in the contralateral cerebral cortex. To gain insight into how growth cones of callosal axons respond to putative guidance cues along this CNS pathway, we have used time-lapse video microscopy to observe dynamic behaviors of individual callosal growth cones extending in living brain slices from neonatal hamster sensorimotor cortex. Crystals of the lipophilic dye 1,1′-dioctadecyl–3,3,3′,3′- tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate (Dil) were inserted into the cortex in vivo to label small populations of callosal axons and their growth cones. Subsequently, 400 microns brain slices that included the injection site, the corpus callosum, and the target cortex were placed in culture and viewed under low-light-level conditions with a silicon- intensified target (SIT) camera. Time-lapse video observations revealed striking differences in growth cone behaviors in different regions of the callosal pathway. In the tract, which is defined as the region of the callosal pathway from the injection site to the corresponding target cortex, growth cones advanced rapidly, displaying continual lamellipodial shape changes and filopodial exploration. Forward advance was sometimes interrupted by brief pauses or retraction. Growth cones in the target cortex had almost uniform compact shapes that were consistently smaller than those in the tract. In cortex, axons adhered to straight radial trajectories and their growth cones extended at only half the speed of those in the tract. Growth cones in subtarget regions of the callosum beneath cortical targets displayed complex behaviors characterized by long pauses, extension of transitory branches, and repeated cycles of collapse, withdrawal, and resurgence. Video observations suggested that extension of axons into cortical targets could occur by interstitial branching from callosal axons rather than by turning behaviors of the primary growth cones. These results suggest the existence of guidance cues distinct for each of these callosal regions that elicit characteristic growth cone behaviors.