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Brain enriched voltage-gated sodium channel (VGSC) Na1.2 and Na1.6 are critical for electrical signaling in the central nervous system. Previous studies have extensively characterized cell-type specific expression and electrophysiological properties of these two VGSCs and how their differences contribute to fine-tuning of neuronal excitability. However, due to lack of reliable labeling and imaging methods, the sub-cellular localization and dynamics of these homologous Na1.2 and Na1.6 channels remain understudied. To overcome this challenge, we combined genome editing, super-resolution and live-cell single molecule imaging to probe subcellular composition, relative abundances and trafficking dynamics of Na1.2 and Na1.6 in cultured mouse and rat neurons and in male and female mouse brain. We discovered a previously uncharacterized trafficking pathway that targets Na1.2 to the distal axon of unmyelinated neurons. This pathway utilizes distinct signals residing in the intracellular loop 1 (ICL1) between transmembrane domain I and II to suppress the retention of Na1.2 in the axon initial segment (AIS) and facilitate its membrane loading at the distal axon. As mouse pyramidal neurons undergo myelination, Na1.2 is gradually excluded from the distal axon as Na1.6 becomes the dominant VGSC in the axon initial segment and nodes of Ranvier. In addition, we revealed exquisite developmental regulation of Na1.2 and Na1.6 localizations in the axon initial segment and dendrites, clarifying the molecular identity of sodium channels in these subcellular compartments. Together, these results unveiled compartment-specific localizations and trafficking mechanisms for VGSCs, which could be regulated separately to modulate membrane excitability in the brain.Direct observation of endogenous voltage-gated sodium channels reveals a previously uncharacterized distal axon targeting mechanism and the molecular identity of sodium channels in distinct subcellular compartments.