Trails and Roads: De Anza Trail
[Image used with Permission of the National Park Service]
The Juan De Anza Trail is a National Park Service Historic Trail that illustrates the interweaving of the three elements of the Spanish plan for colonization of its norther frontiers: the presidio, the mission, and the pueblo. It commemorates the route followed by Anza in 1775-76 when he led a contingent of 30 soldiers and their families to found a presidio and mission on the San Francisco Bay. Along the trail route, the visitor can experience the varied landscapes similar to those the expedition saw; learn the stories of the expedition, its members, and descendants; better understand the American Indian role in the expedition and the diversity of their cultures; and appreciate the extent of the effects of Spanish colonial settlement of Arizona and California. The Auto Route approximates the Historic Trail, and covers over 1200 miles between Nogales Mexico and San Francisco California. More information on the trail can be found at http://www.nps.gov/juba/index.htm.
The specific route of the Auto Trail in California is as follows (this information is edited from information provided by the National Park Service):
At Yuma, Arizona, the historic route dips into Baja California, Mexico, and then turns north through the California desert on unroaded Bureau of Land Management land to arrive at San Felipe Wash. The auto route takes the driver from Yuma to the San Felipe Wash on road well east of, but parallel to, the historic route.
To follow the route, take I-8 west from Yuma to Route 98. In Calexico, turn north from Route 98 to Route 111. At Heber Road, turn west on Route 86.
Next, turn west on Route 78 (which parallels San Felipe Wash, 11 miles of which can be experienced in Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area).
In San Diego County, follow Route 78 west to the Yaqui Pass/County Route S3 intersection. Turn north on County Route S3, and then left on Borrego Springs Road. Next, turn left on Palm Canyon Drive to the visitor center for Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which contains four expedition campsites along 24 miles of trail on the original route in a well-preserved landscape. It is best to visit this park from October through May.
The auto route skirts around Anza-Borrego Desert State park to rejoin the historic route at Bautista Canyon. From the visitor center, turn left on Montezuma Grande/County Route S22. County Route S22 and County Route S2 intersect; continue west on County Route S2. CR S2 intersects with Route 79, at which point you turn north on Route 79.
From Bautista Canyon Road through Santa Barbara, the highways generally follow the historic route of the Anza Expeditions.
Follow Route 79 north to the intersection with Route 371. Turn north on Route 371. Before the town of Anza, turn left on Bautista Road.
As the road enters the San Bernardino National Forest, it becomes dirt for about eight miles. The Anza expedition traveled through this canyon, the landscape of which remains well-preserved today. Continue on the Bautista Road to Fairview Avenue in Hemet. Turn right (north) to its intersection with Florida Avenue/Route 74, which will leave you going west on Route 74. At Route 79, turn north (right) and follow Route 79 to the intersection with the Ramona Expressway.
At the Ramona Expressway, turn northwest (left). Stop at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area managed by the California Department of Fish and Game to see their restoration of Mystic Lake (named Lake Bucareli by Anza). Follow the Ramona Expressway to I-215. Go north on I-215 to Route 60. Go west on Route 60. In Riverside, a visit to Martha McClean-Anza Narrows Park will take you to Anza's crossing of the Santa Ana River.
Continue on Route 60 to I-15. Go north on I-15 to I-10. Go west on I-10.
Continue west on I-10. As you approach downtown Los Angeles, take the New Avenue exit north to Mission San Gabriel, visited by the Anza Expedition. Take the City of San Gabriel historical walk and visit the Gabrielino-Tongva portion of Smith Park.
Continue west on I-10 to I-5. From I-5 take the Pasadena Freeway off-ramp to the Figueroa Street exit. Turn left onto Avenue 26 to the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens. Experience another Los Angeles. Get information on several places to access the Los Angeles River Trail, which is on the historic Anza route. Visit the nearby 4,000-acre Griffith Park, part of a land grant given to José Vicente Féliz, an Anza expedition member. Get directions to El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, the birthplace of Los Angeles in 1781.
Continue north on I-5, turn west on Route 134 and transition to US 101 north.
Continue north on US 101. Entering Thousand Oaks, take the Westlake exit east to Lang Ranch Parkway and the Oakbrook Chumash Interpretive Center. Experience the culture that so impressed Anza and Father Font.
Return to US 101 north and follow signs to the National Park Service visitor center for the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area. The park contains nearly 17 miles of trail designated at the recreation route for the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. The recreation route is parallel to the historic route (US 101) but is removed from it. It provides an experience in a landscape similar that encountered by the expedition.
Continue north on US 101. As you pass over the Santa Clara River and come to the coastline in Ventura, look for signs to San Buenaventura and Emma Wood State Beaches. Trails within those state parks provide an experience on the historic route of the Anza expedition.
Continue north on US 101 to the City of Santa Barbara. Take the Canon Perdido exit east to El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park, which offers history of the Spanish, Mexican, and American Indian heritage of Santa Barbara. It includes the Pico Adobe, built by Anza expedition descendants.
As you continue north on US 101, stop at any of the beach parks (Goleta County Beach Park or El Capitan, Refugio, or Gaviota State Beach Parks), to imagine what it might have been like when the Anza expedition passed through. A trail connects El Capitan and Refugio State Beach Parks.
At Gaviota, the historic route continues along the coast, but the road turns north through Gaviota Pass. The auto tour route follows US 101 to Route 1. South of Guadalupe, it rejoins the historic corridor.
Continue on US 101 to Route 1. Follow Route 1 through Lompoc and turn onto Route 246. Follow the signs to La Purisima Mission State Historic Park. This site is not on the original Anza expedition route, which followed the coast. Reconstructed to its 1820s appearance, the mission is set in a historic landscape and offers a picture of the life Spanish brought to the indigenous people as they settled Alta California.
Continue north on Route 1. Stop at the Main Gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Base offers weekly bus tours of the facility, much of it on the marked Anza Trail route.
Continue north on Route 1. From Guadalupe north to Mission San Antonio, the roads are within the historic corridor of the route taken by the Anza expeditions.
In Guadalupe, stop at the Dunes Center to get directions to Oso Flaco Lake, named by Portolá and called Laguna Larga by Anza, in the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Preserve. Explore the dune ecology and experience the challenges faced by the expedition.
Continue north on Route 1 to Pismo Beach and turn north on Price Canyon Road. At the intersection with Route 227, go north on Route 227 to the City of San Luis Obispo. Follow signs to Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, visited by the Anza expeditions. Anza became godfather to a Chumash boy christened while Anza was there.
From San Luis Obispo, travel north on US 101. In the City of Atascadero, stop at City Hall to get directions to several miles of trail along the Salinas River. Return to US 101. At Paso Robles, turn northwest onto County Route G14. Just south of the intersection of Nacimiento Road, on the east side of the road, Gate 10 of Camp Roberts is posted with an Anza Trail marker. About eight miles of trail are marked on the base. Access to the base is provided on US 101 north of San Miguel in Bradley.
Continue on County Route G14.
Travel north on County Route G14 to Jolon. Turn left on Mission Road to Mission San Antonio de Padua, a restored structure in a historic setting. The site was visited by the Anza expedition. The historic route continues through Fort Hunter Liggett and is not available to the public. The auto route uses County Route G14 north and rejoins the historic route near King City.
Continue on County Route G14 to US 101 north. Before reaching Soledad, exit at Arroyo Seco Road. Travel west on Arroyo Seco Road to Fort Romie Road (County Route G17). Turn north on Fort Romie Road (County Route G17) to Route 68. Turn left (west) on Route 68 toward Monterey. To visit the trail on Fort Ord Public lands, take Reservation Road to Portola Road to Creekside Road where a trail kiosk stands. Trail instructions can be found there.
Continue on Route 68 to Route 1 to Monterey. Visit the Presidio Chapel and Monterey Presidio State Historic Park.
Continue on Route 1 to Carmel. Turn right on Rio Road or follow signs to Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Carmelo. Return to Route 1 and turn north. Take Route 68 to Salinas where it becomes Main Street. Travel north on Main Street until it intersects with San Juan Grade Road. Turn right on San Juan Grade Road and travel north.
Continue of San Juan Grade Road until it intersects San Juan Canyon Road/San Juan Highway. Turn left onto San Juan Highway and cross Route 156 into San Juan Bautista. Stop at the Chamber of Commerce at 1 Polk Street to get directions to 5 miles of trail on the historic route along Old Stage Road.
Continue on San Juan Highway to US 101. Travel north on US 101.
Travel north on US 101 to Route 85 north. To visit the Peralta Adobe, a 1790s structure lived in by Anza expedition member, Luís María Peralta , take Guadalupe Parkway (Route 87) North. Take the Santa Clara/Julian Street off ramp. Take the Julian Street exit. At the bottom of the off ramp, turn right. Turn right on Terraine Street (small side street). Turn left into the parking lot on the corner of Terraine and West Saint John Streets. The Peralta Adobe is at 175 W. St. John Street. From there, you can visit Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the sister mission to Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores), founded by Anza expedition members.
Take The Alameda west and northwest until it becomes Route 82, El Camino Real. Stop at Mission Santa Clara de Asís at 500 E. Camino Real, Santa Clara. Continue on to the San Tomas Expressway.
Take the Expressway south to I-280. Continue west on I-280 to intersection of Route 85. Continue on Route 85 north toward Mountain View to Route 82/El Camino Real. Exit and take El Camino Real north.
In the City of Palo Alto, stop at El Palo Alto, the tall tree measured by Father Font.
Continue north on El Camino Real, Route 82. In San Mateo, take Arroyo Court west to see a California Historic Landmark plaque commemorating campsite #96 on the expedition return from San Francisco. Continue north on El Camino Real. In Burlingame, a California Historic Landmark plaque commemorating expedition camp #94 is located at El Camino Real and Ralston Avenue. Continue north on El Camino Real.
In Daly City, turn left (west) on John Daly Boulevard to Route 1 north.
Continue on Route 1 north (19th Avenue). It jogs right through Golden Gate Park and then jogs left to become Park Presidio. After you cross Geary Boulevard, look for Lake Street on your right. Turn right onto Lake Street and look for parking. Mountain Lake Park is at the ends of the streets to your left. It was the campsite of Anza's party that reconnoitered the site for the presidio. You can take a trail from the lake into the Presidio of San Francisco. Continue on Route 1 until the exit just before the Golden Gate Bridge. Park in view area on the southeast side of the bridge. A short walk takes you to the Fort Point overlook, the end point of the Anza Trail.
Continue on to explore the Presidio of San Francisco. While in San Francisco, you can also visit Mission San Francisco de Asís (Mission Dolores), the site for which was selected by Anza.
Return down the Peninsula to the City of Mountain View. On most of this route, the roads followed are within the historic route corridor until the San Antonio Valley Road makes a sharp turn west in eastern Santa Clara County.
In Mountain View, take Route 237 east past I-880 to Warm Springs Road. Turn left (north) on Warm Springs Road. Alameda County Continue north on Warm Springs Road. At Mission Boulevard, turn right onto Mission Boulevard/Route 238. In Fremont, stop at Mission San Jose at 43300 Mission Blvd.
Continue north on Mission Boulevard/Route 238 to the intersection with I-580. Travel north on I-580/I-80. Contra Costa County Continue north on I-80 to Hercules. At Hercules, exit on San Pablo Avenue/Route 4. Go west under the freeway to San Pablo Avenue. At San Pablo Avenue, turn right (north). In the town of Rodeo, campsite #99 is commemorated with a plaque at Parker Street. Continue north on San Pablo Avenue.
As you cross under I-80 into the town of Crocket, you will be on Pomona Street. Travel east on Pomona Street, which becomes Carquinez Scenic Drive. You can make a stop at East Bay Regional Park District's Carquinez Regional Park for a hike on the bluffs above Carquinez Strait. Continue on Carquinez Scenic Drive. Near Port Costa, turn right (south) on McEwen Road to Route 4. Turn left (east) on Route 4. At Alhambra Way, exit and follow the signs to John Muir National Historic Site, which contains the Vicente Martinez Adobe. Vicente Martinez' first wife was Guadalupe Moraga, a great-granddaughter of the Sergeant of the Anza expedition.
Continue east on Route 4. There are several places to access the Delta-de Anza Regional Trail of the East Bay Regional Park District. Follow Route 4 east until the town of Oakley and then follow Route 4 south through Brentwood (Brentwood Boulevard to Byron Highway). When Route 4 makes a sharp left turn east, continue straight (south) on Byron Highway (County Route J4). At Mountain House Road, exit County Route J4 and turn right (south).
Travel south on Mountain House Road. At the junction of Altamont Pass Road, continue south on Midway Road. At Midway, turn right (west) on Patterson Pass Road to Cross Road. Turn left (south) on Cross Road to its intersection with Tesla Road. Turn right (west) on Tesla Road/County Route J2 to Mines Road. At Mines Road, turn left (south). Follow Mines Road to the Santa Clara County line where it becomes San Antonio Valley Road.
Continue south on San Antonio Valley Road until it makes a sharp right (westward) turn. At this point, the historic route continues south to meet Coyote Creek and follow it through Henry W. Coe State Park. The auto tour route continues on roadways. Continue west on San Antonio Valley Road/Route 130, which passes over Mount Hamilton (elevation 4209), to Alum Rock Avenue. Make a left turn at Alum Rock Avenue, which is the continuation of Route 130 to US 101. Turn south on US 101 through Morgan Hill and San Martin. Take the Leavesley exit east. At New Avenue, turn left (north)
At Roop Road, turn right (east). Follow Roop Road to Gilroy Hot Springs Road. Turn left on Gilroy Hot Springs Road to the intersection of Cañada Road. Continue on Gilroy Hot Springs Road to the Hunting Hollow entrance to Henry W. Coe State Park, where you can hike parallel to the historic route of the expedition along Coyote Creek and see their noontime stop at Los Cruzeros.
Turn right (south) on Cañada Road and follow it south and west. In this section, the road follows the historic route. At Ferguson Road (Pachaco Pass Highway), turn left (south) to Bloomfield Avenue/County Route G7. At Bloomfield Avenue/County Route G7, turn right (west). At the intersection of Route 25 turn right (west) to US 101. Turn south on US 101. The expedition returned to Monterey after its exploration of the East Bay Area.
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© 1996-2006 Daniel P. Faigin.
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