Visit Monterey County - Mission San Antonio to La Natividad

From Toro Park, one can see the slender valley that the expedition passed through on March 10, 1776 on their way to Monterey. The Monterey Presidio was the interim destination of Anza's settlers. They rested here in this northernmost frontier outpost of Alta California while Anza and a small party of soldiers went north on March 23 to select the sites for the San Francisco Mission and Presidio.

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Driving Directions for Auto Route

Continuing on the route from San Luis Obispo County, travel north on G14 to Jolon. Turn left on Mission Road to Mission San Antonio de Padua, located within Fort Hunter Liggett. (The Historic Route continues on Army lands and is not available to the public.) Leaving the mission, take G14 north to US 101 north. Exit US 101 at Arroyo Seco Road (before Soledad). Go west on Arroyo Seco Road to Fort Romie Road/G17. Turn north on Fort Romie Road; it becomes River Road and continues to Hwy 68. Turn left (west) on Hwy 68 toward Monterey. Hwy 68 merges with Hwy 1 to Monterey. Continue on Highway 1 south, and turn right on Rio Rd., or follow the signs to the Mission San Carlos in Carmel. The expedition's Camp #87 was at Los Correos, where a courier was sent ahead to Monterey. The expedition followed the Salinas River to Buena Vista near Spreckels and along the present day Highway 68. In Monterey, visit the Pacific House Museum (located at 20 Custom House Plaza) and walk the Path of History. To continue north, return to Highway 1 north and take Highway 68 to Salinas, where it becomes Main Street. Travel north on Main St. until it intersects with San Juan Grade Road. Turn right on San Juan Grade Rd. and travel north to San Benito County.

Hiking/Biking Ideas

Walking or cycling opportunities on Fort Ord public lands: Take Reservation Road to Portolá Rd. to Creekside Road. Toro Park is across Hwy 68 on Portolá Road. Walks in Monterey: Yellow markers on the sidewalk lead visitors on the Path of History. Follow these markers from the Presidio of Monterey Museum through Monterey State Historic Park to the San Carlos Cathedral (former Spanish Royal Presidio Chapel).

Points of Interest

Expedition Campsites
  • Mission San Antonio de Padua - Expedition Camp #85
    The mission was founded in 1771. Along the entrance road to the mission, a large wooden sign describes the Anza expedition's visit to the mission on March 6, 1776. Today, it is a working parish managed by the Diocese of Monterey. Located on Mission Rd. on the grounds of Fort Hunter Liggett, it includes a museum featuring exhibits on the life of the Salinan people. On route to the Mission, travelers can visit the Lake San Antonio (located at 2610 San Antonio Rd.) and enjoy recreational activities such as picnicking, camping, fishing, hiking, and swimming.
  • San Lorenzo County Park - Expedition Camp #86
    The expedition followed Sulphur Springs Canyon into Kent Canyon near King City. Camp was made north of King City at Los Ositos on the banks of the Salinas River (then called the Monterey River). Nearby, travelers can visit the Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum (1160 Broadway in King City), and learn how farming developed after the first settlers arrived.
  • San Carlos Borromeo del Río Carmelo - Expedition Camp #89
    For March 11, 1776, Father Font writes, "...the fathers, who were seven, welcomed us with singular joy and festive peals of the good bells there…to which the soldiers replied with volleys and a salvo…entering the church in a procession, we intoned the Te Deum…". Father Junípero Serra, who is buried there before its altar, founded Mission Carmel in 1770. The church seen today was built after Anza's visit.
  • Salinas - Expedition Camp #91
    The colonists remained in Monterey, and Anza's exploratory troop set out for San Francisco, traveling a direct route north-east to Natividad. They camped near Natividad Creek Park, where today, a wayside interpretive panel describes the indigenous use of native plants located there. Its location is on Laurel Drive (accessible via Highway 101) at Constitution Boulevard.
  • San Carlos Cathedral - Expedition Camps #88 and #90
    The current cathedral (at 500 Church St., Monterey) is on the former site of the Spanish Presidio and the site of the Royal Presidio Chapel known to the expedition as San Carlos de Borromeo de Monterey. Take a walk 1 block south-east and follow the shoreline of Lake El Estero to the flat, polished black stones of the Anza Walk sculpture that mark the expedition's path.

Additional Resources

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