Visit San Benito County - Arroyo de San Benito to Pajaro River

After delivering the colonists to the presidio of Monterey, Anza rested and then set out on March 23, 1776 with Lieutenant Joaquin Moraga, Father Pedro Font, a corporal and two soldiers from the Monterey Presidio and eight of his soldiers to explore the San Francisco Bay area. Camping their first night at Natividad (in Salinas), they continued the next day through the future site of Mission San Juan Bautista.

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Driving Directions for Auto Route

Continuing on the route from Monterey County, stay on San Juan Grade Rd. until it intersects San Juan Canyon Road/San Juan Highway. Turn left onto San Juan Highway and cross CA 156 into San Juan Bautista. Stop at the Chamber of Commerce at 410 Third St. if you would like directions to 3 miles of hiking trail on Anza's historic route off San Juan Canyon Rd. on Old Stage Road. Also visit the Mission and the San Juan Bautista State Historic Park. To continue your journey, take San Juan Highway to US 101 north. Exit at 152 West to Watsonville Rd. to visit Chitactac - Adams Heritage County Park near Gilroy. To continue along the this route, see the Santa Clara County section of the Trail Guide.

Hiking/Biking Ideas

Biking is a good way to see the small town of San Juan Bautista. Fremont (Gabilan) Peak State Park is found along San Juan Canyon Rd., to the southeast. The peak overlooks the Anza trail and the sea. An uphill hike with breathtaking views of the countryside is found on Old Stage Road via a trailhead near the intersection of San Juan Canyon and San Juan Grade Roads.

Points of Interest

Expedition Campsites
  • Chitactac - Adams Heritage County Park
  • Fremont Peak State Park
  • Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area
  • Mission San Juan Bautista
    Built in 1797, after the expedition passed through the area, the mission (located at Second and Mariposa Streets; coordinates 36º 50' 45" N, 121º 32' 03" W) is in the traditional Amah-Mutsun territory. The Mission features a museum, garden and working parish. To learn more about the Mutsun, visit Chitactac - Adams Heritage County Park in Santa Clara County (101 North to 152 to Watsonville Rd.).
  • San Juan Bautista State Historic Park
    San Juan Bautista was once the largest town in central California and the hub of travel between Monterey and San José. José Tibúrcio Castro was the civil and secular administrator of the Mission. The Castro House was built between 1838-41 at the request of his son, José Antonio, who had become prefect of the northern district of Alta California. The town was temporarily known as San Juan de Castro. General José Antonio Castro's military headquarters can be viewed at the State Park. Neither General José Antonio Castro nor José Tibúrcio Castro descend from Joaquín Isidro de Castro's family who came with Anza.
  • San Juan Canyon Historic District
    The area of Font's arroyo of San Benito contains the Indian Canyon group on a site protected by American Indian descendants. A hiking trail exists at Old Stage Road (coordinates 36º 49' 49" N, 121º 32' 6.5" W). Off of San Juan Canyon Rd., are Fremont Peak State Park, at Gavilan Peak, and the Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area that overlook the trail.

Additional Resources

  • Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park (Watsonville Rd.) - tel.: 408-355-2200
    Santa Clara County Parks, 298 Garden Hill Dr., Los Gatos, CA 95032
  • Costanoan Indian Research
  • Mission San Juan Bautista - tel.: 831-623-2127
    2nd and Mariposa St., P.O. Box 400, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045
  • Mutsun Language Foundation
    1162 Innsbruck Street, Livermore, CA 94550
  • San Juan Bautista Chamber of Commerce - tel.: 831-623-2454
    P.O. Box 1037, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045
  • San Juan Bautista State Historic Park - tel.: 831-623-4526
    2nd and Franklin St., San Juan Bautista, CA, 95045

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