Visit Santa Clara County . Gilroy Valley to Palo Alto

Anza's small exploratory group traveled past the area that is today Gilroy, encountering many American Indians along their route. After choosing the sites for the Mission and Presidio in San Francisco, they returned to the county again on their way to the East Bay. Lt. Moraga came through Santa Clara County again in June 1776 with the settlers to found the San Francisco Presidio. In November 1777, he and some of those settlers founded the Pueblo of San José near the Guadalupe River.

Download map

Driving Directions for Auto Route

Anza entered the county three times. To follow his northern route from San Benito County, take US 101 to CA 85 north. To visit the Peralta Adobe, take Guadalupe Pkwy/Hwy 87 north, and take the Julian/Saint James Street exit to Julian Street. At the bottom of the off ramp, turn right on Terraine St. Turn left into the parking lot on the corner of West Saint John Street. To go on to Mission Santa Clara, take The Alameda westward until it becomes El Camino Real; the mission is at 500 El Camino Real. Continue on El Camino Real, turn south on the San Tomas Expressway and go west on I-280. Stop in Cupertino near camp #93. Continue west on I-280 to CA 85 north toward Mountain View. Take the CA 82/El Camino Real exit and take El Camino Real north. Stop at El Palo Alto. Continue north to San Mateo, or travel to the East Bay through Santa Clara via CA 237 east past I-880 to Warm Springs Road. Turn left (north) on Warm Springs Road. Continue north on Warm Springs/North Milpitas Rd. into Alameda County. To travel in the eastern part of the county near Mt. Hamilton, see the section of the Trail Guide called "Getting Back/Mt. Diablo Range".

Hiking/Biking Ideas


Points of Interest

Expedition Campsites
  • Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park - Expedition Camp #92
    The camp for March 24, 1776 was at Llagas Creek in the city of Morgan Hill. Along the way, many natives (and a village) were encountered. At Chitactac-Adams Park (10001 Watsonville Rd., Gilroy), you can visit a Mutsun Ohlone village site along Uvas Creek to view petroglyphs, bedrock mortars and interpretive exhibits about the Ohlone culture. Nearby is DeBell Uvas Creek Park Preserve.
  • San Joseph de Cupertino - Expedition Camp #93
    On March 25, they camped at place that they called San Joseph de Cupertino, a name that is preserved today in the city of Cupertino to the east. From here, Font and Anza remarked that they could see the San Francisco Bay. Today, from McClellan Ranch Park (22221 McClellan Rd.) or on the "knoll" at Rancho San Antonio County Park (on Cristo Rey Dr.), visitors have vistas that extend to the bay.
  • Loop Around to the East Bay - Expedition Camp #97
    Anza and the exploratory group came back to Santa Clara county on their way back from S.F. en route to explore the East Bay. Father Font measured El Palo Alto by using a device that measures angles, together with some trigonometry. This 'tall redwood tree' still stands today (El Camino Real at Alma St., Palo Alto). After traveling south parallel along the shoreline from Palo Alto, camp for March 30 (#97) was on the banks of the Río de Guadalupe (Guadalupe River). At the 40 acre Ulistac Natural Area (37º 24' 09" N 121º 58' 04" W), currently being restored, visitors can see willows, sycamores, and elderberry. Trails in the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge near its education center near Alviso can also be explored.
  • Henry Coe State Park - Expedition Camps #103 and #104
    Los Cruzeros was a stop on Anza's southbound route getting back to Monterey from the East Bay. The camp is within Henry Coe State Park, as are campgrounds and a visitors center. To reach the park, take the East Dunne Ave. or Leavesley Rd. exits east and follow the signs to the park.

Additional Resources

  • Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge - tel.: 408-262-5513
    Highway 237 to Zanker Rd to Grand Blvd. (in Alviso)
  • El Palo Alto Park - tel.: 650-329-2100
    (El Camino Real at Alma St.) Palo Alto, CA 94301
  • Guadalupe River Park - tel.: 408-298-7657
    715 Spring St., San Jose, CA 95110
  • Henry Coe State Park - tel.: 408-779-2728
    9000 E. Dunne Ave., Morgan Hill, CA 95037
  • Mission Santa Clara de Asís - tel.: 408-554-4023
    500 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA 95053 1500
  • Parque de Los Pobladores
    S. Market St. at W. William St., San Jose, CA 95113
  • Peralta Adobe - tel.: 408-993-8300
    175 W. Saint John St., San Jose, CA 95110
  • Santa Clara County Parks - tel.: 408-355-2200
    298 Garden Hill Dr., Los Gatos, CA 95032

« Return to County List