The History of our Nation literally passed through Los Angeles

Jan 13, 2011 by Lisa Newton

Did you know that in Los Angeles’ backyard we are a major part of a 1,200 mile trail that stretches from Arizona all the way to San Francisco?

The trail traverses through deserts, rivers, woodlands, shorelines, grasslands, and chaparral.

It’s name is the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.

In October 1775, the Spanish, in order to reinforce their presence in Northern California as a buffer against the advancing Russian colonization of the Americas, wanted to establish a harbor that would provide shelter for their own ships.

Because of his previous successes, Juan Bautista de Anza was chosen to lead the military expedition. Arriving at Mission San Gabriel, in January 1776–and after suffering greatly from the winter weather–the colonists lead by Anza, continued on to Monterey. But, de Anza didn’t stop there. He and 12 colonists continued north and established the first overland route to San Francisco Bay.

Moving further north, de Anza located the sites for the Presidio of San Francisco and Mission San Francisco de Asis in present day San Francisco, California on March 28, 1776. Although he didn’t actually establish the settlements here (that he left to the missionaries), he also marked the location of the original sites for Mission Santa Clara de Asis and the town of San José de Guadalupe, which later became modern day San Jose, CA.

Entwined within a city or isolated from civilization, this trail offers adventure, excitement, and an opportunity to experience history in all of the places where it actually happened:

Below is a map of the entire trail:

Los Angeles County is one of the thirteen counties which this trail traverses. Below is a map of the trail in Los Angeles:

You might not be able to hike the entire Juan Bautista de Anza Trail; but you can enjoy several miles of it.

Although, I don’t know where all of the access points are located, the part of the LA County portion of the Trail, follows the Los Angeles River Bicycle Path:.

If you’d like to do more reading about this legendary and historical Trail, the University of Oregon has a wonderful resource entitled, An Interactive Study Environment on Spanish Exploration and Colonization of “Alta California” 1774-1776.

It’s obviously a must read to understand both the early beginnings of California, and to gain additional information about the trail.

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Hiking/Walking, Northeast LA, Recreation, SoCal

3 Responses to “The History of our Nation literally passed through Los Angeles”

  1. Carren says:

    Great post. Would these places have other historical markers other than the stakes on the ground?
    Carren´s last blog ..SightedMy ComLuv Profile


    Lisa Newton Reply:

    @Carren, Yes, from what I can gather, several locations along the trail have much more than just a stake.

    “September 25th marked the unveiling of the first full-scale Anza Trail exhibit in Martinez, California!”

    But, in this case, that stake lead to more research, so you never know just how valuable a stake will be. :)


  2. Carren says:

    Yes! Very true :) Thanks very much!
    Carren´s last blog ..SightedMy ComLuv Profile


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