U.S. National Park Service
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail Along the Anza trail at the Riverside-San Diego county line
Along the Anza trail at the Riverside - San Diego county line

Photo: Vladimir Guerrero
  Riverside County - Christmas Eve's Camp to the Santa Ana River

Counties on the trail from south to north: 

To download as a PDF, click here (779 Kb). Viewable with Adobe Acrobat Reader 
Map of Juan Bautista de Anza trail in Riverside County
View north at San Carlos Pass in Riverside County
The view north at San Carlos Pass not far from the Pacific Crest Trail and Coyote Canyon

Photo: Phil Valdez

Driving Directions for Auto Route

Continuing on the route from San Diego County, follow CA 79 north to its intersection with CA 371. Turn northeast on CA 371 and stop in the town of Anza. Continuing on, turn left (north) on Bautista Canyon Rd. to the San Bernardino National Forest, where the road is unpaved for several miles. Continue to Fairview Ave. in Hemet, and turn right (north). At its intersection with Florida Ave./CA 74, turn west (left) onto CA 74. Turn north (right) on Mountain Ave., which becomes the Ramona Expressway. Follow this expressway west to Lake Perris and then I-215. Go north on I-215 to CA-60, and go west on I-60. In Riverside or Rubidoux, visit the Santa Ana River. Continue on CA-60 to I-15, and go north on I-15 and take I-10 west. To continue along this route, see Los Angeles County.

Hiking/Biking Ideas

From the town of Anza, or from the Pacific Crest Trail, one can hike back to the Upper Willows in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Alternatively, you can start at the southern end of the park and hike up Coyote Canyon. You can also stretch your legs in the San Bernardino National Forest, or at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area and walk around the Lake Perris State Recreation Area. The Santa Ana River area contains trails as well.

Font's map showing camp at San Carlos Pass


A portion (above) of Font's map showing the camp at San Carlos Pass. It was from there on December 28, 1775 that Anza writes, to the governor of California, Fernando de Rivera y Moncada, and says of the colonists "...since they have been in the service for eight months, the clothing they were given has been destroyed and worn out. Because of that, and because the season is so raw, they are in need of reparation. Therefore, I have taken this opportunity to give Your Honor this notice that, if you do not feel it is inconvenient, you might send someone to find a provision of underclothing. That is truly what is needed by all the men, women and children. Of course, they will be able to make do with their exterior clothing and the use of some blankets until they have such [underclothing]."
The letter was sent ahead to San Gabriel.

Rocks at Puerto Real San Carlos
Rocks at the Puerto
Real San Carlos

Photo: Phil Valdez 
  About Your Visit to Riverside County

The expedition continued up Coyote Canyon and camped at the top of Upper Willows on Christmas Eve. Here, they met the natives of the Cahuilla tribe whom they called the Danzantes (Dancers), and the colonists later held a fandango. Traveling on via Bautista Canyon, they followed the San Jacinto River and reached the Santa Ana River, where they camped on New Year's Eve. They then proceeded westerly toward Mission San Gabriel.


Sites of Interest

A. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Expedition Camp #54
The expedition's Christmas Eve stop was at the "Fig Tree Spring" in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. A marker commemorates the birth of Salvador Ygnacio Linares on that night. Motorized vehicles are prohibited in this area of the park, but hikers can reach the area from the town of Anza, or from the south (San Diego County). Maps are available at the visitor center.

B. Puerto de San Carlos (San Carlos Pass) and Expedition Camp #55
On December 26, 1775, Font writes "...at once I noted the change in the landscape, for now we saw some scrub live oaks and other small trees...This place has a spring of water and a small arroyo nearby, with plentiful and good grass." The pass is in Terwilliger Valley at the upper end of Coyote Canyon about seven miles southeast of the town of Anza. The area of the camp is now on a privately owned ranch, but can be accessed by hikers from the Pacific Crest Trail. In the nearby town of Anza, interpretive exhibits are found at the Hamilton Schools and Library complex (57550 Mitchell Road).

C. San Bernardino National Forest and Expedition Camp #56 and #57
A broad, bowl-shaped valley between Cahuilla Mountain and Bautista Canyon, the area of Camp #56 at Tripp Flats can be viewed from the road. Take Cary Rd. north off Highway 371 outside of Anza. This joins Tripp Flats Rd. which then ends at Bautista Canyon Road. Most of the latter road is within the San Bernardino National Forest. Eight miles of it are unpaved and allow one to experience rare well- preserved chaparral and riparian landscapes on the historic route.

D. San Jacinto Wildlife Area, Lake Perris and Expedition Camp #58
With the San Jacinto mountains at their right, the expedition traveled north and camped near a lake that Anza had named in 1774 after his supporter, Viceroy Bucareli. On December 30, 1775, Father Font noted "large white flocks" of geese. Today's Bernasconi Pass (along the Ramona Expressway) was used by the expedition to travel from their camp to the Alessandro Valley south of Riverside. Today, one can visit the Lake Perris State Recreation Area and the nearby San Jacinto Wildlife Area. An Anza trail marker is found at the southern end of the lake.

E. Santa Ana River Crossing and Expedition Camp #59
Both Anza expeditions crossed the river here, and it was the New Year's Eve campsite for the 1775-76 expedition. Riverside County Regional Parks offers two Anza-related sites. The Camp #59 and river crossing sites are both within the Martha McLean/Anza Narrows Park (5759 Jurupa Ave.) in Riverside. At their Jensen-Alvarado Historic Ranch and Museum (4307 Briggs St. off Rubidoux Blvd.), living history programs describe how Anza expedition descendants lived.

  Learning On The Trail in Riverside County

Questions on the Trail

On the trek from Tubac to San Francisco, one woman died and three babies were born. Anza brought approximately 197 settlers, 87 of whom were under the age of 12.
Three babies were born on the trek from Tubac to San Francisco

Drawing: Sara Dick

On Christmas Eve, writes Anza, "At ten forty-five at night she [the mother] happily gave birth to a boy, which makes three who have been born between the presidio of Tubac and this place, not counting two others who were given time for their deliveries. These and three others who were born before reaching San Miguel de Horcasitas make a total of eight, all while on the march, without having lost but one woman."

Question: How are traveling families now similar to those that Anza brought to California? How are they different?

On the CD: Fandango and Nativity

Coyote Creek; Music for Fandango: La Xameico; Pedida de la Posada. Christmas Eve's camp and merriment was in Coyote Canyon where the fourth fandango took place. Anza passed out a pint of liquor to each colonist, but with Font's protest, and they ate beef. That night, a little before midnight, on the Holy Eve of the Nativity, a baby boy, Salvador Ygnacio Linares, was born. Dating from the 16th century, la Posada is traditionally sung at Christmas. It tells of Joseph and Mary, who is with child, traveling to Bethlehem where they have difficulty finding lodging (posada). The Anza Trail travelers might well have made comparisons to their own difficult journey.

Click to play music for Fandango MP3 audio file

Play MP3 file of Music for the Fandango and Nativity:
La Xameico, Pedida de la Posada
preceded by the sounds of Coyote Creek.
Ron Kiel (Violin) Calicanto (Choral)
(playing time 4 minutes 21 seconds)

Additional Resources

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park - 200 Palm Canyon Drive, Borrego Springs CA 92004;
tel.: 760-767-5311,
web: parks.ca.gov

Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail Association - 5325 Elkhorn Blvd., PMB #256 Sacramento, CA 95842;
tel.: 916-349-2109,
web: pcta.org

Hamilton Schools - 57550 Mitchell Road, Town of Anza, CA 92539;
tel.: 909-763-1840

San Bernardino National Forest, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto National Monument - 51-500 Highway 74, Palm Desert, CA 92260;
tel.: 760-862-9984,
web: fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino

Lake Perris State Recreation Area - 17801 Lake Perris Drive Perris, CA 92571;
tel.: 951-940-5603,
web: parks.ca.gov

San Jacinto Wildlife Area California Dept. of Fish and Game - 1812 9th Street, Sacramento, CA 95814;
tel.: 909-597-9823,
web: dfg.ca.gov/lands

Martha McLean/Anza Narrows Park, Riverside County Regional Parks - 5759 Jurupa Ave., Riverside CA 92506;
tel.: 951-683-1653,

Life at an Anza Campsite in 1776
Life at an Anza campsite in 1776

Graphic: Bill Singleton

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