U.S. National Park Service
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail The natural beauty of San Benito County
The natural beauty of San Benito County

Photo: Greg Smestad
  San Benito County - Arroyo de San Benito to Pajaro River

Counties on the trail from south to north: 

To download as a PDF, click here (1.2 Mb). Viewable with Adobe Acrobat Reader 
Map of Juan Bautista de Anza trail in San Benito County

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.

Plaque at Mission San Juan Bautista
The plaque at the Mission, placed there during the 1976 Anza reenactment.
Photo: Greg Smestad

Diary of Pedro Font, March 24, 1776,

"...We set out from La Natividad at a quarter to eight in the morning, and at a quarter past four in the afternoon halted at the Arroyo de las Llagas [Llagas Creek]… First we went two leagues [five miles] northeast and somewhat east until we reached the top of the sierra, in order to descend to the arroyo of San Benito, near which among some rocks there is a fairly large cave with a partition, or divided into two compartments and very suitable for hermit life; then one league north, and two northeast with some deviation to the north, going through the valley of San Pasqual [San Benito] until we crossed the Pájaro [bird] River."

  About Your Visit to San Benito County

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.

Sites of Interest

A. 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.

B. 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.).

C. 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.

Natural beauty of the San Juan Bautista area
The natural beauty of the San Juan Bautista Area is little changed since Font described it.

Photo: Greg Smestad
  Learning On The Trail in San Benito County

Questions on the Trail

North of San Juan Bautista is Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park (via 101 North and Hwy 152 to Watsonville Rd.), where visitors can see a Costanoan village site, similar to one the expedition passed. There, one can learn about the Mutsun, one of the tribes later brought to Mission San Juan Bautista.

Question: What did Anza's name in Mutsun mean?
Question: When Anza was given a fish, what word in Mutsun was likely heard?

The Mutsun people populated the Pájaro River Basin, and lands that stretched from southern Santa Clara County to southern San Benito, and northern Monterey Counties, and from western Merced County to the coast.

Hear these words spoken on the audio track:

English Mutsun
Fish (singular)   huuyi
Fish (plural)   huuyikma
To fish (verb)   huyni
Salmon   huraka
Beads   maas

Mutsun has no word for 'hello,' but greetings are:
How are you?   hinkahte-m
Good morning   miSmin aruh'a
Good day   miSmin Tuuhis
Mother   aana
My mother   ansa
Water   sii

Mutsun has no word for 'thank you,' but ' I am pleased' is roughly:
Tumsan-ak kannis

Mutsun has no word for 'Good bye,' but 'Go well' is:
wattini miSmin      

Click to play The Mutsun MP3 file

Play MP3 file of The Mutsun narrated by Quirina Luna-Costillas
(playing time 1 minute 25 seconds)

On the CD: The Mutsun

Camp #104 was near Cañada Rd. in Santa Clara County at the confluence of Coyote Creek and Cañada de los Osos. It was near here that they were greeted again by Native Americans. Font's Diary of April 7, 1776, Easter Sunday, states, "...When we finished our descent, some ten or twelve Indians came out on the road to salute us, from a village which was near there on the banks of a lagoon. They gave us amole and two fish from the lagoon…In return for them, the commander gave the Indians some glass beads..." This group was likely from the Mutsun tribe and it was these peoples who were later taken to the nearby Mission San Juan Bautista. There, Father Felipe Arroyo de la Cuesta learned, and wrote down, the Mutsun language.

Mutsun is one of several Ohlone/Costanoan dialects that were spoken along California's central coast region. Only recently has this language been resurrected through Father de la Cuesta's notes and the hard work of descendants determined to teach it to a new generation. Today, many descendants continue to learn, teach, and practice Mutsun traditional ways.

Additional Resources

San Juan Bautista Chamber of Commerce - P.O. Box 1037, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045;
tel.: 831-623-2454,
web: sjbchamber.com

Mission San Juan Bautista - 2nd and Mariposa St., P.O. Box 400, San Juan Bautista, CA 95045;
tel.: 831-623-2127,
web: oldmissionsjb.org

San Juan Bautista State Historic Park - 2nd and Franklin St., San Juan Bautista, CA, 95045;
tel.: 831-623-4526,
web: parks.ca.gov

Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park (Watsonville Rd.) - Santa Clara County Parks, 298 Garden Hill Dr., Los Gatos, CA 95032;
tel.: 408-355-2200,
web: parkhere.org

Mutsun Language Foundation - 1162 Innsbruck Street, Livermore, CA 94550;
web: mutsunlanguage.com

Costanoan Indian Research
web: indiancanyon.org

Trailhead near Bautista Canyon Road
Trailhead near Bautista
Canyon Rd.
Photo: NPS

Back to Juan Bautista de Anza Trail Guide Homepage.

Listen to tracks on the Anza Trail Guide CD.

Learn more about the Anza Trail CD and Music.

Learn more about the Anza Trail Guide Project.

Look up names, locations and terms in the Glossary.

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