U.S. National Park Service
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail Sierra del Chasco at Henry Coe State Park
Sierra del Chasco at Henry Coe State Park

Photo: Greg Smestad
  Santa Clara County – Gilroy Valley to Palo Alto

Counties on the trail from south to north: 

To download as a PDF, click here (932 Kb). Viewable with Adobe Acrobat Reader 
Map of Juan Bautista de Anza trail in Los Angeles County

Bas-relief at the Parque de los Pobladores
One of the bas-reliefs at
the Parque de los Pobladores
honoring Anza expedition

Photo: Greg Smestad

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".

  About Your Visit to Santa Clara County

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.

Sites of Interest

A. Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park and 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.

B. San Joseph de Cupertino and 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.

C. Loop Around to the East Bay via 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.

D. San José de Guadalupe and Adobes of Expedition Descendants
Named after the patron saint of the expedition, the Virgen de Guadalupe, San José was the first civilian Spanish settlement in California. It was founded in November of 1777 by Lt. Moraga and a handful of Anza's settlers. Around 1797, the settlers built adobes around a central plaza that is today Plaza de César Chávez. Several abodes (including adobes) of expedition members and descendants can be seen in the Santa Clara Valley including: Joaquín Bernal's (at Santa Teresa County Park), Fernando Berryessa's (373 Jefferson St. near Mission Santa Clara), Luis María Peralta's (175 W. Saint John St.) (click to see photo of Peralta Adobe), José Higuera's (North Park Victoria Dr., Milpitas) and José Maria Alviso's (Piedmont and Calaveras Rds. in Milpitas).

E. Henry Coe State Park and 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.

  Learning On The Trail in Santa Clara County


Additional Resources

Santa Clara County Parks - 298 Garden Hill Dr., Los Gatos, CA 95032;
tel.: 408-355-2200,
web: parkhere.org

Guadalupe River Park - 715 Spring St., San Jose, CA 95110;
tel.: 408-298-7657,
web: grpg.org

Parque de Los Pobladores - S. Market St. at W. William St., San Jose, CA 95113;
web: sjparks.org

Peralta Adobe - 175 W. Saint John St., San Jose, CA 95110;
tel.: 408-993-8300,
web: historysanjose.org

Mission Santa Clara de Asís - 500 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA 95053 1500;
tel.: 408-554-4023,
web: scu.edu/mission

El Palo Alto Park - (El Camino Real at Alma St.) Palo Alto, CA 94301;
tel.: 650-329-2100,
web: cityofpaloalto.org

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge - Highway 237 to Zanker Rd to Grand Blvd. (in Alviso);
tel.: 408-262-5513,
web: desfbay.fws.gov

Henry Coe State Park - 9000 E. Dunne Ave., Morgan Hill, CA 95037;
tel.: 408-779-2728,
web: coepark.org

Hiking in Santa Clara County

Although the area is highly urbanized today, there are still many trails to explore that parallel Anza's route. Henry Coe State Park is over 87,000 acres, making it the second largest state park in California next to Anza-Borrego. The trails at Henry Coe allow you to hike along Coyote Creek and see their noontime stop at Los Cruzeros. The Ridge Trails allow you to overlook the historic route. Anza-related parks in Santa Clara County include the Ulistac Natural Area, DeBell Uvas Creek Park Preserve, Chitactac-Adams Heritage County Park, Guadalupe River Park and Rancho San Antonio County Park. The San Francisco Bay Trail segments will get you close to the route the expedition took as it looped around Alviso to explore the East Bay. Ponds and marshes along the Mountain View Shoreline Park and Sunnyvale Baylands Park offer waterfowl and shorebird habitats. The Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek both empty into the bay at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge near its Alviso education center. After visiting the Refuge or Henry Coe Park - Question: Coyotes are often seen in Coyote Valley south of San Jose and at Henry Coe State Park. What could they eat now and in Anza's time?

Sierra del Chasco at Henry Coe State Park
Sierra del Chasco at Henry Coe State Park Photo: Greg Smestad

On the CD: Henry Coe State Park

Anza's exploratory party passed through the park on their way from the East Bay back to Monterey. Anza's Diary, Saturday, April 6, 1776 reads, "…To this place, as well as to all of the foregoing country, we have given the name of Sierra del Chasco, because of the disappointment it has played on us by its difficult passage due to its width, which nobody had anticipated. From here we have recognized the road by which we came…" In Henry Coe State Park, Los Cruzeros was a stop on Anza's southbound route back to Monterey. They went down the east fork of the Coyote Creek to end up near Gilroy. Today, there are campgrounds in Henry Coe State Park, and visitors often see raccoons, bobcats, woodpeckers, wild turkeys and coyotes.

Click to play Henry Coe State Park MP3 file Play MP3 file of Henry Coe State Park
About Henry Coe State Park; Sounds of Horses Crossing Coyote Creek; Santa Clara Crickets
(playing time 4 minutes and 8 seconds)

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