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Updated Resources for the California Missions Trail

Year of past OR future Camino
2021
UPDATED SEPT 2020

For those that are interested in walking the California Mission Trail, I thought I would share some of the most updated links and information about this wonderful pilgrimage walk along the Pacific Ocean and mountains of America's Golden State.

CALIFORNIA MISSIONS TRAIL OVERVIEW
Born from the ancient footpaths traversing the coast between California’s twenty-one Spanish missions, the California Missions Trail connects historic missions, pueblos, and presidios over an 800-mile long pilgrimage walk. Established between 1769 and 1823, the missions offered refuge and Christian hospitality along the dusty outposts of the Golden State. From their humble, thatch-roofed beginnings to the stately adobes we see today, the missions represent a dynamic and controversial chapter in the history of Spanish colonialism, Catholicism, and the birth of California as we know it today.

This 800-mile pilgrimage can be walked as a continuous through-hike in approximately 55 days or undertaken in segments. Most Mission Walkers begin at Mission San Diego and walk north to walk to finish at Mission San Francisco Solano. Traveling from south to north, the missions are as follows:

  • San Diego de Alcala, 1st mission
  • San Luis Rey de Francia, 18th mission
  • San Juan Capistrano, 7th mission
  • San Gabriel Arcangel, 4th mission
  • San Fernando Rey de Espana, 17th mission
  • San Buenaventura, 9th mission
  • Santa Barbara, 10th mission
  • Santa Ines, 19th mission
  • La Purisima Conception, 11th mission
  • San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, 5th mission
  • San Miguel Arcangel, 16th mission
  • San Antonio de Padua, 3rd mission
  • Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, 13th mission
  • San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, 2nd mission
  • San Juan Bautista, 15th mission
  • Santa Cruz, 12th mission
  • Santa Clara de Asis, 8th mission
  • San Jose, 14th mission
  • San Francisco de Asis, Mission Dolores, 6th mission
  • San Rafael Arcangel, 20th mission
  • San Francisco Solano, 21st mission

For more information on the history of each of California’s Spanish Missions, please visit the California Parks Department’s online archive.

GROUPS AND WEBSITES:

BOOKS AND GUIDES:


GPS KML GOOGLE EARTH MAPS FOR THE CALIFORNIA MISSION TRAIL:
Based upon guidebooks from Butch Briery and Jim Lutz, I have compiled multiple sets of GPS and Google Earth maps for the California Missions Trail online here.

PILGRIMAGE TOKENS/BADGES:

MORE CALIFORNIA MISSION WALK RESOURCES:
BLOGS AND MORE

If I've overlooked a good resource, please post in the comments below and I will add it back to this original post. :)
 
Last edited:
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)

MenyoG

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning (2018)
GPS KML GOOGLE EARTH MAPS FOR THE CALIFORNIA MISSION TRAIL:
Based upon guidebooks from Butch Briery and Jim Lutz, I have compiled multiple sets of GPS and Google Earth maps for the California Missions Trail online here.
Hello,

This is so awesome of you to develop and share with us.

I have Butch's e-book already. However, a clean on the route line is indispensable for me.

I figured out how to download the zip file onto my android pixel 4a BUT, I can't seem to do anything else from there.

I have Google maps and maps.me on my phone but, can't figure out how to unzip files and open with a program.

can anybody help this dope out?

thanks
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO WALK THE CALIFORNIA MISSIONS TRAIL?
The weather in California is generally temperate much of the year. The better seasons are Spring and Fall; however, March - November are generally favorable in the majority of the state. While coastal, summer temperatures even along the Pacific Ocean can become quite hot. Be advised to stay well aware of weather and other potential disruptions.


HOW IS THE CALIFORNIA MISSIONS TRAIL DIFFERENT FROM THE CAMINO?
By far the greatest difference is the lack of pilgrim infrastructure. There are no dedicated pilgrim accommodations or pilgrim menus. Other significant differences include waymarking, urban walking, route flexibility, and differences with the pilgrim community. MORE


I’m sorry that you’re having trouble with the zip file. Here’s some instructions on how to open on your android phone. If you have any trouble please email me or message me and I can work one on one to assist.

 
Last edited:

MenyoG

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning (2018)
I’m sorry that you’re having trouble with the zip file. Here’s some instructions on how to open on your android phone. If you have any trouble please email me or message me and I can work one on one to assist.

Thanks,
I have it now.

I really, truly appreciate your assistance.
 
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Silver Oxide Camino de Santiago pendent
Camino de Santiago pendant that has a shell on the front, and "Camino de Santiago" engraved on the back. Comes with a black cord. Pendent is slightly larger than a 50 euro cent coin, about 25mm.

Aidan21

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
SJPP to SDC 2013/14
SJPP to SDC 2016
Porto to SDC 2017
VdlP Sevilla/Salamanca 2018
Hi Island,

What is the best time of year to walk the trail? Thanks.

Aidan
 

MenyoG

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Planning (2018)
Hi Island,

What is the best time of year to walk the trail? Thanks.

Aidan
If I can chime in, as I was born, raised and still live in the Los Angeles area.

Best times would be Spring and Fall. However, there really is not a bad time to walk, weather-wise. Sure, parts of California may be a little hot in the summer. The area that makes up the walk is not an area that ever really gets any snow. Heck, we also seem to be in a perpetual drought.

I say, come and walk anytime.

Manuel
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Hi Island,

What is the best time of year to walk the trail? Thanks.

Aidan
Be aware that this trail isn't like the Camino as far as infrastructure and inexpensive accommodations go. For me it's less expensive to buy a round trip ticket from the US to Spain and walk the Camino.
I haven't done the CMW, but I believe that the majority of the walk is on pavement.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Year of past OR future Camino
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
MenyoG is definitely an LA person, forgetting that summer north of Los Angeles often boasts temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit! 😎 And given that you frequently have to walk next to paved roads and/or on sidewalks, expect it to feel even hotter.

I strongly discourage summer walking as well as walking during COVID as many of the Missions and churches are closed, as well as parks, campgrounds, cafes, public restrooms, and so on.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Circling back to answer a few of these....

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO WALK THE CALIFORNIA MISSIONS TRAIL?
The weather in California is generally temperate much of the year. The better seasons are Spring and Fall; however, March - November are generally favorable in the majority of the state. While coastal, summer temperatures even along the Pacific Ocean can become quite hot. Be advised to stay well aware of weather and other potential disruptions.


HOW IS THE CALIFORNIA MISSIONS TRAIL DIFFERENT FROM THE CAMINO?
By far the greatest difference is the lack of pilgrim infrastructure. There are no dedicated pilgrim accommodations or pilgrim menus. Other significant differences include waymarking, urban walking, route flexibility, and differences with the pilgrim community. MORE
 

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