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Los Angeles County, CA

Mission San Antonio to La Natividad

The expedition entered the county from the east past San Dimas and went on to Mission San Gabriel Arcángel. The colonists stayed at the mission for about six weeks while Anza, Font and some soldiers went to San Diego to help quell an American Indian rebellion there. Later, the colonists traveled west from the mission to cross the Los Angeles River, entering the San Fernando Valley and crossing the Simi Hills at Calabasas.

Driving Auto Route

From Riverside County, continue west on I-10. As you approach downtown Los Angeles (L.A.), take the New Avenue exit north to S. Ramona St. to visit the Mission San Gabriel, and the Gabrieliño-Tongva portion of Smith Park (about half a kilometer east of the Mission). To get to the park, turn right at Junipero Serra Dr. to W. Broadway. To continue onward, return to I-10 west to I-5. From I-5, take the Pasadena Freeway off-ramp to the Figueroa St. exit. Turn left onto Avenue 26 to the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens. Get directions to El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument, the birthplace of Los Angeles in 1781. Continue north on I-5, turn west on CA 134 and transition to US 101 north to continue to Ventura County.

Hiking & Biking Ideas

The Los Angeles River Trail (access from 570 West Avenue 26) is an enjoyable way for hikers and bikers to travel from the 4,000-acre Griffith Park to Elysian Park. Along the Rio Hondo and Skyline trails hikers and wildlife collect from within this busy city. Access of the Skyline trail is from the Whitter Narrows Nature Center. Leaving L. A., trails at the Los Encinos and Malibu Creek State Parks, both off Hwy 101, can also be explored.

Points of Interest

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Mission San Gabriel Arcángel - Expedition Camp #62 (and #71)

Expedition Campsite

On January 4, 1776, the expedition reached the mission, their first outpost of the Spanish empire in (Alta) California. Anza had visited the mission at its first site on his 1774 trip, and the current site on his colonizing expedition. He remained January 4-6,1776, and then went to San Diego. Camps #63 to #70 were therefore during that side-trip. Returning February 12, he continued to Monterey on February 21 with most of the colonists. The mission today (428 South Mission Drive, San Gabriel) is a working parish, with a museum and gardens. Nearby, take the City of San Gabriel historical walk and visit Smith Park (232 W. Broadway) to learn about the Gabrieliño-Tongva people. The Whittier Narrows Recreation Area (1000 N. Durfee Ave. in S. El Monte) features ranger tours and bird-watching walks. Near its southeastern edge at the Río (River) Hondo, a plaque (at the southwest corner N. San Gabriel Blvd. and N. Lincoln Ave.) marks the location of the first mission.

Elysian Park and Griffith Park - Expedition Camp #72

Expedition Campsite

At Elysian Park (835 Academy Road, L.A.), a plaque (CA #655) placed at the North Broadway entrance to the park indicates that the Portolá party crossed the Los Angeles River (Río Porciúncula) at the site of today’s Broadway Bridge. Until recently, it was believed that the Anza colonizing expedition crossed here also. Along the L.A. River Trail, a large mural depicts abstract images of Anza and indigenous people along the concrete walls of the flood-control channel. The expedition’s camp for February 21, 1776 (#72, Puertezuelo) was thought to be located inside Griffith Park, where today can be found the Autry National Center / Institute for the Study of the American West (4700 Zoo Drive), where the 1772 Joseph María García Manuscript can be found that contains music of Anza’s time. Recent scholarly research by Anza historians has revealed that the Anza colonizing expedition likely traveled over the Cahuenga Pass (near the modern Hollywood (101) Freeway) in 1776, rather than along the Los Angeles River, due to the more favorable traveling conditions for the colonists and livestock. The site of Camp #72 is now thought to be located close to present day Universal City. Refer to the Anza Society website or the Noticias October 2012 issue for a fascinating analysis of this issue.

Malibu Creek State Park to Calabasas - Expedition Camp #73

Expedition Campsite

Camp was made on February 22, 1776 at Agua Escondida (hidden water). Its exact location is uncertain. Today, nearby Malibu Creek State Park (34º 6.198′ N, 118º 43.986′ W) is within the Santa Monica Mountains and incorporates Las Virgenes Creek. Each spring, the Anza en Calabasas event is held at the former Soka University campus (26800 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas) within Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which also includes the Satwiwa Native American Indian Natural Area and Culture Center.

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Autry National Center / Institute for the Study of the American West


(4700 Zoo Drive), where the 1772 Joseph María García Manuscript can be found that contains music of Anza’s time.

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El Pueblo de la Reina Los Angeles Historic Monument


One contingent of settlers, led by Fernando de Rivera y Moncada, used the Anza trail in 1781 to found the pueblo of Los Angeles (L.A.). During that expedition (which was divided into three parties) Rivera and Father Garcés, were killed at Yuma by the Quechan tribe that had been so friendly to Anza. Now in downtown Los Angeles, the site of the original settlement includes the Plaza, Olvera Street, the Ávila Adobe Museum, and other historic buildings (125 Paseo de la Plaza).

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Satwiwa Native American Indian Natural Area and Culture Center



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Elysian Park

835 Academy Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90012


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Griffith Park

4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90027


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Los Angeles River Center & Gardens

570 W. Ave. 26, Los Angeles, CA 90065


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Los Encinos State Historic Park and Malibu Creek State Park


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Mission San Gabriel Arcángel

428 S. Mission Dr., San Gabriel, CA 91776


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El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument

125 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012


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Smith Park

San Gabriel Parks and Recreation Dept 425 S. Mission Drive, San Gabriel, California 91776


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Whittier Narrows Recreation Area

L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation