Continuing north from Santa Clara County up the San Francisco Peninsula, the exploratory expedition crossed into San Mateo county at San Francisquito creek, and camped at a dry watercourse about two miles beyond San Mateo Creek (Arroyo de San Mateo). They camped at the Arroyo on their way back from San Francisco, having killed, with bullets, a “monstrous” bear in the nearby hills. Moraga returned to San Mateo in June with the settlers on their way to San Francisco to found the Presidio and Mission.
Continuing on the route from Santa Clara County, while driving to San Mateo County north on the El Camino Real, turn right on Alma Street after University Ave., and follow Palo Alto Ave. to visit the Palo Alto redwood tree on the banks of the San Francisquito Creek. Returning to El Camino Real northbound, take Arroyo Court west in the City of San Mateo to see California Historical Landmark No. 47 and park commemorating campsite #96. To visit the Crystal Springs area, turn west on Crystal Springs Rd. and north or south on Skyline Blvd. Return to El Camino Real north and turn left in Burlingame on Ralston Ave. traveling one block to Heritage Park at Occidental Avenue. This is close to expedition campsite #94. Continue north on El Camino Real, and in Daly City, turn left (west) onto John Daly Blvd. To CA 1 north, and head to San Francisco County.
The exploratory group surveyed the area around the San Andreas and Crystal Springs reservoirs. This area provided many of the timbers used to build the San Francisco Presidio and Mission. Hiking and biking trails are available via Cañada and Skyline Roads. These trails, as well as those of the San Francisco Bay Trail and the Coyote Point Recreation Area, offer opportunities to experience some of the bay’s environment as the Anza expedition members may have seen it.
Heritage Park - Expedition Camp #94
On its way up the peninsula, the exploratory expedition camped in Burlingame on March 26, 1776 at a dry watercourse about two miles beyond the Arroyo de San Mateo. They camped at San Mateo creek to the south on their way back. One block west of El Camino at Ralston Ave. is Heritage Park (coordinates: 37º 34′ 26″ N, 121º 21′ 1.3″ W). This is California Historic Landmark No. 48
San Mateo Creek - Expedition Camp #96
Anza and a small group of soldiers camped here on the banks of the Arroyo de San Mateo (California Historic Landmark No. 47) on March 29, 1776 after exploring the peninsula and selecting the sites for the Mission and Presidio of San Francisco. It was also used from June 24-27, 1776 when Moraga brought priests, soldiers and their families north to found the Mission and Presidio of San Francisco.
California Historic Landmark No. 47
California Historic Landmark No. 48
Coyote Point Recreation Area and Museum
This park (located at 1961 Coyote Point Dr.) provides a wide variety of opportunities including picnicking, swimming, bicycling, and jogging. At the Coyote Point Museum, visitors can observe, and listen to, live animals such as river otters and foxes that members of Anza’s expedition may have seen.
Crystal Springs Reservoir Trails
Gaspar de Portolá and his men camped nearby (in 1769), as did Captain Fernando de Rivera y Moncada (in 1774). It was Rivera’s chaplain and diarist, Father Palou, that named the Cañada (canyon) Andrés, which today applies to a reservoir and the San Andreas Fault. On their way back from San Francisco in late March 29, 1776, Anza’s men shot a huge bear nearby. Located in the scenic Crystal Springs Watershed, Sawyer Camp Trail (Skyline Blvd. & Crystal Springs Rd.) is one of the most popular trails in the county.
El Palo Alto
Located on the San Francisquito creek (El Camino Real at Alma St.), this redwood tree’s height was measured by Father Font using a graphometer. His method would be familiar to any student of geometry, trigonometry or surveying. The surrounding city takes its name from the famous tree.
Presidio of San Francisco
Sawyer Camp Trail
California Historical Landmarks, CA Dept. of Parks & Recreation, Office of Historic Preservation
P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296
Coyote Point Museum
1961 Coyote Point Dr., San Mateo, CA 94401
El Palo Alto Park, City of Palo Alto
250 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
San Francisco Bay Trail