In 1775, Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza led 300 settlers and soldiers from present day Tucson, Arizona to San Francisco Bay. This was the first overland trip by Europeans to this part of the country, founding the Presidio of San Francisco. Part of the goal of the expedition was to identify a dependable route, smoothing the way for additional colonization.
Today, visitors can find many preserved areas along the trail, including original Spanish missions, and terrain that is similar to what the original party would have seen. The route exhibits the ongoing influence of the Spanish across today’s Arizona and California.
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