From San Diego to Sonoma: California’s Historic Mission Trail

by Fiorella Calderoni

El Camino Real connecting each of California’s 21 missions along 600 miles between San Diego and Sonoma, makes up one of the most well-preserved culturally and historically significant trails on the West Coast. The missions were built between 1769 and 1823 and remain active churches today. They are open to visitors who can explore a part of California’s modern history, admire beautiful architecture, and plan a scenic road-trip along El Camino Real and California’s iconic Highway 1.

Check out the missions from San Diego to Sonoma:

Mission San Diego de Alcala

This was the very first mission in Alta California, founded in San Diego in 1769

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

Founded in San Luis Rey in 1798

A photo posted by Tianna Marie ? (@tiannamarie) on

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Founded in San Juan Capistrano in 1776

Mission San Gabriel Arcangel

Founded in San Gabriel in 1771

A photo posted by je suis julie ? (@moneypenny4) on

Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana

Founded in Mission Hills in 1797

A photo posted by Michael Jung ? (@jmjlaca) on

Mission San Buenaventura

Founded in Ventura in 1782

A photo posted by @sweet17ess on

Mission Santa Barbara

Founded in Santa Barbara in 1786

A photo posted by Leslie Babcock (@leslielle76) on

Mission Santa Ines

Founded in Solvang in 1804

Mission La Purisima Concepcion

Founded in Lompoc in 1787

A photo posted by Alex Flores (@al_bolanos) on

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Founded in San Luis Obispo in 1772

Mission San Miguel Arcangel

Founded in San Miguel in 1797

Mission San Antonio de Padua

Founded in Jolon in 1771

A photo posted by Rick Warner (@itinerantrick) on

Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

Founded in Soledad in 1791

A photo posted by @firetiml on

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo

Founded in Carmel in 1770

A photo posted by Meg (@glitteryotters) on

Mission San Juan Bautista

Founded in San Juan Bautista in 1797

Mission Santa Cruz

Founded in Santa Cruz in 1791

A photo posted by Liz Aguilar (@wanderliz07) on

Mission Santa Clara de Asis

Founded in Santa Clara in 1777

A photo posted by Liz Aguilar (@wanderliz07) on

Mission San Jose

Founded in Fremont 1797

Mission Dolores

Founded in San Francisco in 1776

A photo posted by Matthew Tatom (@vanrye) on

Mission San Rafael Arcangel

Founded in San Rafael in 1817

Mission San Francisco Solano

This was the last mission built, and the only one founded under Mexican rule. Founded in Sonoma in 1823

Road trip anyone?

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