Anza trail

“Vayan Subiendo!” “Everyone mount up!” was the rousing call from Juan Bautista de Anza who set out on an expedition to find a land route from Rosario, Sinaloa to California. On the eve of the American Revolution, Lt. Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza led  240 men, women, and children on an epic journey across the frontier of New Spain to establish a settlement at San Francisco Bay.


Discover their legacy on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, connecting culture, history, and outdoor recreation throughout Arizona, California, and beyond. Today you can follow the 1,200 miles they traversed that begins its United States portion in Nogales, Arizona and leads to the San Francisco Bay Area. These trail stops are found in Santa Cruz County.

1904 Courthouse
Start your Anza Trail adventure at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry or Morley Port of Entry, and head north to the 1904 Courthouse. Located inside the historic building is a small gallery providing more information about the trail.

medSanta_Cruz_River.jpg Las Lagunas
Next, head north to Las Lagunas. This campsite in Nogales is at a cienega , or marsh, which is owned and managed by the nonprofit Santa Fe Ranch Foundation. It can be viewed by taking exit 8 off of southbound I-19 to Country Club Drive  and turning west. The site includes Anza Trail Interpretive panels and a short trail to view the wetlands.

Desert Shadows Middle School
The Desert Shadows Middle School in Nogales is home to a large Anza Mural. Located at 340 Boulevard Del Rey David in Nogales. Access very limited.

Rio Rico Trail
Starting at the staging area parking lot off Rio Rico Drive at Exit 17, several miles of trail parallel Anza’s Route. From here, you will be able to bike or walk to Tumacacori if it’s not too hot. Look for several small stone trail signs.

Tumacacori Nat’l Hist Park
Mission San Jose de Tumacacori is located on Interstate 19 about 18 miles north of Nogales, and was first listed in 1691 as an outlying visita (a mission station without a resident priest) by the famous Jesuit missionary Father Eusebio Francisco Kino. By 1701, the village was a visita of the mission Guevavi, and in 1771, Tumacacori was made the head mission of the district, and Guevavi was abandoned. San Cayetano de Calabasas is the adobe remnants of a site first occupied about 1756 as a Spanish mission visita. Father Pedro Font held mass here on October 17, 1775, as the expedition moved toward Tubac. Construction of the present mission church was begun around 1802. The visitor center is a National Historic Landmark and includes a museum. Visits to Calabasas and Guevavi can be arranged at the park’s headquarters. A trail connects Tumacacori and Tubac along the Santa Cruz river through a beautiful riparian habitat containing cottonwood and mesquite trees. Look for several large ramadas enclosing interpretative panels about Anza’s expeditions and the natural history of the area.


Tubac Presidio Hist. Park
Anza served as the Presidio de San Ignacio de Tubac’s second commander from 1760-1776. About fifty cavalrymen were stationed at this remote outpost, founded in 1752 in response to an uprising by the local Akimel O’odham (Pima) tribe. Anza’s house, made of adobe bricks, was located here in what is now Tubac Presidio State Historic Park (four miles north of Tumacacori, on Tubac Road and Presidio Drive.) The adjacent area was the old Tubac Barrio (community). Today it is managed by the Archeological Conservancy, and they arrange visits. A group called Los Tubaquenos offers period interpretation at the park. A re-enactment of the expedition’s passage through Tubac takes place annually during the Anza Days festival.