Walking the California Mission Trail
The California Mission Walkers are a group of people who have walked (or plan to walk) El Camino Real – the route connecting the 21 California missions.
Some of the California Mission Walkers have previous experience hiking the 330 mile El Camino de Santiago, in Spain; that experience has inspired the creation of the California mission trail.
Walking the entire trail – over 800 miles – is a major undertaking. Fortunately, the trail can be divided into twenty approximately equal segments, connecting the 21 missions; it’s possible to complete the journey a single leg at a time. Most mission walkers take several years to complete the entire route.
Some of the California State designated El Camino Real consists of highways or other restricted-access roads, and cannot be walked. The California Mission Walkers have established a route consisting of a network of trails and roads that follow closely along the original historic Camino. The best guides are Ron Briery’s book, Jame’s Lutz’s book, and the walkelcaminoreal.com website, all listed in the Resources section.
For those interested in walking the mission trail, there are a number of resources available:
walkingelcaminoreal.com – an excellent website created and maintained by misson walker Stephanie Dodaro, who completed the 800+ mile journey in 2012.
walkelcaminoreal.com – a comprehensive guide to the route, with practical information on planning your walk.
California Mission Walkers Facebook Group – an active group where walkers share their experiences.
Walking the Missions Facebook Page – Stephanie Dodaro’s Facebook page, relating her experiences.
Walking El Camino Real de California Facebook Group – maintained by mission walkers Lin Galea and Martha López, who lead walks along sections of the trail.
Walking Away from Cancer Facebook Page – Details Edie Sundby’s Mission Walk, celebrating her 6-year survival with late-stage cancer.
El Camino Real de California: A Hiker’s Guide to the California Mission Trail, by James Lutz (available at Amazon.com).
California Mission Walk: A Hiker’s Guide to California’s 21 Missions along El Camino Real, by Ron Briery – to order a copy, e-mail the author at rdbriery (at) yahoo.com.