List of the 21 Missions Along California’s Historic Mission Trail

Living in California for the first part of my life, I was able to visit a few of the missions located in the southern part of the state.  All together there are 21, but many have been reconstructed after the ravages of time, weather, earthquakes and neglect. However, most of the missions still operate as active Catholic parishes, with regularly scheduled services. Booklets for self-guided tours are usually available. They are pretty cool to see.

The 21 missions that comprise what is known as the California’s Historic Mission Trail are all located on or near Highway 101. This road roughly traces El Camino Real which was named in honor of the Spanish monarchy which financed the expeditions into California in the quest for empire. From San Diego to Los Angeles, the historic highway is now known as Interstate 5. From Santa Clara to San Francisco, the road is called State Highway 82. North of San Francisco, Highway 101 again picks up the trail to the mission at San Rafael. From there, State Highway 37 leads to the last mission at Sonoma.

I think the furthest one we saw was the one in San Luis Obispo. Even though we’ve been to San Francisco a few times, we just never made it to one of the mission up that far north. One day I would like to see more of them. They are each unique and special in their own way. If you are on a mission to see all of the 21 missions, 🙂  here is a list of them in geographical order from north to south:



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