Portola Discovery Site on Sweeney Ridge

San Francisco, California

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Explorer Gaspar de Portola, charged by his country to scout settlement sites in California that would cement its status as a Spanish colony, set off from Mexico with missionary Junipero Serra in 1769. Leaving Serra behind to establish a mission in San Diego, Portola headed north, looking for Monterey Bay. But his expedition, traveling by land, didn’t recognize Monterey as the perfect colonial site described by an earlier explorer. So they kept walking. And walking. Finally, on November 4, 1769, the exhausted Portola and his companions climbed Sweeney Ridge to survey the lay of the foreign land. There they beheld the unexpected—a bay of colossal proportions destined to become one of the most important harbors on the California coast. A bay that would one day be the site of a famously cosmopolitan city surrounded by spectacular parklands.

Portola Discovery Site on Sweeney Ridge Professional Review and Guide

"Explorer Gaspar de Portola, charged by his country to scout settlement sites in California that would cement its status as a Spanish colony, set off from Mexico with missionary Junipero Serra in 1769. Leaving Serra behind to establish a mission in San Diego, Portola headed north, looking for Monterey Bay. But his expedition, traveling by land, didn’t recognize Monterey as the perfect colonial site described by an earlier explorer. So they kept walking. And walking. Finally, on November 4, 1769, the exhausted Portola and his companions climbed Sweeney Ridge to survey the lay of the foreign land. There they beheld the unexpected—a bay of colossal proportions destined to become one of the most important harbors on the California coast. A bay that would one day be the site of a famously cosmopolitan city surrounded by spectacular parklands."

Activity Type: Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Trail Running
Nearby City: San Francisco
Distance: 3.6
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 2 hours
Season: Best in fall
Local Contacts: Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Local Maps: USGS: Montara Mountain
Driving Directions: Directions to Portola Discovery Site on Sweeney Ridge

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May 2018