Portola Discovery Site on Sweeney Ridge

San Francisco, California 94169

Portola Discovery Site on Sweeney Ridge

Portola Discovery Site on Sweeney Ridge Professional Review and Guide

"Follow a steep paved track onto the windswept ridge where Gaspar de Portola and his men became the first Europeans to look down on sprawling San Francisco Bay. A serpentine monument that commemorates the Portola expedition is on the north side of a little clearing atop a knob on the ridgeline. A second monument honoring Carl McCarthy, who escorted more than 11,000 people to the site as part of its preservation effort, is on the opposite side of the clearing; this carries engravings that identify Bay Area landmarks visible on the horizon.

Begin the climb to the discovery site on Sneath Lane, passing around the gate. Head south down the paved road toward the northern reaches of San Andreas Lake, which glitters in the distance. Filled with water from the Sierra Nevada via the gravity- fed Hetch Hetchy pipeline system, the reservoir occupies a portion of the San Andreas Fault’s rift zone."

More Portola Discovery Site on Sweeney Ridge Professional Reviews and Guides

"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 Reviews

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9/10/2018
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Trail Information

San Francisco
Nearby City
3.6
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Difficult
Skill Level
2 to 3 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Building 201, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123; (415) 561-4323; www.nps.gov/goga. Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Building 201, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123; (415) 561-3000; www.parksconservancy.org.
Local Contacts
USGS Montara Mountain; GGNRA Sweeney Ridge map available online at www.nps .gov/goga
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018