Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail

November 2019

In 1775-76, Juan Bautista de Anza led some 240 men, women, and children 1,200 miles from Nogales, Arizona, to establish the first European settlement at San Francisco Bay. The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, administered by the National Park Service, crosses multiple jurisdictions.

The segment in the Gila Mountains, east of Yuma, is on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. “Rugged beauty” barely scratches the surface in describing this landscape. Teaming with Harris Environmental Group, our task was to determine a sustainable, safe, and buildable trail, and to perform a visual resource assessment.

The challenges of negotiating the steep, rocky mountains to determine sustainable and buildable options were daunting, but made bearable by the powerful visual impacts of the landscape. On the most difficult day we managed two miles before running out of daylight, after 8 hours of scrambling up and down ridges and side slopes.















This segment of the trail overlooks the route taken by de Anza. When completed, it will provide visitors a challenging and rewarding hike, a unique and compelling landscape, and a greater understanding of the challenges endured by the de Anza party.