El Camino Real’s California Mission Walkers

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 El Camino de Santiago, in Spain; that experience has inspired the creation of the California mission trail.

Walking the entire California 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.


The CMW logo is available on clothing and other items, as well as an embroidered patch.
The California Mission Walkers logo is available on clothing and other items, as well as an embroidered patch. The motto, “siempre adelante,” means always forward, and is taken from Saint Junipero Serra.

For those interested in walking the mission trail, there are a number of resources available:

California Mission Walkers Facebook Group – an active group where walkers share their experiences.

California Mission Walkers Website – The official CMW website, filled with information and resources for walking the mission road.

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 California’s Missions – Chapter 18 of The Camino Podcast features an interview with Ron Briery.

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.