Please note that event dates are subject to change for all the reasons you can imagine. We will update the calendar with event confirmations and fresh news as possible, so do check in before you make final plans to join us on the route.  Meanwhile, enjoy watching the following dates fill in with wonderful events and gatherings as CMR continues down the trail to try to connect all 21 California missions on horseback.  This year the ride goes from San Miguel on September 15 to San Diego on October 20, 2013.




Set-up day at Mission San Miguel.

The team gathers from across the state, with a few CMR members arriving from the East Coast and abroad.

Evening reserved to help the horses settle in after long trailer rides. And to spend time with the Franciscan Friars of Mission San Miguel.

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. CMR team visits the church of Mission San Miguel.



Mission San Miguel visit day.

Early morning: The CMR team gathers to honor Salinan Indians on whose ancestral homeland the 2013 ride begins.

11:00 a.m.: Join the CMR team at the mission’s fiesta with BBQ and music.  To consult the mission’s website for  more information, click here and check back for periodic updates.

Afternoon: As the fiesta draws to a close, CMR riders saddle up and set out to begin the long journey!
Note to CMR’s Facebook followers: We hope to see you at the Mission San Miguel fiesta and elsewhere on the 2013 trail.

Overnight camp at Paso Robles County Fairground.



Reach Santa Margarita de Cortona Asistencia, now on the grounds of the historic Santa Margarita Ranch.

Facebook followers: Don’t miss Gwyneth’s first “morning view of camp from sleeping bag” shot from the 2013 trail.  Followers of CMR’s 2012 Facebook updates will recognize this popular ritual image of daily life on the trail!

Overnight at Santa Margarita Ranch.


Note: For those planning to visit CMR on this segment of the trail, we recommend lodging in San Luis Obispo.  Click here for information and links to hotels, inns, and B+Bs.



CMR is proud to welcome special guest riders from Back Country Horsemen of California on this leg.

5:30 p.m. —  CMR sets out to ride down Monterey Street to Mission San Luis Obispo through the historic center of the mission town.  Join SLO community leaders greeting the riders and horses at the mission a little after 5:30 p.m.  Michael LaFreniere, bell-ringer at the mission, will signal the team’s arrival with joyful bell patterns.

By sundown, make camp in San Luis Obispo at Cal Poly State University Equine Center.



Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa visit day.

8:00 – 8:45 a.m. – Morning Mass at Mission San Luis Obispo.

10:00 -11:00 a.m. — “Special Tour of Mission San Luis Obispo”

Join CMR for a fascinating mission visit led by none other than Professor Daniel Krieger of Cal Poly State University.  Meeting point: the fountain in the public square by the main entrance to the mission’s church.

11:00 – 12:00 noon — “Ringing the Bells of Mission San Luis Obispo”

Mission San Luis Obispo’s experienced bell-ringers Richard Ochs and Michael LaFreniere introduce us to the unique world of the mission’s bells and bell tower, with live demonstrations of signature patterns of bell-ringing such has the Angelus.  Meeting point: the fountain in the public square by the main entrance of the mission’s church. Depending on space availability, members of the public will be welcome to join the CMR team for a side trip into the bell tower.  The tour will conclude with an open Q+A, so bring your bell questions for Richard and Michael.  For more about the bells and bell-ringing, see our Trail Blog interview with Michael here.

2:20 p.m. — Hour reserved for CMR to interview 5th-graders at the Old Mission School.

5:30 p.m. – Reserved for CMR to visit local historic sites with Prof. Daniel Krieger



On the trail.  Check in with CMR on Facebook.



Nipomo, reach the historic Rancho Nipomo Dana Adobe in the afternoon.

Afternoon and suppertime reserved for CMR to visit the adobe and spend time with the “Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos (DANA),” docents at the adobe who are preparing a special potluck dinner for the occasion.

7:00- 9:00 p.m. “Campfire Gathering at the Dana Adobe with The California Mission Ride”

Join The California Mission Ride team for a unique campfire gathering at the historic Dana Adobe.  Experience life on the trail with CMR.  Riders share stories about highlights of their journey connecting the missions of California, and guitarist & banjo-player Tricia Stewart leads a sing-along to round out this very special evening. Marshmallows and hot chocolate will be enjoyed by all around the campfire!

This event is free and open to the public, so mark your calendars to be at the Dana Adobe on Friday, September 20, 2013!  The Campfire Gathering With CMR is graciously hosted by the Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos. A donation box will be onsite for those who would like to help this non-profit organization support the Dana Adobe.  Any contribution is tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.



On the trail.

CMR is delighted to welcome Neda DeMayo and one of her famous horses on the ride from Nipomo to La Purisima Mission.  Neda is CEO and founder of RETURN TO FREEDOM American Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc.

Camp to be determined…possibly Pismo Beach.



Make camp by mid-afternoon at  Misión La Purísima Concepción de María Santísima, or the mission whose original name means “Mission of the Immaculate Conception of Most Holy Mary,” today often called La Purísima (The Immaculate) for short, in Lompoc.

Evening reserved for CMR to gather with members of Prelado de los Tesoros.  For information about these remarkable docents, who translate their group’s name as “Keepers of the Treasure of La Purisima Mission State Historic Park,” click here.



La Purisima Mission State Historic Park visit day.
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. “Demonstrations and Workshops at La Purisima Mission with Prelado de los Tesoros

Come to Mission La Purisima between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to join the CMR team for exceptional opportunities to experience Mission Era life and activities!  Docents from the Prelado de los Tesoros will be onsite to offer demonstrations and hands-on activities.  Visitors will enjoy some of the following:

  • Wool processing, including spinning and weaving
  • Brick oven-cooking
  • Blacksmithing
  • Pottery-making
  • Grain-grinding

Visitors will also be introduced to the animals who live at La Purisima Mission. This is the only mission in California where you can visit livestock representing “what would have been found at the mission in the 1820s.”   If you love animals, or want to learn about sheep sheering, or try your hand at spinning mission sheep wool using old-school technology, don’t miss joining the CMR team for what is sure to be a very memorable mission visit day on their 2013 trail!

Highlights of our mission visit days are posted on Facebook.



Make camp at Horseman’s Hangout in Solvang by sundown.



Old Mission Santa Inés visit day.

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. — “CMR Tour of Old Mission Santa Inés”

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. — “Horsemanship Workshop”

Learn all about horses and their behavior with CMR riders Rod Rondeaux and Daisy Payton.  We will meet in the field next to Old Mission Santa Inés.  No horse issue is too crazy for our workshop team, so bring your questions and concerns and join us for this special gathering.  Free and open to the public.



Rest Day for horses and humans & exploration of the RETURN TO FREEDOM American Wild Horse Sanctuary in Lompoc.



Back on the trail! The ride sets out from Mission Santa Inés.

CMR is very pleased to announce that Father Larry Gosselin O.F.M. and Associate Pastor, Santa Barbara Parish, will  join the ride from Mission Santa Inés to Mission Santa Barbara, where he lives.  Father Larry remains a special guest member of the horseback team to connect Mission Santa Barbara to Mission San Buenaventura.



By sundown reach Mission Santa Barbara.



Old Mission Santa Barbara visit day.

11:00 a.m. – Mass

Lunchtime is reserved for volunteers of the Old Mission Santa Barbara huerta to gather with the CMR team.



On the trail again, campsite to be determined…





3:00 p.m. —  CMR rides into Ventura and down Main Street to the mission.  Come meet the riders and CMR team as they reach the mission on horseback.

By sundown make camp near Mission San Buenaventura in Ventura.

Suppertime —  CMR enjoys the hospitality and company of Mission San Buenaventura parishioners.



Mission San Buenaventura visit day.

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon  – “Mission Time with The California Mission Ride”

CMR riders talk about life on the trail and what they’ve learned connecting the missions of California on horseback.  200 4th-graders from the Public Schools of Ventura will spend time with the CMR team. All students will be invited to ask questions about topics including the mission trail and horseback travel.  CMR team members will also have a chance to hear from students about growing up in Ventura and going to school near Mission San Buenaventura.

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – CMR meets Ventura’s Holy Cross School students at the mission for a presentation about the horseback mission ride and a tour of the mission led by docents.

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. — “The Olive Press of Mission San Buenaventura”

Join CMR in the courtyard garden for a rare look at the mission’s historic olive press. Mark Mooring of  Ventura’s Buon Gusto Farms will introduce the olive press and discuss the local history of olive oil.

6:00 – 7:30 p.m. — “Mission Riders Garden Party at Mission San Buenaventura”

A wonderful reception in the mission’s dazzling garden courtyard highlights local foods and olive oils in celebration of The California Mission Ride’s arrival at Mission San Buenaventura.  Beer and wine will also be served.  This event is a one-off fundraiser for the Downtown Ventura Association’s Light Up Our Landmarks campaign.  Mark your calendars for October 2 to be with us and members of Ventura’s vibrant community for this joyful evening on the 2013 trail.  Click here for details and ticket info.



9:30 a.m. — Ventura Police Department escorts CMR out of Ventura and to the mouth of the Santa Clara River.

Highlights  posted to Facebook.

Ride along Santa Clara River, one of two remaining natural rivers in Southern California.

Make camp by sundown at the Stradivarius Equestrian Center.



Day off for horses and humans.



Ride from Santa Paula to Piru.




Mission San Fernando Rey de España visit day.

CMR regrets that no tour or activity is planned for this mission.


1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. — “Indians, Cowboys, & Silver”

At the historic Rancho Camulos Museum, CMR stages a scene featuring leading stuntmen from Hollywood’s film industry and starring the one-and-only Silver, the white Quarter Horse who stole the show in Johnny Depp’s last film: The Lone Ranger.  This event will go behind the scenes to show spectators how horse stunts are done by professionals.  Visitors will be able to meet real stuntmen and ask them about their work.  Children will be invited to paint Indian Ponies and learn how to apply traditional war paint patterns.  This event is free and open to the public. Sponsored by Movin’ On Livestock and with participation of famous stuntmen Jack Lilley, Clint Lilley, and Rod Rondeaux, among others.

For directions, please see the Rancho Camulos Museum website, here.


Camp at Rancho Camulos.



Ride through San Fernando Valley and meet Griffith Park Mounted Rangers to be escorted into the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank.

Make camp at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.


Griffith Park Mounted Rangers escort CMR riders from the Los Angeles Equestrian Center to the Los Angeles River Trail.

Connect to Arroyo Seco bike path.  On the way to Mission San Gabriel, stop in Arroyo Seco for historic site visit with Andy Salas, Tribal Chair of the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians and other Tribal Members.  Note that in the past, members of the tribe, also called Kizh Nation, were in error referred to as the Tongva.

Late afternoon, make camp by Mission San Gabriel.  Evening reserved for Potluck Reception at the Mission, with Kizh Nation Tribal Members, parishioners of Mission San Gabriel, and fandango with Yesteryears Dancers.



Mission San Gabriel visit day.

2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  – “Kizh Nation Tribal Members Introduce Mission San Gabriel”

Tribal Chair Andy Salas is joined by Tribal Members of the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians, or Kizh Nation, to lead the CMR team on mission visits highlighting important historic details of the mission.  San Gabriel community leaders and educators are invited to participate.  We will learn about the tribe’s present and past, including the rebellion led by renowned tribal ancestor and medicine woman Toypurina (1760-1799).  To request participation, please email Christina Swindall Martinez, Secretary, Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians – Kizh Nation:

[email protected]

(Note: Mission San Gabriel visit times will be communicated to registered participants.)

4:30 p.m. —  ”Immigration: A Vital Issue at Mission San Gabriel Today”

Father Bruce, Pastor of Mission San Gabriel, welcomes young people from his parish to meet CMR team members at Mission San Gabriel.  We will hear personal stories and discuss concerns about immigration in San Gabriel today.  The CMR team includes Native Americans, European Americans, Latino Americans, and foreigners who will listen and ask questions from diverse perspectives.  If you would like to participate in this event, please contact Mission San Gabriel for information: (626) 457-3035.

Photos and news of CMR visits are periodically posted to  Facebook.



Trailering and on the trail.

San Juan Capistrano, evening reserved for  gathering–  ”Welcome Reception and Early California Mexican Dinner honoring California Mission Riders”

Dinner courtesy of Ricardo’s Place, and the Ricardo Beas Family, and hosted by Jerry Nieblas, Juaneño Band of Mission Indians 84B Tribal Council, Ilse Byrnes, Lorie Porter, Tom Ostensen and San Juan Capistrano Historical Society and Historical Walking Tours.


San Juan Capistrano visit day.

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. –   The San Juan Capistrano Historical Society sponsors a coffee and pastries reception for CMR.  See below for details.

10:00 a.m. — Morning walking tour of the historic town center led by members of The Historical Society of San Juan Capistrano.  To participate in this event and the 9:00 a.m. gathering, please contact the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society; this event is free and open to the first 20 people who register in advance.

CMR team visits Blas Aguilar Adobe & museum.

Late afternoon and evening reserved for CMR private gathering.



Day reserved to explore Caspers Wilderness Park.

Evening reserved for CMR gathering.


On the trail.  Check back for information about route and historic sites.



By 3:30 p.m. — Make camp at Mission San Luis Rey de Francia.

5:30 p.m. —  ”Tacos & Talk”

CMR gathers with community members at the San Luis Rey Restaurant & Bakery.



Mission San Luis Rey de Francia visit day.

11:00 a.m. — “Behind the Scenes at Mission San Luis Rey de Francia”

Join the CMR team for an exceptional look at the past and present of Mission San Luis Rey.  Brother Chris, O.F.M., will lead a tour that takes us “Behind the Scenes” of this busy and richly historic mission.  Brother Chis will be joined by Mel Vernon, Captain of the San Luis Rey Band of Luiseño Mission Indians, to lead this once-only tour.  Tickets are $12.00, $10.00 for military, seniors, and students.

5:30 p.m.:  ”Meet & Greet: The  Mission Riders & Mel Vernon”  At Pablo Tac Hall on the grounds of Mission San Luis Rey

Mel Vernon, Captain of The San Luis Rey Band of Luiseño Mission Indians, and the Mission Riders gather at the mission.  Come hear about Mel’s remarkable Luiseño ancestor Pablo Tac and swap stories with the riders about life on the trail.

Check out CMR on Facebook for news and pictures direct from the trail.



By sundown make camp on the Pala Indian Reservation.

Evening reserved for CMR gathering with Tribal Chairman Robert Smith, Father Rey Manahan, and others.



Mission San Antonio de Pala visit day.

Daytime and evening reserved for CMR to meet with Pala residents.



On the trail.



Make camp near Mission San Diego by sundown.

Evening reserved for CMR team to mark the occasion of their final night together on The California Mission Ride trail.



The California Mission Ride comes to a bittersweet end at  Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

2:00 -4:00 p.m. — The Pastor welcomes CMR to Mission San Diego

Mission Riders are welcomed to Mission San Diego following their long journey.  Meet the team & hear brief accounts of the mission’s history from diverse perspectives.  The gathering concludes with a reception and tours of the Mission Church and grounds.