California Mission Walkers

Books written by California Mission Walkers

– Ron “Butch” Briery wrote his trailblazing first edition hiker’s guidebook in 2012, leading hundreds of people to start walking the Mission Trail and form the California Mission Walkers community. Now with the benefit of an additional ten years of Mission Walking experience contributed by dozens of hikers, this fully-updated second edition of the guidebook is now available! California Mission Walk: The Hiker’s Guide to California’s 21 Spanish Missions Along El Camino Real is available for the Kindle app from Amazon, and also in paperback from our Store.

Sandy Brown cycled the mission trail in 2020, then walked it in 2021 and wrote a north to south guidebook Hiking and Cycling the California Missions Trail: From Sonoma to San Diego 

Christian Clifford completed walking the mission trail in June 2020 and wrote the book Pilgrimage: In Search of the Real California Missions, January 2021

The Mission Walker by Edie Littlefield Sundby, published July 2017, chronicles her battle with cancer, her California mission walk, and then her epic Baja California mission walk from Misión Nuestra Señora de Loreto Concho, Baja, Mexico, to San Diego, California, journeying 700 miles in 60 days, in the footsteps of Father Serra and Don Gaspar de Portola.

Maggie Espinosa completed the California mission walk in 2014 and wrote the book On a Mission: An 800-mile Walk to Discover California’s El Camino Real, August 2015

California Mission Walk Route GPS Maps

– The latest up-to-date companion GPX route navigation files for the 2nd Edition California Mission Walk Guidebook are available for free download from the Files section of the California Mission Walkers Facebook group

Business that Welcome Mission Walkers

There is a growing list of businesses along the El Camino Real that welcome mission walkers! Look for the “Mission Walkers Welcome Here” decal in their windows. See the full list on our El Camino Real page

California Mission Walk Route Guides & Blogs

Several California Mission Walkers have shared their experiences on these websites:

Darren and Sandy Van Soye’s Trekking the Planet: California Missions Trail Overview
Robert’s 21 Days on the California Mission Trail
Kurt’s California Missions Trail:
Edie Littlefield Sundby’s The Mission Walker: The Mission Walker
Kevin’s Beginner’s Guide to the California Mission Trail
Robert’s The Mission Walk: a California Pilgrimage
Walking El Camino Real de California
facebook page:
Bill’s Camino Real facebook page:

Other Websites about the California Mission Walk

The California Missions Trail Alliance
The California Mission Guide to Walking the California Mission Trail
The Camino Serra pilgrimage, from Santa Clara to Carmel
The Mission Walker page on Wikipedia

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” —Martin Buber

California Mission Walk Videos

Darren and Sandy Van Soye’s Trekking the Planet: California Missions Trail Summary, 7/20/2023
Walking in the Footsteps of St. Junipero Serra – Christian Clifford, 6/17/2022
“The Places Where We Go” SLO Jubilee Walk video, 3/12/2022
Sandy Brown’s daily Mission Walk (Bike) videos, 7/14/2020
Edie Littlefield-Sundby: The Mission Walker, 6/1/2020
Edie Littlefield-Sundby: Follow The Bells: Walking El Camino Real 800 Miles From San Diego to Sonoma, 2/2/2017
Maggie Espinosa:  Maggie’s Mission Walk, 5/24/2015
KSBW Action News 8, Ron Briery and Beppe Sala:  2 Walking From San Diego To Sonoma, 4/7/2011

California Mission Walk Podcasts

11/27/2023 The Camino Podcast Episode 73 – Our Body Is a Healing Machine with Edie Littlefield Sundby
12/30/2021 Meaningful Journeys by Dr. Heather Warfield with Edie Littlefield Sundby
2/10/2021 Sacred Steps Podcast: Walking the California Missions Trail with Author Christian Clifford
12/9/2020 Melina Boswell: Episode 109 – Embrace The Uncomfortable
11/26/2020 Sacred Steps Podcast: Interview with Camino Pilgrim & Author Sandy Brown
7/6/2020 Slow Baja: Edie Littlefield Sundby: The Mission Walker A 1600-Mile Journey On The El Camino Real From Loreto Mexico To Sonoma California
10/29/2019 Christian Clifford:
5/1/2017 The Camino Podcast: Ron Briery and Stephanie Dodaro:
4/2/2017 The California Frontier Project, Maggie Espinosa:  Walking the Mission Trail with Maggie Espinosa
1/4/2016 Two Boomer Broads, Maggie Espinosa: Walking the California Missions with Maggie Espinosa

California Mission Walk Newspaper & Magazine articles

3/17/2024 Cycling California’s Royal Road – Part 2, by John Poimiroo
2/21/2024 Cycling California’s Royal Road – Part 1, by John Poimiroo
12/21/2023 Monterey County Weekly, Moved by faith, Bob Brunson walked 800 miles to visit 21 California missions, by Sara Rubin
1/25/2023 Viator, The California Missions Trail: What It Is and Why You Should Walk It, by Bunny McFadden
11/1/2022 Walk was journey of faith for Holy Cross librarian, Hannah Lanoux:
8/6/2022 How faith-based vacations nurture body and soul, by Cathi Douglas:
6/14/2022 Seven pilgrimages in North America offer variety for the soul, by Bob Kerns:
4/29/2022 The Catholic Sun, Pilgrims seek St. Junipero Serra’s intercession for California: 
1/21/2022 KCET, Six Epic SoCal Hikes for Extended Adventures, Sandi Hemmerlein:
7/9/2021 Carmel Pinecone News, Christian Clifford (p.30):
6/8/2021 Stage 4 cancer doesn’t stop Mission Walker, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
6/7/2021 Plan an El Camino Real pilgrimage with the California Mission Walkers:
5/1/2021 Good Grit Magazine, Finding the Way: A Walking Pilgrimage on El Camino Real:
4/13/2021 King City Rustler, Christian Clifford:
9/24/2020 Angelus News, Christian Clifford:
9/21/2020 Knights of Columbus News:
8/20/2020 Benito Link, Christian Clifford:
6/28/2020 Teacher completes walking pilgrimage to California’s 21 missions, Christian Clifford:
4/1/2020 The Wall Street Journal, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
1/9/2020 Paso Robles Daily News, Christian Clifford:
8/21/2019 The Santa Barbara Independent, Rachael Quisel:
3/13/2019 The Capistrano Dispatch, Christian Clifford:
1/14/2019 The Clymb Blog, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
6/13/2018 La Jolla Light, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
1/15/2018 Regnum Christi, Fr. Thomas Vendetti:
12/18/2017 Catholic Exchange, Brother Anthony:
12/9/2017 Discover Baja Blog, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
11/10/2017 San Diego Union-Tribune, Maggie Espinosa:
8/17/2017 Angelus News, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
7/26/2017 New York Post, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
7/25/17 Benito Link, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
7/9/2017 Parade Magazine, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
7/4/2017 The Last Mission Walk, by Stanislav Keman and Anna Zusman
6/25/2016 52 Perfect Days Blog, Maggie Espinosa:
9/25/2015 Times of San Diego, Maggie Espinosa:
9/18/2015 Wall Street Journal, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
6/1/2015 Benito Link, Ilia Carson:
4/2/2015 Mercury News, Maggie Espinosa:
3/20/2015 Times of San Diego, Maggie Espinosa:
1/3/2015 San Diego Union Tribune, Maggie Espinosa:
12/4/2014 The Californian News, Maggie Espinosa:
7/18/2013 New York Times Blog, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
3/21/2013 Santa Ynez Valley News, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
3/20/2013 Angelus News, Edie Littlefield Sundby:
3/9/2013 Lake County News, Bill Morgan:
10/31/2012 Ventura County Star, Kurt Buckley:
5/20/2012 News Press, Stephanie Dodaro:
4/22/2012 San Jose Mercury News, Stephanie Dodaro:
2/22/2012 SLO Tribune, Ron Briery and Beppe Sala: A new mission for mission hiker:
4/28/2011 SLO Tribune, Ron Briery and Beppe Sala: Missions accomplished: Pair completes walk
4/27/2011 SLO Tribune, Ron Briery and Beppe Sala: Men aiming to walk to California’s missions complete their journey
4/4/2011 SLO Tribune, Ron Briery and Beppe Sala: Men journey to California missions on foot

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”—Henry Miller

Adventure is the essence of life.”—Dick Rutan

Bicycling El Camino Real

Cycling California’s Royal Road – Part 2, by John Poimiroo
Cycling California’s Royal Road – Part 1, article by John Poimiroo
Sandy Brown’s book Hiking and Cycling the California Missions Trail: From Sonoma to San Diego 
Sandy Brown’s Saddling up to ride the California Mission Walk video blog of his journey, July – August 2020
Along the King’s Road: A Guide to Touring the California Missions by Bicycle, book by Meredith Cherry, published in 2015
Ride With GPS bicycle route by Meredith Cherry
Join Warm Showers, a bicycling community that provides host homes to support bicyclists
Touring the California Missions by Bicycle Blog, October 2013
In May 1995, Brian Wood and Matt Labovitz bicycled from Mission Buenaventura to Mission San Francisco Asís, sending daily email updates to elementary school students
On the 200 year bicentennial of the De Anza expedition, Frank Riley bicycled from the border of Mexico to San Francisco, along the mission trail and wrote the 1976 book De Anza’s Trail Today

Other California trails that overlap with El Camino Real

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, maintained by the National Park Service,
with an interactive trail map
Camino de Sonoma, a 75-mile walking route from the mission in Sonoma to Fort Ross overlooking the Pacific Ocean
The Santa Cruz Mountains Trail Stewardship maintains several trails in Santa Cruz county
Santa Barbara County Trails Council
California Coastal Trail
The California Hiking Map, shows ALL of the trails in California, including the Mission Trail!
The Old Spanish Trail, from Santa Fe to Los Angeles
The American Trails organization advances the development of trails for the benefit of people and communities.

El Camino Real in Baja California

Corredor Histórico CAREM A.C. Museum and Library in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico supports the World Heritage project to designate the El Camino Real in both California and Mexico as an UNESCO World Heritage Trail.
Modern explorer Harry Crosby shed light on Baja treasures, San Diego Union Tribune, Aug 19, 2020

Other long walkers

Longwalking tips
Outdoor Hiking for Beginners, article by Kim Hart with links to many hiking resources
SF Bay Area Hikers facebook page
John Sears travels all over California on foot with his 3 mules, advocating a walking trail system
Planet Walk, modeled on Dr. John Francis’s worldwide pilgrimage, works to sponsor walks nationally and internationally with the purpose of promoting environmental education and responsibility and a vision of world peace and cooperation
“This is our country. Let’s walk it.” New York Times article by Ken Ilgunas
American Volkssport Association (AVA), a national walking organization
The Great Trail, connected coast to coast 24,000 km across Canada

That other Camino: The Camino de Santiago de Compostela

American Pilgrims on the Camino

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Hiker's Guidebook

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