A Walker in L.A.: On a Mission

A recent train ride through San Juan Capistrano may have inspired one of Alissa Walker’s greatest adventures yet

Last weekend I took the train south, passing by one of my favorite places in Southern California: The gorgeous 1776 mission in San Juan Capistrano. I remembered a walk I’d done from the San Gabriel Mission and, being the foot soldier that I am, started to calculate how long it would take to walk from San Juan Capistrano Mission to the San Gabriel Mission. It’s 56 miles, so about 19 hours; a long day (or two) to be sure, but what an incredible peek into California history it would offer. It wasn’t long before my meandering mind wondered again—what if you could walk to ALL the California missions? It turns out San Franciscan Stephanie Dodaro has travelled by foot to all 21 missions on an 800-mile trail of her own design, loosely following an 1812 map of the Camino Real. While I’d have a hard time carving out the 50 days she took to go from Mission Solano in Sonoma to Mission San Diego, walking it in segments over time sounds like a pretty incredible project to undertake. I can’t think of a better way to get to know the state.

Alissa Walker is a writer, a gelato eater, and a walker in L.A. She shares an experience from her adventures around town at CityThink each Wednesday. Follow her daily on Instagram at @awalkerinLA, on Twitter, or at her blog, and use the hashtag #betteroffped to share your own photographs of walking in L.A.