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Anza Trail at Tubac, AZ

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Hidden : 11/22/2004
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:

This cache is just off the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail near the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park in tubac, AZ

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In the last half of the 18 th century, Spain was struggling to secure its outposts in northern California from Russian and English exploration and colonization. Existing land and sea routes from Mexico were dangerous and difficult, and the Spanish sought a new overland route for moving settlers, livestock and supplies up from Sonora.

In 1774, Juan Bautista de Anza, Captain of the Presidio of Tubac in Sonora (now southern Arizona) led a small exploratory expediti9on to scout out a new route. The expedition met with success, not only finding a safe and predictable route, but also establishing friendly relations with the Yuma tribe at the junction of the Gila and Colorado Rivers, a relationship that proved invaluable in the colonizing expedition to follow.

With permission from the Viceroy of New Spain to found a mission and presidio at the port of San Francisco, Anza enlisted soldiers with families from Culiacan and other small communities as he headed north. He set out from the frontier in Tubac with a colonizing expedition of nearly 200 settlers and their escorts – cowboys, translators, mulepackers, Indian guides—and over 1,000 head of livestock. He was joined by Father Pedro Font who, along with Anza himself, kept in-depth diaries that painted a vivid picture of a pre-European contact landscape. The journals also describe centuries old varied and distinct American Indian cultures stretching along the entire length of trail. This epic journey and the route it established are memorialized today by the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail . --From a National Park Service brochure

Presidio – a garrisoned place; a military post or fortified settlement in areas currently or orig. under Spanish control.

Tubac Mission (now the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park)

The church and the military were the vanguards of Spanish frontier expansion throughout New Spain. The Jesuit, Eusebio Francisco Kino, established missions from 1687 to 1711 to Christianize and control Native Americans in the area. He established nearby Tumacacori in 1691, and Tubac, then a small Piman village, became a mission farm and ranch. Spanish Colonists began to settle here during the 1730’s, irrigating and farming the lands along the river and raising cattle, sheep and goats on the northern frontier of Spain’s New World empire.

Luis of Saric, Pima chief stirred by many grievances, left a bloody revolt late in 1751, destroying the small settlement at Tubac. Following a major battle, and subsequent surrender of the Pimans, the Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac was founded in June of 1752. The fifty cavalrymen garrisoned at this remote military post were to prevent further rebellion, protect colonists and the mission, and further explore the Southwest.

Juan Bautista de Anza II, second commander of the presidio, led two overland expeditions to the Pacific resulting in the founding of San Francisco, in 1776… Following Anza’s return to Tubac, military authorities moved the garrison from Tubac to Tucson in 1776, and the unprotected settlers abandoned their homes.

For a decade, Tubac languished from Apache depredation and without military protection. The situation finally resulted in the Viceroy’s reactivating the presidio in 1787, this time with Pima Indian troops and Spanish officers.

Mexico won her independence from Spain in 1821 and the new Republic of Mexico’s flag flew over Tubac until 1848. In that year a fierce Apache assault caused great loss of life and Tubac was again abandoned. This catastrophe, coupled with the drain of men leaving for the gold fields of California in 1849, turned Tubac into a virtual ghost town.

Tubac was part of the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, and was soon being resettled and developed by Eastern entrepreneurs as well as by former landowners.

Tubac’s population steadily grew until, in 1860, it was the largest town in Arizona. The American Civil War, however, drained the region of troops, leaving it unprotected from Apaches, and Tubac was again deserted. Although the region was resettled after the war, silver strikes in the Tombstone area and the routing of the railroad through Tucson drew development interests away from Tubac, and the town never regained its earlier importance. —From Tubac Presidio State Historic Park brochure

Stop by the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park and learn more of this history.


The US Anza trail goes from Nogales, AZ to San Francisco, CA. The whole trail has not been designated and/or developed. This 4 ½ mile dirt/sandy portion is for hiking and horseback riding.

The cache is just off the trail, near the state park. Please stay on the trail until you get close to the cache.

Hike Length: ½ mile, round trip

Hike Type: trail

Hike Difficulty: easy

Directions to Trailhead:

From Tucson, take I-10 south onto I-19. Take exit 40 (Chavez Siding), go left (East) onto Chavez Siding Road. After .1 miles go right (South) onto Frontage Road. After 3 miles, follow signs to Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. Just before the entrance to the park, go right for a few hundred feet and park in the trailhead parking lot.

Hike Directions: From the trailhead, walk east following signs to the trail.

Vehicle: car

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Additional Hints (Decrypt)

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Lbh ner ybbxvat sbe n zrgny nzzb obk ba gur tebhaq, punvarq gb n gerr.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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