Retracing the Portolá Expedition's 'Discovery' of SF Bay

The Ohlone-Portolá Heritage Trail will run the length of San Mateo County and include Indigenous representation, which some tribal leaders feel is an afterthought.

By Naomi Friedland

Nov. 1, 2023—A 90-mile trail in San Mateo County will trace the steps of Spanish explorers' journey to the “discovery” of the San Francisco Bay, which at the time was home to a thriving and diverse network of Indigenous tribes. Since the feasibility study was established in 2019, more than 60 agencies were involved in building and designing sections of the trail, acquiring land, and re-establishing historical landmarks to include Indigenous perspectives.

Originally named the Portolá Heritage Trail, the planning committee, made up of San Mateo County, California State Parks and local public land agencies, decided to incorporate the Indigenous side of the story early on, renaming the route the Ohlone-Portolá Heritage Trail after the group of tribes native to the Bay Area. While incorporating the Indigenous story is a huge step forward in acknowledging Native history, many Indigenous activists fear this is not enough.

Read the full story over on Hilltromper Silicon Valley: Trail will Retrace Spanish Explorers’ ‘Discovery’ of SF Bay.