Misin San Fernando

About 56km (35 miles) southeast of El Rosario, just before the roadside settlement of Rancho El Progreso, a dirt road at Km 121 heads west to these mission ruins. The famed Franciscan Padre Junípero Serra founded the mission in 1769, but the Dominicans assumed control four years later when Serra decided to concentrate his efforts in Alta California (present day California). A few years later, epidemics nearly obliterated the native population, and the mission closed in 1818.

Some of the mission church's adobe walls are still standing, but of greater interest are the petroglyphs on a conspicuous granite outcrop a few hundred yards down the arroyo (dry river bed). They date from about AD 1000 to 1500. Unfortunately, vandals have damaged some paintings and others have weathered poorly, but together with the mission ruins they make the trip worthwhile.

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