There are many popular attractions in Hollister. Hollister Hills caters primarily to motorcyclists, ATV riders and four-wheelers, but picnic and camping facilities are also available. The site is located in the Gabilan Mountains with elevations ranging from 660 to 2,425 feet. In total the site has over 85 miles of trails, plus hill climbs, motocross tracks, a mini-bike trail and mini-track.
The Pinnacles National Monument is located on the site of an ancient volcano in the Gabilan Mountains. The site is known for the stunning contradiction of its landscape. Sheer-walled canyons and massive blocks of stone are peppered with colorful wildflowers in the spring. The rock formations are popular amongst experienced climbers and there are more than 30 miles of trails available to hikers. The more adventurous hiker may bring a flashlight to visit Balconies Cave and Bear Gulch Cave. The Bear Gulch Cave is closed seasonally when the Townsend’s Big-eared Bat is hibernating. The Balconies, a talus cave, is usually open year-round. The Pinnacles facility is also very popular with bird watchers.
Boaters, anglers and windsurfers will enjoy the San Justo Reservoir. The lake is well suited for smaller sailboats and beginning windsurfers. There are also picnic and barbecue facilities on site, as well as mountain biking trails that run around the lake.
The Thousand Trails Campground is a members-only facility located approximately 14 miles south of Hollister. Fishing lakes, golf courses and hiking trails are all located nearby. The facility offers 435 full hook-ups, an adult lodge, basketball and volleyball courts, play areas for children, laundry facilities, a nature center, family center and swimming pool.
History and art enthusiasts appreciate San Juan Bautista, a small town known for its turn-of-the-century ambience. Populated with boutiques, art studios and restaurants – and lacking fast food joints and strip malls – San Juan Bautista is sure to be a relaxing destination. The town’s shops retail a variety of unique items, including jewelry, artwork and local artifacts. One may take a horse and buggy ride around town, or simply enjoy the historic architecture on foot.
For the more social-minded, Hollister has a number community groups that cater to a variety of interests. Many of these groups manage the annual events, which bring residents closer together and draw in visitors from surrounding communities. The Hollister Downtown Association puts on an annual street festival in the downtown district to celebrate local dining, artwork and music. The County Fair, Summer Street Festival and the Annual Lights On Celebration are also popular events.
The Gabilan Course has been the site of several tournaments, including the qualifiers for the 1996 and 1997 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Event.
Tres Pinos is a small, Northern California community located about an hour’s drive from the Silicon Valley. Due to the city of Hollister’s continued economic growth and project-based expansion, Tres Pinos is now located along the southern edge of Hollister’s most recent city developments, yet it still remains approximately six miles from Hollister’s city center. Today, more than 1,000 people call Tres Pinos home. The town is a small, sleepy community of residential properties, general stores and antique shops.
Situated in the heart of a massive rural area that is predominately agricultural, Tres Pinos is comprised of many large farms and ranches. Homes here are well-constructed, attractive and affordable, providing residents with a true taste of an old-fashioned lifestyle which the community at large embraces wholeheartedly. With larger cities such as Hollister and Gilroy within a few minutes drive along Highway 25, the hometown feel of Tres Pinos is a welcome change for those who live here.
Warm summers are surrounded by cool springs and autumns. In the winter, temperatures dip overnight but the days are welcomed by an abundance of sunshine. Hence, outdoor activities abound in the region with many intriguing hiking and biking challenges awaiting both novice and advanced adventurers. The mild climate also produces some of the freshest fruits and vegetables in the nation, making this a virtual haven for those who love to buy the finest foods possible. From tomatoes, garlic, pumpkins, lettuce, berries and a variety of grains, this farmland has some of the richest and fertile soil in the world.
Many Tres Pinos residents have their own working farms or ranches. The silhouette of cattle and horses during dawn and dusk is a familiar sight off in the distance for those taking in the scenery from cozy porches and other sitting areas. For others, more traditional neighborhoods also exist, providing locals with a family-friendly atmosphere that’s perfect for people of all ages. Most students travel the short distance to attend public schools in nearby Hollister while others attend a variety of private schools in the region. For those working outside of the city, an abundance of jobs in a variety of industries are available. From the many retail stores, popular chain restaurants and various office complexes in Hollister and Gilroy, to the mega-tech industry that’s located a mere 60 minutes away in the metropolitan city of San Jose, this region supports the diverse careers of all who reside here.
Tres Pinos, in its hey day, was a booming town that was bolstered by the move of Southern Pacific Railroad to put a railroad depot here. The year was 1873, and with the city of San Francisco as one of Tres Pinos’ biggest consumers of hay, cattle and grain, the railroad literally paved the way for the town’s many agricultural goods and services to feed a rapidly growing population in the city by the Bay. From 1870 until the turn of the century, Tres Pinos had the flair of the old west while serving as a prosperous shipping center for many west coast cities. The town featured wooden sidewalks, attractive store fronts and hitching posts. The most obvious buildings in the town were the large grain warehouses and six saloons. There was also a hotel and a bull fighting arena. During World War II, the use of the train station was discontinued by the railroad and Tres Pinos, as a result, evolved into a peaceful rural community.
Today, Tres Pinos has embraced its own modern day economic growth while also consciously preserving its storied past. The introduction of several property developments has helped enhance the community’s residential value while not disturbing the vast open space that makes Tres Pinos a beautiful and natural looking stretch of land. The grain fields still remain, as do rolling hills and tree groves that dot the landscape. The combination of new and old homes, along with businesses that still provide a clear definition of the history of the ways of the old west make Tres Pinos a truly unique place to call home.
San Juan Bautista:
Tucked in between the Gabilan Mountains and Flint Hills, the City of San Juan Bautista sits in the heart of the noted San Juan Valley. Residents bask in the comfortable, down-to-earth, small town atmosphere. The city, which is rich with history and culture, transmits the character of the past. The downtown area offers both fine dining and unique shops. The Chamber of Commerce throws all sorts of fun events and festivals for the whole family scattered throughout the year. There’s a good selection of schools to choose from that have your children’s best interests in mind. Historic and natural wonders abound.
Different monthly events are hosted throughout the neighborhood on each Saturday of the month. On the first Saturday, the State Historic Park holds a Living History Celebration with enactments and all and is sponsored by the Plaza History association. The San Bautista Gallery Walk is held on every second Saturday. For this event, all local galleries open up with monthly exhibits. The third Saturday of the month features the Monthly Antique Fair along Mariposa Street in the downtown area, sponsored by the San Juan Bautista Antique Committee. And for the last Saturday in the month, there is the Monthly Pancake Breakfast, serving all you can eat pancakes at the Cutting Horse Steakhouse on Third Street.
Besides the monthly gallery openings, there are also workshops led by master painters and other artists. The Hollister Art League and Pinnacle Quilters are fun artist groups to join. The San Benito County Open Studios Tour happens every 3rd weekend in December. You can also join the monthly quilting program or beading classes. The Galeria Tonantzin weekend conference about La Virgen Arts, Crafts and Special Events draws a great crowd as well.
One of San Juan Bautista’s most well known features is its State Historic Park. It is directly adjacent and connected to one of California’s 21 Franciscan missions. Since its opening day on July 1, 1812, the mission has been in continuous use, under the duress of the Catholic Church. It originally served as the largest town in central California and bustled with travel between northern and central California. Several historic buildings from the 1800s remain to this day. They include the Plaza Hotel, Plaza Hall and stable, granary, jail, blacksmith shop, and the recently reopened Castro-Breen Adobe with its fascinating, colorful exhibits. It is indeed a one-of-a-kind learning site for people of all walks of life.
The historic mission/church, dedicated on June 23, 1812, has a very rich history. Padre Esteban Tapis, former Presidente of the Missions and founder of the Mission Santa Ines is buried in the sanctuary. A very musically talented man, he was the cause of San Juan being nicknamed “The Mission of Music”. The Museum displays two of his handwritten choir books. What were once former work areas for the Native Americans and the padre’s living quarters now make up the present museum rooms. The current gardens were a center of activity and learning. People would gather to learn the skills of carpentry, tanning, weaving, and candle making.
Four thousand Christian Native Americans and Europeans are buried in the cemetery, located on the north side of the church. Ascencion Solorzano, the last pure blooded Native American of this mission, is buried in the cemetery. Her grave is marked by a red cross and a plaque has been placed on the wall above her grave in her memory. The Juan Batista de Anza trail is a wonderful place to go with the family and drink in the natural sights of the land. In the late 18000s Anza led an expedition and successfully opened an overland route of emigration and supply from Sonora to the missions and settlements of Alta California. The route Anza opened supplied the settlements of Alta California long enough for them to become established. In 1781, the Yumas revolted against Spanish rule and closed the route during the rest of the colonial period. In later years, Anza's trail served the military, settlers, cattlemen, 49ers and other desert travelers. Today, visitors can enjoy the trail by hiking or horseback riding along the Anza Trail between Tumacácori National Historical Park and Tubac Presidio State Historic Park in Arizona, or in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California. Information on all these locations at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Mission San Gabriel, the Presidio of San Francisco, and other sites along the way that already recognize the exploits of Juan Bautista de Anza.
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