La Purísima Mission State Historic Park

Update January 29, 2021:With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Additionally, group campsites remain closed. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for La Purísima Mission State Historic Park.

What is open now?
  • Trails and the day-use parking lot.
  • Parking is $6 per vehicle, fees can be paid upon arrival through www.passportparking.com. Additionally, there is an Automated Pay Machine which accepts credit cards.
  • Restrooms in day-use area.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • Historic buildings, visitor center and the park office.
  • Special events and tours.
Statewide:
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. 
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
    • SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(805) 733-3713

Park Hours

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Closed: New Years Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs allowed on multipurpose trail or road. Dogs not allowed in the historic buildings or visitor center.

Driving Directions to La Purísima Mission SHP

The park is about two miles northeast of Lompoc.
Driving time from Lompoc takes about 5 to 15 minutes depending on your location. Visitors can also bike, jog, or walk to the mission from Lompoc.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Vista Point
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Museums
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available

History

For thousands of years, the land containing present day La Purisima Mission State Historic Park served as home to the Chumash people, who spoke one of the Central Chumashan languages which became known as Purísimeño.

The Purísimeño Chumash lived in an area of narrow coastal terraces with rocky exposed shores, sand dunes, and small valleys.  The interface of warm and cold waters, and coastal and inland plant communities created a rich resource environment.  The Chumash lived in villages with domed dwellings called ‘ap. They hunted game and fished—using different fishing innovations for hook and line catches of larger fish.  Important trade networks were developed with the Yokuts in the southern San Joaquin Valley along the Santa Maria and Cuyama rivers.

On December 8, 1787, Father Fermin Lasuén, the Franciscan successor to Father Junípero Serra, founded Misión la Purísima Concepción de María Santísima in the present-day city of Lompoc.  By 1804 more than 1,500 Chumash who’d been removed from their land were laboring at the mission—constructing adobe dwellings, practicing agriculture, and raising livestock.  La Purísima prospered under Father Mariano Payeras, who arrived in 1804.  The mission began producing leading commodities to trade such as soap, candles, and leather.

At the height of its industry, however, La Purísima faced a series of setbacks. Between 1804 and 1807, smallpox and measles struck and several hundred Chumash died. Then, in 1812, violent earthquakes, followed by torrential rains, destroyed the mission’s original buildings. La Purísima was then moved four miles northeast across the Santa Ynez River to a place known to the Chumash people as Amúu and adjacent to El Camino Real, the “Royal Highway” that connected all the missions.

Using local Chumash labor, Father Payeras directed the rebuilding of La Purísima with four-and-a-half-foot-thick walls of adobe to resist the threat of future earthquakes.  In addition to the church, padre’s residence, and Indian Apartments, the new mission also contained a blacksmith shop, tanning vats, and a garden that provided edible plants and medicinal herbs.  An intricate three mile-long water system that included an aqueduct and underground piping was also added, along with abundant farming and grazing lands.  In time, more than 20,000 cattle and sheep roamed the hills, along with hundreds of horses, mules, and other livestock.  This remote but active outpost became the seat of mission government for all California missions from 1815 to 1823.

After Mexico took over California, promises of citizenship to indigenous people were slow to take effect, creating underlying frustrations.  In February 1824, the severe whipping of a Chumash worker at Mission Santa Inés set off a revolt that spread to other missions.  While many Chumash fled north, several hundred occupied La Purísima until soldiers recaptured the mission on March 17.

With the secularization of missions in 1834, the Franciscans lost control and many of the Chumash moved into pueblo communities to work at nearby ranchos.  Subsequent smallpox epidemics decimated the Purísimeño population.  A portion of the former mission lands were granted to Chumash workers Elceario and Pastor Choyama in 1845.  The remainder of the mission lands, including the mission buildings, were purchased by Jonathan (Juan) Temple and later sold to Ramón Malo, who had been granted adjacent Rancho Santa Rita.  After Malo’s death the property passed from owner to owner and the buildings eventually fell into ruin.  The Federal government returned some of the decrepit mission property to the Catholic Church in 1874.  The Union Oil Company bought portions of the land in 1903 and subsequently deeded parcels in 1933 to Santa Barbara County, which in turn deeded the land to the State of California.

Virtual School Programs

Our virtual school program registration is closed for the 2020/2021 school year. Check back July 1, 2021 for information on 2021/2022 school year.  Thank you all for your interest in our programs!  

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