Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

General Information


October 9, 1791 - The 13th California Mission

Also Called:

Soledad Mission

Current Status:

This is a restored mission site. The mission church is considered a chapel of Our Lady of Solitude Catholic Church in the town of Soledad.


Nuestra Señora de la Soledad was founded on October 9, 1791. Mission Soledad was abandoned for almost 100 years, then carefully restored between 1954–1962. The simple chapel and padre’s quarters, as well as the ruins of the mission’s adobe walls, accurately depict what was one of the most isolated of the California missions.


36641 Fort Romie Road
Soledad, CA 93960
United States

Get Directions


The mission is located south of the town of Soledad easily reached off US 101. Take the Arroyo Seco Exit, travel on Arroyo Seco for about one (1) mile and then turn right on Fort Romie Road. The mission entrance will be on the left.

Approaching the Soledad Mission
Approaching the Soledad Mission


831-678-2586 - Mission Office

Fees, Hours, Tours and Church Services

Please contact the mission directly by telephone or by visiting the mission website for the most current information.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, it is best to check for current information.

Weddings and Other Special Services

Weddings, Baptisms and other special services are held at Our Lady of Solitude Parish Church in the town of Soledad. Contact the Church office directly by telephone at 831-678-2731 or by visiting the church website.

Use of the Mission Chapel for services has to be discussed with the Parish Church.

Special Events

Special events held periodically include music concerts, arts and crafts shows, and auctions. These events raise funds to support the mission. Visit the mission website for further information.

Unique Attractions

  • This mission complex is unique. The simple chapel and padre's wing sits within agricultural fields that are still farmed with no commercial buildings nearby.
  • The Daughters of the Golden West restored the Chapel in 1954. Check out their website to learn more about the many ways they are contributing to the restoration of the CA missions.
  • A statue of Our Lady of Sorrows is the center piece on the church altar.
  • The convento wing, which now contains a gift shop and museum, was restored in 1963.
  • The Soledad church was originally located at the east end of the padre's quarters. It was destroyed in a flood c. 1824. The location of this first church is well-marked. There are long-range plans to rebuild this church.
  • There is a statue of the founder of the mission, Fr. Junípero Serra, behind the open parking area in front of the mission.
  • Soledad has some of the most haunting ruins of old adobe mission walls you will find in California.
Mission Soledad Chapel
Mission Soledad Chapel
The Statue of Mary In the Mission Chapel
The Statue of Mary In the Mission Chapel
The Padre's Quarters
The Padre's Quarters
View of the Mission from Serra Statue
View of the Mission from Serra Statue
Adobe Ruins at Mission Soledad
Adobe Ruins at Mission Soledad

Tips for Visitors

  • Mission Soledad is an easy stop along Route 101. Don't miss seeing this mission whose simplicity and isolation give the visitor a sense of how difficult life must have been in this remote spot two (2) centuries ago.
  • Walk the grounds which are well-marked. Be sure to go far enough in back of the mission buildings to see the old adobe walls.
  • If it has rained recently, be warned that the dirt roads/paths in the back can be muddy.
Mission Soledad Ruins of Adobe Walls
Mission Soledad Ruins of Adobe Walls

Year Secularized


Year Returned to Catholic Church


Patron Saint (Named For)

Our Lady of Solitude

Prominent Missionary Leaders

  • Founding Father President - Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén
  • Founding Missionaries - Fr. Mariano Rubi and Fr. Diego Garcia
Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén
Fr. Fermin Francisco de Lasuén

Indians Joining Mission

Few natives lived in the vicinity of this mission so Indians were recruited from many tribes including the Chalon, Esselen, Yokuts, and Salinan.

Mission Site

Thirty (30) miles southeast of Monterey in the Salinas River Valley at a site thought to have been an Esselen village known by the natives as Chuttusgelis.

Mission Layout

A courtyard-centered quadrangle without buildings. Neophyte housing was located to the south and the cemetery to the east.

Water Source

Salinas River (too low for irrigation) was used for livestock needs. The Arroyo Seco brought seasonal waters. A fifteen (15) mile long zanja or aqueduct dug by neophytes (rediscovered by archaeologists from CSU Monterey Bay in 2007) eventually irrigated some 20,000 acres in the Llano del Rey or lands around the mission.


The highest recorded population was 687 in 1804.


The Soledad mission had a livestock herd of 6,000 cattle and 4,950 sheep in 1834, the last year for which records were maintained. The number of sheep exceeded 9,000 during the mission's peak years.

Mission Soledad Cattle Brand
Mission Soledad Cattle Brand

Agricultural Output

Agricultural production at Soledad ranked it in the bottom third of the mission chain. Over the years 1793-1834, Soledad harvested 119,492 bushels of wheat, barley, corn, beans, and peas. Its most important product was wheat.

Mission Church

The simple Soledad chapel was built in 1832 and restored in 1954. The church was originally located at the east end of the padre's quarters until about 1824 when it was destroyed in one of the recurring floods that plagued this "hard luck" mission.

Mission Bells

The original mission bell cast in Mexico City in 1794, used to hang on a wooden beam to the left of the church entrance. For security purposes, the original has been moved inside.

Original Mission Soledad Bell
Original Mission Soledad Bell

Mission Art and Artifacts

Both the exterior and interior of the chapel are quite simple. Colorfully painted reredos, stenciled wall decorations, and original oil paintings of the Stations of the Cross adorn the sanctuary. There is also an original painting of Our Lady of Refuge in the sanctuary.

Interesting Facts

  • José Joaquín de Arrillaga, the first Spanish governor of Alta California, died at Soledad in 1814 during a mission tour and was buried in a Franciscan habit beneath the floor of the church which was destroyed in 1824.
  • Soledad became the principal headquarters of the President of the California Missions, Fr.Mariano Payeras, in the wake of Bouchard's raid on Monterey from 1819-1822.
  • Soledad's Fr. Vicente Francisco de Sarría authored a medical treatise titled "Descriptión de la Operación Cesaria" (1830), the first original California contribution to the field of medicine. Fr. Sarría, the last missionary to serve at the mission, died there in 1835.
  • Mission Soledad deteriorated rapidly after secularization. It served for several years as the Felilano Soberanes Ranch House, a grocery store and a restaurant and was then abandoned for almost one hundred (100) years.
  • The Daughters of the Golden West restored the chapel in 1953 and the convento wing (present day museum) in 1963.
Remains of Fr. Sarria
Remains of Fr. Sarria

For Additional Information

  • Orser, M.B. (1996). It Happened in Soledad.
  • Fisher, A.B. & Brusa, B.W. (1945). The Salinas Upside Down River. (2nd ed.). 
  • Breschini, G. (2004). The Esselen Indians of the Big Sur Country.
  • Engelhardt, Z. (1920). Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. (The definitive early history of the mission).