On July 29, 1776, Fathers Francisco Atansio Dominguez and Silvestre Velez de Escalante led an exploration party of ten horsemen from Santa Fe, New Mexico to establish an overland route to Monterey, California while spreading the Catholic faith to the native peoples they hoped to meet along the way.
On October 14, the expedition camped at San Hugelino in present day Toquerville. The previous day, the two Indian guides, suspicious and afraid of the Spaniards, led them into the hills west of Ash Creek Canyon and disappeared, leaving the padres to find their way out the best they could. The Spaniards found their way back to Rio del Pilar 9Kanarra Creek) with great difficulty and camped there at San Daniel.
Two days later, as the party traveled south near present day Hurricane they came upon three small corn fields, watered by irrigation ditches Since they had nothing left but two slabs of chocolate, this meant provision could be secured on the return trip to Santa Fe. The community orientation of these Indians also meant that the chances for success in teaching Christianity to them were good.
Although the expedition never reached California, they covered some 2,000 miles of challenging terrain, adding greatly to the knowledge of the geography and the native inhabitants of the Spanish domain now called the American Southwest.
This marker is located just outside the Hurricane Pioneer Museum in Hurricane, Utah