The small Sonoran pueblo of Trincheras is located near Mexico federal highway 15, between the towns of Santa Ana and Altar.
About a mile west of the highway toll booths at the midpoint between Altar and Santa Ana, the road to Trincheras is marked by a sign and a red bus stop Turn south on that road, drive 22 kilometers (about 14 miles, drive slowly through the gulley and keep an eye out for cattle), and you’ll be in Trincheras.
The town’s name (Trincheras, or “trenches”) comes from a nearby hill that was terraced hundreds of years ago by ancient inhabitants, apparently for agricultural or defensive purposes. Known as the “pyramid of Sonora,” the hill is an interesting archaelogical site to explore.
Trincheras is also the birthplace of cultural icon Joaquin Murrieta, who was a colorful figure in California’s 1850’s gold rush era. Murrieta has been alternately described as a “Robin Hood-type” character who is compared to Zorro and a symbol of struggles against oppression, as well as one of California’s first mass murderers.
A group of Murrieta family descendants from the U.S. and Mexico gather in Trincheras every fall, in late October, to commemorate his legacy. The “Joaquin Murrieta Days” celebration is held in conjunction with the town’s fiestas to celebrate its patron saint of San Rafael.