The Purple Heart Trail has been marked and extended on Highway 101 through the Central Coast of California,

from Monterery to Santa Barbara counties. 



The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action. It is specifically a combat decoration


The heritage it represents is sacred to those who understand the price paid to wear it.


The current Purple Heart medal was developed by General Douglas MacArthur in 1932. The design is made in the shape of a rich purple heart bordered with gold, with a bust of Washington in the center and the Washington coat-of-arms at the top.



What is the Purple Heart Trail?


The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992 by the Congressionally sanctioned Military Order of the Purple Heart to be a symbolic trail throughout all 50 states to commemorate and honor all men and women who have been wounded or given their lives in combat while serving in the U.S. armed forces. The National Purple Heart Trail originates in Mount Vernon, Virginia, and traverses the United States to California.


The Purple Heart Trail accomplishes this honorary goal by creating a visual reminder to those who use the road system that others have paid a high price for their freedom to travel and live in a free society. Signs placed at various locations annotate those roads and highways where legislation has been passed to designate parts of the national road system as The Purple Heart Trail. The actual format and design of the signs varies from state to state. There are currently designated sections in 20 states as well as Guam.


In 2008, the local Marine Corps League, Detachment #680 approached Assemblyman Blakeslee’s office to spearhead an initiative to designate the 115-mile portion of Highway 101, from San Ardo to Los Alamos, as a portion of the National Purple Heart Trail. In August, 2009, California’s State Legislature approved ACR−12 into law. The trail would serve to link the many historic veterans’ museums and memorials throughout the Central Coast.  The trail in California now extends for over 240 miles from Monterey through Ventura County.


Tim Haley, a Vietnam veteran from Atascadero, California, lead the effort to get Purple Heart Trail signs up on the Central Coast in California.  Haley is the past Commandant of the Marine Corps League, Detachment 680 in San Luis Obispo.  Tim was ably assisted by Chuck Ward and other members of MCL680.


None of this could have occurred without the generous donations of many individuals as no public funds were used to make and install the signs.





This photo shows the Southbound Freeway sign at the Hwy 101 and Hwy 41 interchange leading to the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial in Atascadero. 


An objective is to have directional signs near these PHT signs identifying the veteran venue at the upcoming exit.  After many attempts and through the efforts of Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian a bill was passed in the state legislature on August 20, 2014 to authorize a sign for the Faces of Freedom Veterans Memorial at this exit.   If you are interested in the text of the resolution   



The directional signs (North and Southbound) were installed December 30, 2014 by Statewide, Traffic Safety & Sign.



The efforts to create this part of the national Purple Heart Trail were under the auspices of Marine Corps League 680 in San Luis Obispo, California.