Diego Day Trips
Vallecito Stage Station
View:Vallecito Stage Station
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Caliente Regional Park Tour:
Stage Station Inside
Stage Station Campground
mesquite shaded 71 acre. public campground offers piped water, flush
toilets, recovered picnic area, groups sites, in 44 primitive campsites
with tables, firings, and body stoves. The park is administered by the
San Diego County Department of Parks and recreation. Vallecito has been
a campsite for literally hundreds of years, beginning first with the
native Kumeyaay Indians.
The Kumeyaay had continuously occupied this area from about 1000 AD
to 1906, when the village was abandoned. Lt. Pedro Fages, in 1772 ,
was the 1st white man to pass through the area , pursuing deserters
from the San Diego presidio. He had found " plenty of pasture and
to pools of water . " He also mentioned the Indian village, which
she said was occupied by 500 Indians. Fortunately for the Kumeyaay,
Indian hostilities on the Colorado River precluded extended contact
at this time, giving the Kumeyaay the few years of respite before the
full impact of the white man's arrival was truly felt. But by the time
John Audubon, Jr., encountered these Indians in 1849, only a small village
existed. He made a sketch of the Kumeyaay village, called Hawi, which
was located near a spring. In 1916, the flash floods covered the site
of the old village with sand.
50 years after Fages, discovered Vallecito, Lt. Santiago Arguello rediscovered
it when he chased Indian horse thieves into the desert following the
Fages route down Oriflamme Canyon. Arguello also discovered the route
San Felipe Valley to San Gabrial and Los Angeles, and in 1825 it became
that Sonora road in the official Mexican mail road to Alta Calif., the
predecessor of the southern immigrant trail and the Butterfield Overland
The outbreak of war with Mexico in May 1840's brought increased use
of the road by Americans, beginning with the arrival of Brigadier-General
Stephen Watts Kearny and his army of the West in November. Two months
later, the Mormon Battalion followed Kearny and opened the wagon road
to California. A year later, on February 2nd, 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe
Hilldalgo officially ended the war, a week later gold was discovered
at Sutter's Mill. The Butterfield Stage station was erected in 1858
with a barn, crammed with hay for horses not far from the station.
Through the years, the Vallecito station was occupied by one tenant
after another but it was not until James E. Mason (the younger) that
the valley and had a legal owner. In 1884 Mason received patent to 160
acres. that included the old station. Little owner Christian F. Holland
deeded six acres. in 1934 to San Diego County to begin the restoration
process of the crumbling stage station. Today, one room and its roof
are parts of the original structure.
Vallecito Stage Station County Park, on County Rd S2 (P.M. 34.7),
3.7 mi NW of Agua Caliente Springs
Phone: San Diego County Parks and Recreation Department.
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