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San Diego Day Trips

Vallecito Stage Station


Featured View:Vallecito Stage Station
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Agua Caliente Regional Park Tour:
Vallecito Stage Station
Vallecito Stage Station Inside
Vallecito Stage Station Campground

This 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 Mail.

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.


Location: 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. (858) 565-3600

Hours:

 


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