Photo of the former Kumeyaay village site at Bow Willow
Sombrero Peak (4229 ft.) Towers Over Egg Mountain (915 ft.) — The Kumeyaay Village at Bow Willow Once Stood on the Flat Ground in Between


From San Felipe Creek in Central Anza-Borrego to Indian Hill in Anza-Borrego South, anytime you find what appears to be a good place to camp you can well imagine it once was a Kumeyaay village.

Vallecito and Agua Caliente were village sites. There were encampments in Indian Valley, with access from Indian Gorge and Mountain Palm Springs. You can still follow the trails.

At Bow Willow, you can spend the night at an Anza-Borrego Desert State Park camp on the site of a former Indian village. Look for nearby morteros, or walk to Sombrero Peak.

Manfred Knaak refers to the Indian Hill rock shelter as "one of the most important archaeological sites in the Anza-Borrego Desert." He says: "It provides the first hard evidence of human occupation in this desert dating from about 6,000 years to the present." Lindsay (Anza-Borrego A to Z) refers to the earliest occupants of Indian Hill as Pinto Basin Indians. In All the Wild and Lonely Places: Journeys in a Desert Landscape, author Lawrence Hogue paints a chilling picture of cowboy and Indian days here.

In the Yuha Desert, the Yuha Intaglios near Yuha Basin are a powerful testament to Native-American spirituality. In 1971, some Indian remains were found near Yuha Basin. They were determined to have been about 3,500 years old.

But beyond looking at the few signs that are there, the thoughtful desert visitor will want to look at the area's documented Native-American past. Lindsay is an excellent starting place for such a study. Knaak is recommended for the rock art perspective.

See also: Rock Art, the Anza-Borrego Desert's Forgotten Artist