Thursday, March 12, 2015

Field trip explores Cajon Pass “Gateway into the San Bernardino Valley”

A field trip—Exploring the Cajon Pass: Gateway into the San Bernardino Valley—will explore historic trails and roads along the Cajon Pass inlcuding the site of the Cajon Pass Monument dedication in 1913. (Photo/Nick Cataldo – San Bernardino Historical Society)

By Yazmin Alvarez
Inland Empire Community Newspapers

A one-day field trip along the trails and paths traveled by mountain men and American explorers is being offered March 21 through Cal State San Bernardino’s Office of Extended Education.

The drive-and-stop course—”Exploring the Cajon Pass: Gateway into the San Bernardino Valley”— will be taught by local historian Nick Cataldo and focus on what he refers to as “the gateway into the Southern Valley” following in the footsteps of Jedediah Smith and Kit Carson, the Mormon Battalion and passing through wagon roads.

“The Cajon Pass has played a prominent role in the San Bernardino Valley since prehistoric times. Indians, explorers, trappers, loggers, settlers, land speculators, rail passengers, the military and early motorists have all passed through the Cajon Pass on their way to or from the desert, making this an important gateway in Southern California”.

As part of the hands-on field trip, guests will trek along historic routes including the Old Spanish Trail dating back to the 1830’s, the National Old Trails Road, John Brown’s Toll Road and a portion of the infamous Route 66. Day trippers will also visit the grounds of an old Serrano Indian campsite. Each stop will include lessons on the historical sites along with stories and opportunities for discussions.

The course—which has a fee of $83 for no credit and $140 for one unit credit— will run from 8 a.m.. to 4:30 p.m. There will be an optional no-host breakfast at 7 a.m. at the Summit Inn, 5960 Mariposa Road in Oak Hills prior to the start of the day’s trek.

Nick Cataldo, second from right, leads a group up the old route of travel in Crowder Canyon. (Photo/Nick Cataldo – San Bernardino Historical Society)

Field-trippers are encouraged to bring good hiking shoes, a camera, a walking stick, lunch, water, pencil or pen and clothing suitable for both warm and cold weather.

Walking trips of no more than two miles are required during the excursion. Children seven and older are welcome. Those interested in driving their own vehicle can do so, but clearance is required as part of the route is on bumpy dirt roads and small ravines.