Dyar House Ruins
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
13652 Hwy 79
Julian, CA 92036
The Dyar house was built in 1923 and is said to have been made from the same hand-cut native stone which was also used to build the Lassator's Green Valley Ranch. After the 2003 Cedar Fire swept through this area though, all that remains today is a skeletal structure.
Since the late 1960's, the Dyar house had served as a museum, library, gift shop and headquarters to the park up until the fire. Thankfully, most of the museum displays were saved before the structure was wiped out. As of late 2014, there is evidence that the spot will be constructed but due to funding,when is anyone's guess. There have been volunteers working on rebuilding the site who say the museum was gorgeous before it burned down. Their goal is to get it back to the state it once was.
Archaeologists had a field day while excavating the site. Amid the wreckage were thousands of artifacts, including many Kumeyaay items such as lanterns, pottery and scaled used during gold mining.
A California Conservation Corps-era compound, Camp Hual-cu-Cuish, also was lost to the flames. Hual-Cu-Cuish is the Kumeyaay wording for “tough (or strong) but flexible.” This campe was built by the California Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s and then used by the Boy Scouts from 1940 to 1998 as a camp. The fire burned 90 percent of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park with some areas so hot that tree roots burned. The Cedar Fire covered over 273,000 acres, burning desert and mountain areas and extending west of SR-163 with spot burns as far as I-805.
Personal Experience: Cuyamaca is truly a full-day trip as there is just so much to see so pack accordingly. Let these ruins be just part of your adventure. We spotted wild turkeys while exploring these grounds which added such a fun touch. The turkeys will let you get decently close, enough to get some photos of them, but are very untrusting of humans. Sadly, almost all of my photos of the turkeys got fried from a bad memory card. :(
Our reason for visiting this spot was to explore my old 6th grade camp grounds. Imagine my surprise when we saw portions of it had burned down and what remained was this gorgeous stone structure! You cannot go inside and I would even recommend trying as it is hollowed out and the floor is filled with beams. Julian is only a stone's throw away from this spot. Have fun!
Anza Borrego Desert
Cuyamaca State Park