Approximately 1,000 years ago, a Native American people called the Kumeyaay lived throughout what is now San Diego County and Baja California. During that time, the Pauwai Valley was occupied by hundreds of Kumeyaay-Ipai living off the land. The Ipai were a linguistic division of the Kumeyaay living in the northern part of what is now San Diego County. The Kumeyaay were still in Poway until the early 1900s. The evidence of their lives and work can be seen today at the Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center, founded by a partnership with the Friends of the Kumeyaay, the San Pasqual Band of Indians, and the City of Poway.
View from the trailThe Kumeyaay-Ipai Interpretive Center of Pauwai is a 5-acre site rich in Kumeyaay-Ipai local history. The Native Americans lived primarily on the east side of the hill that blocked the prevailing winds. The land had thousands of oak trees along Poway Creek, large sycamore trees and a year-round stream. Game was plentiful, and vegetation produced enough food to sustain a large tribe. The site also had the highest vantage point in the Pauwai Valley which allowed them to look out for game and predators. The large boulders provided shelter and it was also thought that the boulders and rock peak had a religious significance, although this theory has not been substantiated.
The City of Poway began acquiring the various parcels which comprise the Center beginning in 1987 to preserve the site as a significant American Indian cultural site. Docents also offer interpretive tours to educate the public in the heritage practices of the ancient Kumeyaay.
Personal Experience: I did not get the full experience as I had my dog with me and it turns out this is a no-dog zone. :/ There was more I needed to explore but sadly this spot is usually only open during a time that I have to work. They were having a special event and were open on a Sunday this week so I made sure to take advantage & head on over! I have actually been wanting to visit this spot for years! I didn't realize how amazing it was inside. There are wigwams and metates that you can view up close. I really felt like I was going back in time.
Inside the museum right when I got kicked out for bringing my furry side-kick:
Member's SectionMurphy's Ranch
Anza Borrego Desert
Cuyamaca State Park