About Chino Canyon
Chino Canyon is formed by means of a rift-opening on the northwestern arm of the Coachella Valley, under Mount San Jacinto. It was the site of an ancient Cahuilla village named Mala, and is said to have once been the summer home of the Palm Springs Indians. Agua Caliente elder Francisco Patencio recalled his people’s fields and gardens there, irrigated by ditches constructed by his forefathers. Mala was eventually swept away in a flash flood during Patencio’s early childhood, taking with it homes and land, reducing the area to rocks and washed-out gorges.
Chino Canyon was also the site of another event significant in Cahuilla history. When in 1825 an epidemic made an appearance in the area, it caused widespread death among the Cahuilla. A man of great botanical knowledge, Andres Lucero, constructed herbal steam baths there to combat it. He summoned everybody into a large cave formerly used for religious purposes and converted it into a cave-hospital. He reputedly saved many lives.
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