Leaving the meadow, the trail followed Agua Caliente (hot water) Creek for a good distance. Starting more than a thousand years ago, the Cupeño Indians lived along this creek and at the nearby hot sulphur springs.
The Cupa, as they were also called, were one of the smallest Native American tribes in Southern California. When the springs became a popular destination for tourists in the late 1800s, the Cupa were forced to fight court battles to save their homes. The fight went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where they lost in 1901.
Several years earlier, President Rutherford Hayes had signed an order to move the tribe 40 miles away to a 10,000-acre reservation established for the Luiseno tribe, and in 1903 the order was executed.