Viscera Spring / Vaughn Spring, CA

Nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains, roughly fifteen miles due east of Big Bear Lake, is a small abandoned community that was built around three area springs, Viscera Spring, Vaughn Spring, and Mound Spring.  It is a semi-arid environment, with Joshua Trees, Pinyon Pines, Manzanita and other brush. The homes, cabins and ranches that made up this community are spread out over an area of a little over a mile.

A number of gold mines are within the vicinity, including the Bighorn Mine.  In 2010, the National Forest Service is known to have removed a number of historic miner’s cabins from this same general area. It is unclear, if  any of the remaining abandoned structures belonged to any of the miners, or if they are from people settled the area after the mines had closed. Some of the structures appear to not be as old as others, while another look to have been a family ranch.

Some of the structures are signed no trespassing, while others are not. Please respect these signs, and stay out of the buildings that are clearly marked. The ones that are not signed, you are more than likely safe to use for camping and shelter. Sadly most of these structures have seen better days, years of abandonment and their remote location have made them a target for vandals.

 

Vaughn Spring…

 

Water drips continue to drip into the stone trough.

Water drips continue to drip into the stone trough.

 

 

The cabins…

 

Cabin #1

 

This cabin is clearly marked with multiple No Trespassing signs. Be respectful of the signs, and stay at a distance, taking only pictures. Based on outer appearance alone, this is likely one of the older structures in the area.

This cabin is clearly marked with multiple No Trespassing signs. Be respectful of the signs, and stay at a distance, taking only pictures. Based on outer appearance alone, this is likely one of the older structures in the area.

 

 

 

Cabin #2

 

Cabin #2 appears to be one of the newer structures in the area.

Cabin #2 appears to be one of the newer structures in the area.

 

The outside of the cabin has seen better days. Walls have been knocked down, screens and windows have been broken out.

The outside of the cabin has seen better days. Walls have been knocked down, screens and windows have been broken out.

 

Close up of the senseless vandalism that has been done to the outside of the cabin.

Close up of the senseless vandalism that has been done to the outside of the cabin.

 

Sadly the inside looks worst than the outside. It is obvious that this was once a beautiful home. It now looks like the aftermath of a frat party.

Sadly the inside looks worst than the outside. It is obvious that this was once a beautiful home. It now looks like the aftermath of a frat party.

 

More senseless destruction.

More senseless destruction.

 

 

Cabin #3

 

The nicest kept of all the cabins. We did some clean up of beer bottles around the outside of this cabin. Other than that, in pretty decent shape with the exception of a couple of broken windows.

The nicest kept of all the cabins. We did some clean up of beer bottles around the outside of this cabin. Other than that, in pretty decent shape with the exception of a couple of broken windows.

 

Side shot of Cabin #3

Side shot of Cabin #3

 

The kitchen, complete with dirty dishes in the sink.

The kitchen, complete with dirty dishes in the sink.

 

A semi-cozy living area with some of the basics.

A semi-cozy living area with some of the basics.

 

A wood burning stove for those chilly nights.

A wood burning stove for those chilly nights.

 

The shed at Cabin #3. Inside there is a supply of roofing materials for the cabin.

The shed at Cabin #3. Inside there is a supply of roofing materials for the cabin.

The Ranch(?)

What I suspect to have been a ranch consists of a large house, a smaller house, and a large barn/shed structure.

 

The big house. Due to this site being a little more difficult to access, the vandalism is at a minimum. The outside of this structure is weathered, but still beautiful.

The big house. Due to this site being a little more difficult to access, the vandalism is at a minimum. The outside of this structure is weathered, but still beautiful.

 

Stone cellar attached to the side of the house.

Stone cellar attached to the side of the house.

 

Front porch, and entrance way.

Front porch, and entrance way.

 

Beautiful stone chimney as you enter the building.

Beautiful stone chimney as you enter the building.

 

The kitchen appliances have had better days.

The kitchen appliances have had better days.

 

The smaller home, likely a guest house. This building is not structurally sound. I would not recommend entering it.

The smaller home, likely a guest house. This building is not structurally sound. I would not recommend entering it.

 

Another outside view of the guest house.

Another outside view of the guest house.

 

You can clearly see that this building is on the verge of collapsing.

You can clearly see that this building is on the verge of collapsing.

 

The inside of the guest house. Some furnishing remain.

The inside of the guest house. Some furnishing remain.

 

The barn - again no longer structurally sound.

The barn – again no longer structurally sound.

 

Unused bags of Mojave Portland Cement found inside the barn.

Unused bags of Mojave Portland Cement found inside the barn.

 

 

Interested in visiting this site?

BOOK OPTION: Viscera Spring / Vaughn Spring is featured in Secret Places in the Mojave Desert Vol. IV. Detailed maps, and GPS coordinates are included.  Order your copy now.

 

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.

2 Comments

  • Thank you for posting these pictures and and reminding people to be respectful of the properties. My Great Grandfather is Floyd Vaughn of Vaughn of Vaughn Springs. It does my heart good to see the water tower and burp hole.

  • I just visited this area 6 days ago. Sadly, the main home at the family ranch (cabin number 4) has burned completely down. Fire looks to have happened within the past few months. :(

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