Ragsdale Cabin, Santa Rosa Mt. Ca.
Desert Steve Ragsdale, the founder of Desert Center, decided that he needed a cooler place to be, in order to beat the scorching summer heat of the California desert. So in 1938, Steve along with his wife Lydia, purchased 280 acres atop the Santa Rosa mountain from local pioneer, Arthur Nightingale. First thing Steve did was to cut down some of the local trees, and build a place to share his stories. Steve was known to have a story for every occasion, and then some. He constructed two “buildings”, a one room cabin with a huge fireplace at one end and a tree house or lookout as it is sometimes called.
It was a perfect place for Steve and Lydia to find some peace and relax, but it was short lived. In 1946, after the war, Steve insisted that a gate be installed for his and other mountain dwellers privacy, but the US Forest Service refused. the fight became so bad, that the local ranger resigned, still refusing to install the gate. By 1953 Steve’s health made the trips hard, so he sold the property to Desert Center Service and Supply for one dollar. In 1965 Charles Kaplan purchased the property and four years later traded it to the US Forest Service.
The twisting trek up is nearly eight miles long with some breathtaking vista’s and on a good day you can see Mexico, according to Steve, the storyteller.. You can make the trip without a four wheel vehicle, but we ALWAYS recommend it, it’s better to have it and not need it. The road is smooth in spots and a little rough in others, and the turn off to the cabin is where four wheeling is preferred. Along the way, be sure to check out the incredible views and messages left by Steve in a rock and two trees. These warnings were written by Steve after a couple of fires back in 1945 and 46, and it’s GREAT that they are still there today. Sadly not much of the cabin is left today due to a fire, the large fireplace is the only thing that remains, but it is still worth the drive, the views are incredible! It was also make for a great place to camp overnight…
To get to the cabin, I would suggest you Google Pinyon Pines Ca. first to see where it is to you. The exit is off Highway 74 and would be approximately 2.78 miles SW from Pinyon Pines, or about 5 miles east of the 371/74 interchange. From there it is about eight miles to the cabin.
Once again we remind you that a high clearance or four wheel vehicle is highly recommended!!