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  • Lindsey Johnston

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...Ryan Ranch

In 1898 miners Jepp and Tom Ryan decided to make their home in the Joshua Tree desert. They built an adobe house and a covered well in the shadow of Ryan Mountain. A good portion of the house still remains today. The well and an outbuilding are also still standing as well as the remains of the pump system that brought the well water to the house. This hike is also relatively short so if you don't have much time, but want to see some of the history of Joshua Tree it's a good option. It's close to Ryan campground if you're camping in the park.

The signs near the house give a good description of the site:

"...you'll find decaying adobe brick walls of the ranch house and bunkhouse. Scattered about, you'll fund a collapsed windmill, a stone-covered well, several graves, and machinery. Time, fire, and vandals reduced the site to its present condition."


Most of the places in Joshua Tree are connected to each other by several key players. To bring things back around to the Lost Horse Mine post Jepp and Tom Ryan owned Lost Horse Mine with their brother Matt and prospector Johnny Lang. The ranch supported the mine by pumping water 3.5 miles to the mine, processing gold and silver ore, and serving as the mining office. The cattle raised on the ranch helped feed the family and workers. During the gold boom, 60 people lived at the ranch and mine. By 1908, the mining operation was pretty much shut down and the Ryans transitioned to full-time ranchers. (This also comes from the signs at the site.)

The adobe house is also known as the "gold brick house" due to the traces of gold contained in the material they used to make the adobe. Ryan Ranch is another good sunset viewing location.

We were tight on time, but if you walk a little ways away from the ranch you can see some old graves and Native American petroglyphs.

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