The legend of Castle Rock

There is an incredibly romantic and at the same time unbelievably tragic story told about Castle Rock. Before white man discovered the Big Bear Valley, it was the summer

The Indian princess sits atop Castle Rock awaiting her true love.
The Indian princess sits atop Castle Rock awaiting her true love.

home of the Serrano Indian. They called Big Bear, “Yuhaviat,” which translates to “Place in the Pines.”

The legend says that one of the most beautiful young maidens of the tribe, a princess-like young woman whose name was Wyhnemah, was sought after by all the young men. However, Wyhnemah had eyes for only one young man, a hunter named Pahwek.

They fell and love: a love so deep that it was hard for them to be apart for even a moment. Yet, Pahwek had a job, and that was to help bring food to the village.

He would leave to hunt, and Wyhnemah, unable to do anything but dream of her love, would sneak away from the village, climb to the very pinnacle of Castle Rock and peer about, desperately searching for sign that her love was returning. When she could see him off in the distance, she would quickly climb off the peak, run to her love and throw herself into his arms.

Then came the day Pahwek did not return. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months, all with no sign of Pahwek.

With time, Wyhnemah knew he was not to return. Driven mad with grief, she climbed to the top of Castle Rock to search for him one last time. For hours she searched the horizon, hoping against hope that she would finally see his tall frame loping along the trail as she had so many times before.


Finally, she looked to the sky. She knew where her love was, he had gone on to live with the spirits of his ancestors.

Wyhnemah closed her eyes, eyes full of tears brought on by pain, desperation and loss, and knowing there was but one way to ever again be with her love, she stepped off the top of Castle Rock, forever joining the only man she could ever love.