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Panhe was one of the largest Acjachemen villages, and is over 8,000 years old and a current sacred, ceremonial, cultural, and burial site for the Acjachemen people. The site of Panhe, is now within San Onofre State Beach, San Diego County, California, located at the confluence of San Mateo Creek and Cristianitos Canyon, approximately 3.7 miles (6.0 km) upstream from the Pacific Ocean.[1] [2] The Acjachemen people fished in San Mateo Creek's extensive freshwater marshes, and practiced a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The village of Panhe is estimated to have had a population of 300 or so before the first Spanish explorers came to the area, and is still a sacred site for the Acjachemen people.[3]

Panhe was nearly destroyed by a planned toll road construction that was meant to connect to Interstate 5, but this was stopped by a coalition of Acjachemen people, environmentalists, and surfer groups.[4]

Panhe is the site of the first baptism in California, and in 1769 saw the first close contact between Spanish explorers, Catholic missionaries, and the Acjachemen people.

There is a yearly festival held at the site by the Acjachemen people to honor their ancestors and to partake in their culture together.[5]

The United Coalition to Protect Panhe and The City Project advocate for the preservation of the site.[6]


  1. ^ "San Mateo Creek Watershed Profile". Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project. Archived from the original on 2009-10-11. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
  2. ^ "San Mateo Creek: An Overview" (PDF). San Mateo Creek Conservancy. Retrieved 2013-04-04.
  3. ^ Donaldson, Milford Wayne (February 6, 2008). "Testimony regarding the Consistency Certification for the Foothill South Toll Road" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-09-20.
  4. ^ Weikel, Dan (November 10, 2016). "Settlement ends the threat of a toll road through San Onofre State Beach". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on March 12, 2019. Retrieved November 12, 2021.
  5. ^ "Panhe Lives On: Annual Festival Celebrates Culture, History of Native People". San Clemente Times. 2019-03-21. Retrieved 2021-11-12.
  6. ^ Save San Onofre and Native American Sacred Site Panhe

Coordinates: 33°23′50″N 117°35′27″W / 33.39722°N 117.59083°W / 33.39722; -117.59083