As you travel further north on San Gorgonio Ave, you will see the Banning Cemetery on the the left and the Banning Wash on the right. Further up is a turnout witch takes you through Mias Canyon, a small rural community and home to the Sportsman Hunting Club. Once you climb the grade and reach the hairpin turn you are entering the Banning Bench. Peach orchards and large homes dot the the landscape with beautiful views of the mountains. Due to the higher elevation the Bench usually gets snow in the winter.
Banning Wash | Banning Bench
Banning Cemetery, Wash and Mias Canyon
The Banning Wash was a popular hangout in high school for drag racing and parties. After the rainy season the wash offered a cool relief on hot days. I can still remember meeting friends at the cemetery for some good midnight haunting. Mias Canyon is a close-knit rural community nested in the foothills.
Rancher/farmer George Barrett lived in a canyon north and east of Banning and was murdered in 1878, by a neighbor, N. M. Peterson (known by the nickname of "Big Pete"). Peterson was hanged for his crime four months later in San Bernardino but the body of George Barrett needed to be buried somewhere, soon. A group of Banning residents, including Welwood Murray, decided to inter Barrett's body on "a sitely point of hill north of Banning," thus providing the first description of the present-day San Gorgonio Memorial Park. Cemeteries of the San Gorgonio Pass
While there has been some new homes constructed over the years, Banning Bench residents have fought hard to keep the area from being over developed.
The Ellis ranch on the Banning Bench was often visited by Robert Young and John Wayne who enjoyed horseback rides along the trails on the Bench. Famous Celebrities of the San Gorgonio Pass