Is there really gold buried in the Cahuenga Pass?


As the legend goes, in 1865 a ranch hand named Diego Moreno stole a fortune in gold and jewels from supporters of Mexican president Benito Juárez. Moreno stopped for a drink at a tavern along the Cahuenga Pass and had a premonition that if he brought the treasure into L.A., he’d be struck dead. So he reportedly buried it next to an ash tree. After making his descent into the pueblo, he fell sick and died, but not before disclosing the whereabouts of his stash to a friend, who reached the tree just before he, too, dropped dead. The story got out, and scavengers have been looking ever since. An expedition in 1939 unearthed a deteriorated watch and an 1860 penny, not the 100 gold doubloons and “three or four pint cups of diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and pearls” described by Moreno. That’s enough bling to fuel two Oscar nights!

Illustration by Jason Schneider