Carmel Valley lies east of I-5 and Del Mar on the northern edge of the City of San Diego. The earliest settlers were California Indians who left artifacts and metates along the Carmel Creek bed. A Spanish soldier named the area Cordero; early American settlers named other areas such as McGonigle Canyon after themselves.
The Butterfield stage and pony express system ran along what is now El Camino Real. In 1905, a group of Carmelite nuns built a monastery and dairy in the area changing its name again. The area was agricultural and devoted to horse farms until the mid-1970s.