Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Ramble amid giant boulders and high-desert vegetation at Valley of the Moon in the Jacumba Mountains.

Strolling through the aptly named Valley of the Moon, you might think that a square-mile patch of Joshua Tree National Park has been magically transported there -- minus, of course, the famous Joshua trees. Ponderous outcrops of granitic rock, seamed with horizontal and vertical cracks, ring the valley.

Valley of the Moon lies just north of the Mexican border in the Jacumba Mountains, east of Jacumba. From downtown San Diego, drive east on Interstate 8 for 70 miles and exit at In-Ko-Pah Park Road (this is along the San Diego/Imperial County line, and just short of where the eastbound I-8 lanes take a precipitous plunge toward the desert floor). Turn right at the stop sign and continue southwest 0.2 mile on a frontage road to a dirt road on the left. Using a high-clearance vehicle, you should be able to drive all the way to Valley of the Moon, about 3 miles, negotiating bumps and ruts most of the way. There's a large turnout 0.8 mile up the road for those unwilling to tackle the rougher sections farther on. Those with low-slung passenger cars should hoof it all the way up the dirt road. Another option is to use a mountain bike the entire distance.

Whether by car, by foot, or by bike, your route takes you generally southeast over rocky hill and dale. Spur roads diverge left and then right. The first road branching left leads to Smuggler's Cave, once a haven of bandits and smugglers, and more recently the target of graffiti artists. The spur road on the right leads toward a prominent, stony peak labeled Blue Angels on topographic maps, and border marker #231, part of the string of 258 international boundary markers along the Mexican border between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Eventually, by staying on the main road, you'll travel southeast to the base of a peaklet dubbed Tahe (which contains an abandoned amethyst mine) and veer east into Valley of the Moon. The valley's sandy floor is dotted with spiky clumps of Mojave yucca, spiny catclaw bushes, clumps of Mormon tea (used by early pioneers to brew a potent beverage), and buckwheat bushes. Old jeep roads meander amid the statuesque boulder heaps on the valley's south side. Photographers should be here early or late in the day, when the sun bathes the stone battlements in warm light and crisp shadows march across the valley.

The Valley of the Moon area is open to camping and lies within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, El Centro Resource Area (phone 760-337-4400). Be aware that March is the windiest month in the high desert, and wind gusts can carry away any tent not securely staked to the ground.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Kanye West for president

Will San Diego voters be lining up at the polls?

Strolling through the aptly named Valley of the Moon, you might think that a square-mile patch of Joshua Tree National Park has been magically transported there -- minus, of course, the famous Joshua trees. Ponderous outcrops of granitic rock, seamed with horizontal and vertical cracks, ring the valley.

Valley of the Moon lies just north of the Mexican border in the Jacumba Mountains, east of Jacumba. From downtown San Diego, drive east on Interstate 8 for 70 miles and exit at In-Ko-Pah Park Road (this is along the San Diego/Imperial County line, and just short of where the eastbound I-8 lanes take a precipitous plunge toward the desert floor). Turn right at the stop sign and continue southwest 0.2 mile on a frontage road to a dirt road on the left. Using a high-clearance vehicle, you should be able to drive all the way to Valley of the Moon, about 3 miles, negotiating bumps and ruts most of the way. There's a large turnout 0.8 mile up the road for those unwilling to tackle the rougher sections farther on. Those with low-slung passenger cars should hoof it all the way up the dirt road. Another option is to use a mountain bike the entire distance.

Whether by car, by foot, or by bike, your route takes you generally southeast over rocky hill and dale. Spur roads diverge left and then right. The first road branching left leads to Smuggler's Cave, once a haven of bandits and smugglers, and more recently the target of graffiti artists. The spur road on the right leads toward a prominent, stony peak labeled Blue Angels on topographic maps, and border marker #231, part of the string of 258 international boundary markers along the Mexican border between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Eventually, by staying on the main road, you'll travel southeast to the base of a peaklet dubbed Tahe (which contains an abandoned amethyst mine) and veer east into Valley of the Moon. The valley's sandy floor is dotted with spiky clumps of Mojave yucca, spiny catclaw bushes, clumps of Mormon tea (used by early pioneers to brew a potent beverage), and buckwheat bushes. Old jeep roads meander amid the statuesque boulder heaps on the valley's south side. Photographers should be here early or late in the day, when the sun bathes the stone battlements in warm light and crisp shadows march across the valley.

The Valley of the Moon area is open to camping and lies within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, El Centro Resource Area (phone 760-337-4400). Be aware that March is the windiest month in the high desert, and wind gusts can carry away any tent not securely staked to the ground.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Ocean Beach – San Diego's last true neighborhood

Berms, fire spinner, homeless, bully, radicals, Newport Avenue
Next Article

Camila Mendivil: bullied into blogging

The Chula Vista teen makes her fashion statement to inspire others
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close