||We're headed to Smuggler's Cave, an old hideout of bandits and smugglers, off of I-8 East, just past the San Diego County/Imperial County line, near the Mexican Border. We'll also hike in thru Valley of the Moon, to an abandoned amythest mine. As usual, we'll meet in Hillcrest at 9 am to arrange carpools. The drive out to the hike area is about 90 minutes. Exit Interstate 8 at In-Ko-Pah Park Road. It's a few miles east of Jacumba, but before the freeway drops down into the desert. When you leave the freeway you turn right onto the frontage road (Old Highway 80), and drive about 500 feet to where there is an information panel on the left, with plenty of parking at a large turnout.
The road up the ridge actually parallels the highway for a short distance, making it look like a deadend powerline access is the "real" road. The hike up the ridge gains several hundred feet and can be quite steep in places. It can get very windy and cold out there, or it could be warm. Be prepared either way, with appropriate clothing and water. We'll plan to meet at the parking turnout area out there about 10:30, then start hiking between 10:45-11:00. Don't forget your wallets with ID's, etc., just in case some hunky Border Patrol officers in uniform stop us along the trail.......
(Check the Maps page of this website for more directions and maps to print out.) The abandoned amythest mine has a number of open tunnels into the mountainside (bring flashlights, but beware of bats and other critters that may be lurking inside). For safety, watch your step around loose rock and explore together in small groups.
For those who want more info. on the area, check out Schad's book in Area D-14: Jacumba Mountains, Trip 1: Blue Angels Peak and Trip 2: Valley of the Moon. In the '98 edition, they're on pp. 350-352. Be sure to check out the hike photos online from our exploration of the same area two years ago.