Scheduled Hikes for 2009

   Sumgglers Cave - Valley of the Moon - Amythest Mine

Date:   March 15, 2009  09:00 AM -  05:00 PM
Hike Group:   San Diego Trail Tramps
Info. URL:   None
Location:   Southeast corner of San Diego County, near Jacumba

 Description:  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 8:45 am to arrange carpools, then depart at 9 am sharp. The drive out to the hike area is about 90 minutes. Our first stop will be at the Desert View Tower, just off the I-8 freeway in Jacumba. Take I-8 East from San Diego, exit Interstate 8 at the In-Ko-Pah Park Road offramp. Turn left under the freeway, and right on the old highway, which ends at the tower.

The owner, Ben Shultz (one of our members), has invited all hikers to stop by the Desert View Tower anytime they’re on their way to/from Anza Borrego Desert State Park. From the top of the tower there's a stunning panoramic view of the desert which stretches below to the east and north. Be sure to show your support and appreciation to Ben with a purchase or two from his eclectic collection of souviners. :^) (See below for info. on camping out at the Tower the day before this hike.)

After our visit to the Tower, we'll carpool back under the freeway and turn right onto the frontage road (Old Highway 80), then 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 about 800' 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 Tower about 10:30 and then at the parking turnout area about 11:15, then start hiking by 11:30 am.  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.

A campout is planned at the Desert View Tower the day/night before our Sunday hike to Smuggler's Cave/Valley of the Moon. Dan has invited us to come out on Saturday and spend the night in the Tower. A pizza-and-beer potluck party is in the works, and curling up in front of the stone fireplace in the middle of the Tower is first come, first served. ;^) For more details and to sign up for it, please contact the Cyberhiker @ sbcglobal. net ASAP.