Jacumba (pronounced "ha-cum-ba") Hot Springs is located along the original Highway 80, that was first a horse and wagon trail and also along the San Diego-Arizona Railroad tracks. It wasn't until 1927 that the California highway department graded and laid a twenty-foot pavement from the top of Mountain Springs Grade to the bottom of the desert floor, a nearly 3000 feet descent. Today, as people cruise up and down the mountains on Interstate 8 they can still see some portions of the 1927 pavement. The original route was part of the Lee Highway and was the only national cross-country route designated as ending in San Diego. It drew traffic from New York into Washington D.C., and along a southern, all weather route. Today some 400 people live in Jacumba. What now appears a quiet high desert retreat was once a thriving spa. In the 1920s and ‘30s the community thrived, its therapeutic hot springs a Mecca for Hollywood celebrities and wealthy Imperial Valley growers. Clark Gable is said to have made Jacumba famous by frequenting its spa. On weekends at the local airport you’ll find sail planes being towed aloft to catch the thermals, with pilots who savor the solitude and challenge of powerless flight. During the week the airport is quiet, inhabited by hawks and their prey. Old U.S. Highway 80 bisects the beautiful town which is located at a elevation of 2800' amongst the mountain peaks. The landmark Jacumba Hotel was destroyed by a fire and was torn down in 1991. But walking through town on a sunny day you get the sense of history. The old buildings, tumbleweeds and dry air give the imagination room to wander, to sense what was.
Mountain Sage Market
Mountain Sage Market, located at 44475 Old Highway 80, Jacumba Hot Springs, CA 91934 provides service to it’s customers in the category of Grocery or Supermarket
The Love Shack
Easily the most iconic building in Jacumba, it sits perched up on a rock pile just south of town. Its undergoing a process of rehabilitation, which will probably take several years. The living room has an almost-level boulder for a floor. An indoor pool needs a lot of work, but will be nice when its completed.
The Desert View Tower and Boulder Park, California Historical Monument #939, has a long history. It has been a way station for travelers East and West for centuries, and you may find in the rocks many signs left of their passage (ask about the Yoni yonee). The 1880’s saw Easterners begin to move into the area and use these trails. Still visible below the Tower is the old stage station at Mountain Springs. The original road (barely visible) required an ox team to assist the wagons and coaches up the hill.
Around 1900 saw the first road complete by the Tower. We have a picture of at least one of the opening days of the “new” road – seems like all of San Diego came in their Model A’s. The road continued down below at least partly on sections of the “Old Plank Road.” The wood in the Tower was salvaged from the old road. The Desert Tower was built by the 1900 road builders. You can see sections of the old road below the Tower, broken by the Interstate highway in 1965. Usually the interstates stayed away from the older roads that had homes and businesses, but in this case the cut below the Tower is the only possible way through the pass, so they blasted right on through the old road to build the new interstate.
In 1947, Dennis Newman bought the Tower from the Vaughns. He added the round lower floor to the Tower in 1950, which made it much as you see it today. It is now the last functioning roadside attraction on the San Diego to Yuma corridor.
Ben Schultz, a native San Diegan, first visited the Tower when he was four years old. He bought the Tower from Jane Knapp in 2002.
Coyote's Flying Saucer
If you happen to find yourself cruising along California's Interstate 8, don't be surprised if you stumble onto a fleet of silver spaceships grounded by the highway. No, you didn't just find yourself in the midst of the latest UFO Crash Site, you've just discovered the state's only UFO scrapyard: Coyote's Flying Saucer Retrieval and Repair.
The unconvential repair service is run by a guy named Coyote, and while you might be tempted to think that his fleet of slying saucers are just for show, he'll happy prove you wrong. That's right, these things run. Unfortunately, while they can go about as fast a golf cart, they don't exactly fly. Rather than pilot the saucers through the expanses of space and time, Coyote opts to buzz them around local festivals like Burning Man, where there's no shortage of alien creatures.
Around Jacumba Hot Sprints, Coyote and his UFO repair service are local legends, with just about everyone having a story about his wild conspiracy theories and drive-in movie nights (he projects old movies on a big "asteroid" the aliens "dropped off" for him).