One of the most beautiful spots on Interstate 8 in San Diego County the trip through Walker Canyon, just northwest of Jacumba in the southwest corner of San Diego County.

One of the builders described it as “isolated from the rest of the world,” wrote Earl Rodgers.

“We’re building a freeway down Walker Canyon now. It’s a strange, harsh, remote region where mountain and desert come together in a kind of mortal combat. A faulted, folded jumble of weathered rocks, of hardy oaks, of juniper, mesquite, and barrel cactus,” Rogers wrote in the in the July-August 1966 edition of California Highways and Public Works magazine.

Dotted line is Walker Canyon construction. Courtesy Caltrans.
Dotted line is Walker Canyon construction. Courtesy Caltrans.

Rogers goes on to talk about the construction site — it wouldn’t be finished for more than a year — but also what drivers through the area can see today on the slopes of the freeway, now open for more than 45 years.

“On nearby slopes, wildflowers bloom after spring rains, and the pale lavender manzanita blossoms are alive with wild honeybees,” he wrote. “Boulders big as a house have been sculptured by the wind into grotesque shapes. If you’re lucky you may see bighorn sheep, though they’re timid creatures and don’t often show themselves to humans.”

It’s one of my favorite drives. Check out more of Rogers’ story on It’s on Page 10 of the July-August 1966 issue. My Towering Old Highway will get you there today, otherwise head east on Interstate 8; Walker Canyon is between the Ribbonwood Road and Jacumba exits.


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