- A day of driving U.S. 80 in California will show you sandy deserts, agricultural valleys, boulder-covered canyons, pine and oak scrub forests, chaparral, delightful small towns and
a world-renowned urban coastal city.
- The trip in California begins after crossing the historic 1915 Ocean-to-Ocean Highway truss bridge in Yuma, Arizona. The first towns on the California side are Winterhaven, Holtville, El Centro, and Ocotillo.
- You will pass through In-Ko-Pah Gorge, Myer Creek, pass the sites of the former Mountain Springs trail stop, Desert View Tower, then cross over to the east side of the freeway and travel southwest to one of our closest neighbors, Jacumba. In the old days Jacumba was a major highway stop with the rich and famous frequently visiting the town to enjoy the hot springs and eat at the Barbara Worth Café.
- After crossing over the old San Diego and Arizona Railway tracks and traveling a few miles you will come to Bankhead Springs and then you will turn west into the town of Boulevard. A short, narrow loop of original concrete road will take you past the old Mistletoe Lodge and will show you what the road was like when it was originally built in 1915. As you pass through Boulevard you will also pass a Mexican restaurant on your left that was once the post office. Also on the left is the beginning of California Highway 94 to Campo
- Next you will pass Live Oak Springs, La Posta Ranch, La Posta, Boulder Oaks Campground, the ghost town of Buckman Springs and then, at Laguna Junction, you cross the freeway and head west to Pine Valley, complete with a lovely little park in the center of town. Heading west you’ll cross a 1928 bridge out of town.
- The town of Guatay is next, followed by the road to Julian, and the road to Descanso at Descanso Junction. Just before reaching Wildwood Glen Lane you will again be able to see an old section of the original concrete road. Continue east and you’ll cross the old Terrinitos bridge.
- At this point you’ll have to reenter the I-8 for the last time. Head west and take the East Willows Road exit. You’re now traveling through the Viejas Indian Reservation and the little residential community of The Willows before entering Alpine.
- In town the road splits. The main later route of U.S. 80 heads west on Alpine Blvd. The old auto trail route, used by 80 in the 1920s went along Arnold Way.
- U.S. 80 goes back to the north side of the freeway, then to the south again. From this point, the early road wound around quite a bit, but the later road follows its current path west to Lake Jennings Park Road.
- On the other side of the freeway, U.S.80 follows I-8 business loop into El Cajon and straight onto Main Street in El Cajon. As you approach I-8 you can either enter the freeway west to La Mesa, or take a winding path that will let you enter La Mesa straight onto old 80. Most of the road was buried by the freeway in this section.
- Beyond La Mesa, 80 passes through areas once called La Mesa Townsite and East San Diego. At Euclid, the road went south to University until 1926. From here it traveled all the way into Hillcrest and down 4th into downtown. The old auto trails had their end at Horton Plaza park in front of the U.S. Grant Hotel. You can still visit the Pacific Milestone, and its tribute to the Lee Highway, the Old Spanish Trail, and Ed Fletcher in the park. There’s also a plaque marking the end of the Jefferson Davis Highway, and a bell marking the path of California’s El Camino Real. The little park is really a must see for old road enthusiasts.