Home Today Desert Magic Highway Journey: San Diego to Phoenix

Desert Magic Highway Journey: San Diego to Phoenix



In accordance with the Governor of California’s shelter in place order, the Bureau of Land Administration has briefly closed some amenities and areas at this web site till additional discover. For a listing of closures, go to the COVID-19 Update page.

Nearly all of your drive shall be alongside Interstate Eight East, which can take you thru a wide range of desert landscapes. Essentially the most mesmerizing of which could simply be the Imperial Sand Dunes, the most important mass of sand dunes within the state. Fashioned by windblown sands of historical Lake Cahuilla, the dune system extends for greater than 40 miles and the dunes attain heights of 300 toes above the desert flooring.

Whereas many of the off-highway autos motion takes place within the recreation space, the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness is a tranquil, 26,000-acre wilderness the place guests are welcome to stroll or trip horses (because it’s closed to all autos and mechanized use). Go to the website for extra info.

Admission: Permits will not be required for short-term visitation areas (posted), together with Osborne Overlook, the Plank Highway Cultural Useful resource Website, the Buttercup and Cahuilla Ranger Stations. Nevertheless, season and weekly permits for entry to recreation areas will be bought here.

Instructions: Entry to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Space is greatest made alongside Freeway 78, situated East of Brawley, California, or alongside I-Eight West of Yuma. 

Contact: 760-337-4400


Though most refuge lands and outside areas have remained open for the general public to get pleasure from, guests are inspired to take the precautions outlined here.

Admittedly, this cease is a pair hours out of the best way, however Kofa Wildlife Refuge is a stroll on the wild facet that’s definitely worth the drive. Because the second-largest wilderness space in Arizona (666,640 whole acres), 80% of refuge was designated as wilderness beneath the Arizona Desert Wilderness Act of 1990. This designation performs an vital function in making certain this desert panorama and its inhabitants are protected for future generations.

The refuge – residence to quite a few amphibians and reptiles, a wide range of birds and desert mammals – is a sanctuary for such actions as wildlife watching and pictures, mountain climbing, tenting and restricted looking. The Customer Heart is open from Eight a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday by Friday (closed on all federal holidays). Further info for planning your go to will be discovered on the website.

Admission: Free

Instructions: The refuge is situated 40 miles north of Yuma, on the east facet of State Freeway 95. The lat/lengthy for the King Valley entrance is 33.24977, -114.21724.

Contact: 928-783-7861


Nothing says Wild, Wild West like a jail that first housed inmates again in 1876 (pre-dating Arizona’s statehood by 36 years). The Yuma Territorial Jail was operational for the next 33 years and its amenities have been subsequently used as a highschool (1910-1914), the County Hospital (1914-1923) and by the Veterans of Overseas Wars, as their clubhouse (till 1960).

The Yuma Territorial Jail State Historic Park opened to the general public on a restricted foundation on January 1, 1961, and has since appeared in a wide range of movies, together with “3:10 To Yuma,” in addition to an episode of “Ghost Hunters.”

In the present day, you’ll discover the unique cellblocks, water tank, guard tower, sally port (entrance gate), library room, the darkish cell, caliche hill, new yard and cells. Whereas interpretive panels are located all through the historic web site for self excursions, we advocate first stopping within the customer heart to view the introductory exhibit, video presentation, images and artifacts.

Instructions: From I-Eight East, take S Redondo Heart Drive (exit 1) and observe to 100 Prison Hill Road, Yuma.

Admission: Ages 14 and up, $8; ages 7-13, $4; ages 6 and beneath, free

Hours: 9 a.m. to five p.m. (reveals shut at 4:30 p.m.) Please word that the positioning is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays from June to September.

Contact: 928-783-4771


Whereas this lesser-known landmark is closed and solely viewable from a secure distance, it’s properly definitely worth the 7-mile detour. In-built 1929 by John Roebling (the architect credited with the Golden Gate Bridge – you may miss the resemblance), this 800-foot-long suspension bridge as soon as spanned the Gila River. In 1968, the development of a dam upstream diverted the river – in addition to the freeway – and left the bridge the place you see it right this moment. Moreover, the bridge was named in honor of Henry Harrison McPhaul, who is called the one Yuma resident to develop into an Arizona Ranger.

Admission: Free

Hours: Daylight (no further lighting)

Instructions: From I-8, take exit 12. Head north on Fortuna Highway for two miles, then north on US 95 for rather less than 5 miles and it is possible for you to to identify the bridges towers off to the west of the freeway.


Know for, properly, dates, Dateland was established within the early 1920s as a water cease alongside the railroad traces. Through the 1940s, this small city was the positioning for 2 of Normal Patton’s desert coaching camps: Camp Horn and Camp Hyder. In the present day, this handy cease has blossomed right into a date mecca that is residence to a journey heart, RV park, gardens and numerous date-inspired companies that embody a bakery, present store, cafe and extra. Professional tip: Do not go away right here with out making an attempt the world-famous date shake (simply belief us on this one).

Hours: Open 24 hours. the Date Bakery is open from  Eight a.m. to 9 p.m. each day

Instructions: From I-Eight E, take exit 67. The Dateland Journey Heart is situated at 1737 S. Ave. 64 E, Dateland.

Contact: 928-454-2772


The Bureau of Land Administration is adhering to steerage from the CDC in addition to native and state well being authorities to reduce the chance of COVID-19 transmission. Additional details can be found here.

The Painted Rock Petroglyph Website and Campground is residence to tons of of symbolic and creative rock etchings that have been created centuries in the past by prehistoric peoples. Throughout the campground, there are a number of historic trails that function interpretive panels for self-guided exploring. The Juan Bautista de Anza Nationwide Historic Path, The Butterfield Overland Stage Route and the Mormon Battalion Path are three trails that performed outstanding roles within the historical past of Arizona and the American West.

In a single day tenting is allowed on the adjoining Painted Rock Petroglyph Campground. The campground has picnic tables, grills, metal hearth rings and a vault bathroom. No potable water is on the market.

Admission: $2 per car for day use; $Eight per car, per evening for tenting

Instructions: Exit I-Eight at Painted Rock Dam Highway/exit 102, roughly 12.5 miles west of Gila Bend. Journey north on Painted Rocks Dam Highway for 10.7 miles to Rocky Level Highway and head west for 0.6 miles to 46101 Rocky Point Road, Gila Bend.

Contact: 623-580-5500


As of Might 11, House Age Restaurant reopened in accordance with the Governor of Arizona’s social distancing tips (restricted seating and takeout obtainable).

“House of the friendliest aliens (and people),” this iconic outer space-themed restaurant serves up American-style diner eats and an out-of-this-world aesthetic. The enormous photo voltaic system-inspired signal beckons extraterrestrial lovers, classic lovers, inquisitive Instagrammers and hungry vacationers alike.

If sitting at a sales space for lunch isn’t sufficient to curb your curiosity (professional tip: peep some extra of the historical past on the again of your menu), Stovall’s Space Age Lodge remains to be operational beneath the super-sized UFO adjoining to the restaurant. And also you gained’t need to miss the present store!

Each the lodge and the restaurant have been created by Al Stovall, a neighborhood who owned a plastics manufacturing unit that produced the customized space-age decorations … making “his motel the closet factor to The Jetsons this facet of the 23rd century.”

Hours: The restaurant is open each day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Instructions: Take I-Eight till it turns into Pima Road, the restaurant and lodge shall be on the fitting (401 Pima St., Gila Bend) simply earlier than I-85 N (to Phoenix).

Contact: 928-683-2761