Barrett Junction Cafe & Mercantile

Life on Highway 94: Campo

In Campo, 25 feet from the Mexican border, California’s Old West roots remain  

Border View in Campo CA

In Campo, Calif., a unique view of the metal wall separating the United States and Mexico can be seen during a weekend ride on the San Diego and Arizona Railway, in restored cars. (Laura Randall/For The Washington Post)

The Pacific Crest Trail begins on a barren hill about 25 feet from the U.S.Mexican border.  Three mini obelisks mark the spot, reminding hikers that it is 2,397 miles to the trail’s northern end, while a corrugated metal wall separating the two countries stretches, apparently endlessly, on either side.

From March to May every year, as many as 50 hikers a day pass through the nearby town of Campo, Calif., on their way to the trail famously portrayed in Cheryl Strayed’s bestseller “Wild.” Some pitch tents behind the Gaskill  Brothers Stone Store Museum, a mile north of the trail-head, but most linger only long enough to snap photos in front of the marker and sign the trail register, eager to begin their long walk north.

Few realize that Campo and Highway 94, the east-west road that intersects it, have a rich history that predates the trail and invites lingering for a day or two. The Buffalo Soldiers, an African American cavalry regiment of the Army, patrolled this rough border terrain during World War II. Half a century earlier, bands of horse thieves linked to Tiburcio Vásquez plotted raids amid the chaparral spiked hillsides, while post Civil War settlers made their way to San Diego from Texas and points east on Highway 94 (then called Campo Road).   Read More

This is one of several stories told about the life along Highway 94, also known as SR-94 and Campo  Rd.  Start at the junction of where Campo Rd becomes Jamacha Rd and to the left is Highway 94.  Confused?  Check the map.  Follow it out into the Back Country.

This path will take you through Steel Canyon, Jamul, Dulzura, Barrett Junction, Potrero and into Campo, on to Boulevard and eventually Jacumba where the 94 turns into Old Highway 8.

There are many places to stop on this path to hang out, visit, learn more about the history of the old way of life.  There are a few of the homesteading families left in the back country.

The Cafe has a couple of the books published about the history surrounding this area of San Diego County.

Stop in for lunch, dinner, or breakfast on the weekend.

See you soon.  Directions and hours here.


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