5 to Try: Roadside Wonders of San Diego’s East County

Cosmic car at Unarius Academy in El Cajon

You might recall my blog awhile back on Quirky Roadside Attractions in San Diego’s East County region. With Memorial Day around the bend, now is the perfect time to map out another adventure to discover some wonderfully fascinating finds in our backcountry. Following are 5 to Try:

Dino-sized greeting at Creation & Earth History Museum

1. Creation and Earth History Museum

Let there be light! The Creation and Earth History Museum in Santee is a showcase of the literal six-day creation of earth, according to the Bible’s book of Genesis. Highlights include stellar displays of planetary development (Day 1), a jungle-like Garden Room with live animal terrariums (Day 6), model of Noah’s Ark (great photo opp), an Ice Age Room and Ancient Civilizations Room with replicas of the Tower of Babel and Rosetta Stone. Admission is free.

Model of UFO spiritual tower at Unarius Academy

2. Unarius Academy of Science

Out of this world! The Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon is a garden-like teaching center featuring cosmic art, a “Power Tower,” Future City Model and Star Center room with murals of Atlantis – illustrating Unariun beliefs in past lives, Tesla technology, lost civilizations and UFOs. The group is known for its 2001 prophecy of spaceships landing in nearby Jamul to form a spiritual tower. Call 619-444-7062 or e-mail uriel@unarius.org to arrange a visit. Did you know: Unarius stands for Universal Articulate Interdimensional Understanding of Science.

Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge in Anza-Borrego Dessert State Park

Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge

3. Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge

Make tracks… to the world’s tallest curved timber railroad trestle, the Goat Canyon Trestle Bridge traversing the steep-walled Carrizo Gorge near Jacumba. It spans 200 feet high and 750 feet long! It’s a hearty hike to the vista point, but well worth it. For those who may not have the hiking boots (or stamina) to make the trek, there’s a 10-foot high model at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (the world’s largest operating model railroad museum) in Balboa Park.

Giant labyrinth at Sacred Rocks Reserve

Giant labyrinth at Sacred Rocks Reserve

4 and 5. California’s Two Largest Labyrinths

A-MAZE-ing! Check out California’s two largest labyrinths at Labyrinth in the Oaks, a private riverfront retreat along the San Diego River headwaters in Julian, and Sacred Rocks Reserve in Boulevard. Both claim to have the largest labyrinths in the state, but technically LITO is biggest at 105 feet in diameter. Sacred Rocks’ maze is still an impressive 100 feet, modeled after the labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France(!). Cost is $8 for a day pass to explore the grounds of Sacred Rocks. Labyrinth in the Oaks is open to overnight guests only.

Happy exploring! 🙂

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Robert Arends

About Robert Arends

I’m a native San Diegan and man of many hats: PR, roadside America traveler/backyard tourist (especially our mountains and Anza-Borrego Desert), photographer (motto: capture the moment!), music fan, sci-fi buff, tiki collector and constant gardener. What would you do on your ideal San Diego day? I would spend the day snorkeling in La Jolla Cove. It’s like swimming in a huge aquarium – Garibaldi fish, lobsters, sea lions, oh my! If you were invisible, where would you go? I’d go surfing in Coronado. I’ve never surfed, but have always wanted to. If I was invisible no one would see me fall (again and again! – LOL). What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity? Walking the Prado in Balboa Park; feels like I’m in Spain. The architecture is amazing!  I also enjoy hiking Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to see the annual wildflowers and exploring the tidepools at Cabrillo National Monument. Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine? Linguine and red wine (wine list, please!), with tableside views of San Diego Bay. Latest music purchases for my iPod/MP3 player are… Magic Man: Paris, Bear Hands: Giants, Capital Cities: I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo, Man Man: Head On, London Grammar: Nightcall (Freemasons Remix). Follow Robert on Twitter @groovestar

3 thoughts on “5 to Try: Roadside Wonders of San Diego’s East County

  1. This is not the best time to be recommending Goat Canyon even with the little disclaimer. With first hand knowledge, I would recommend against anyone going until at least October. It’s around 6 or 7 miles round trip and it’s uphill both ways (no joke.) It’s somewhere around 3500 feet of elevation gain over the trip. Not only is the hike long, there’s a decent amount of climbing involved (some would call it scrambling) and it’s quite treacherous in many places, eg. ascending and descending Goat Canyon near the bridge.

    Lastly, the weather is unpredictable. A few friends and I went in April a few years back and every one of us ran out of water, myself near the halfway point. Forecast was 75-80 Fahrenheit the day before; it was around 30 degrees off….guess which way 🙁

    Here’s a small picture of the first 3rd of my return hike that day: 105 degrees, little to no shade, no water, 1,200+ feet uphill in under a mile, much of it on uneven ground, and a couple hundred feet of very steep terrain spent slipping and crawling up loose gravel and small rocks.

    Skilled hikers (esp. desert variety) may call this a walk in the park – cool, I don’t.

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