Heading west from Mexicali, at around Km. 44, the highway climbs the steep Juárez escarpment to the town of La Rumorosa. Named for the whispering winds that blow by the 1,275-meter pass, the village is populated with the summer homes of Mexicali and Tijuana residents.
The old highway was infamous for the number of fatal accidents. After the old road was closed, it was used in the filming of a James Bond movie. La Rumorosa’s most famous resident might be El Diablito (Little Devil).
He is a small red figure painted in a cave in the nearby El Vallecito. Only on December 21, the winter solstice, a ray of sunlight illuminates the figure. For tours of El Vallecito and La Rumorosa, contact Rupestres (cell tel. 686/158-9921, explorandobajacalifornia [at] hotmail [dot] com, US$60).
Museo Campo Alaska
With the completion of the paved highway between Tijuana and Mexicali in 1916, Mexicali became instantly connected to the rest of the state of Baja California. In 1923–1929, then-governor Abelardo L. Rodriguez built a massive stone garrison at Campo Alaska along the highway, to serve as summer offices for the state government in the town of Campo Alaska.
Today the former federal quarters hold Museo Campo Alaska (tel. 686/552-8279, www.inah.gob.mx, 10 A.M.–4 P.M. Wed.–Sun.), a small museum that documents the history of the indigenous people of the area.
At Km. 73, west of La Rumorsa, there is a graded dirt road that leads 63 kilometers to Laguna Hanson (elev. 5,000 feet) in the Parque Nacional Constitución de 1857. The second half of the road is for high-clearance vehicles only; four-wheel drive is recommended. The park is more easily approached via Mexico 3, southeast of Ensenada.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition