Hidden San Diego

Mountain Meadows Ghost Town

no trespassing zone




 Mountain Meadows Ghost town

This spot is part of our Member's section


Article by Allison Garton:

In the most recent few years, the sprawling ranch on the east side of Jacumba was an organic farm that created an eye gnat nuisance. Alan Bornt leased the land from the Jacumba Valley Ranch development project and started growing organic spinach and lettuce. Gnats quickly took over and made living in Jacumba difficult for everyone, especially youngsters and pets. County-ordered preventative measures were put in place, but the gnats continued to be problematic. When the water started to run low, it was time to leave. Residents were joyous when Bornt Farms ceased operations in the summer of 2012. Fields were sprayed with pesticides and left empty... as were the barns, houses, silos, stalls, and coops. 

The various outbuildings and wrecked heaps found around the property tell a much older story than an organic farm. In the late 1920s, the Mountain Meadows Dairy Farm began raising happy California cows in the Jacumba Valley. Bill Ketchum purchased and took over operations in the 1940s and it became known as Ketchum Ranch. He and his wife raised four children, farmed and tended cattle. 

Developers picked up the property in the 1990s after the Ketchum children had grown and moved away. The Ketchum Ranch and Jacumba Valley Ranch projects had hopes of building a 1,000 to 2,000 home subdivision with a golf course, stables and other amenities. Golf in Jacumba? It may sound odd, but Jacumba Hot Springs once attracted Hollywood actors Clark Gable and Marlene Dietrich and the town has hoped for a resurgence of tourism after being bypassed by the 8 in the late 1960s. 

The 1990s suburban development fell flat, and farming began again. The wheels of time continue to turn in the back country. Right now, the land lies still. The water supply is very low. Houses, barns, tanks and silos are empty. Farm it? Or develop it? Who gets to keep the pink Cadillac in the barn and the 1927 Buick in the field? And how in the hell did a boat get inside that building? 


Personal Experience: "Is that an abandoned commune back there?  I swear it looked abandoned, turn back!" Good thing we did because this area had a LOT to explore, making us ponder what the heck this place was used for!  We concluded that it was some type of farm at one point and that multiple families had lived on the land.  That all has now been confirmed and it really is heart-breaking that it all got shut down because of eye gnats.  I wonder how organic farms battle gnat issues?  I wish they could have remedied the problem instead of this happening to it.

Either or, it's a fun place to explore.  Be safe!  There were two run-down homes that we didn't enter.  I cannot speak if people live there or not but there was something about them that gave off the vibe that people may be living there still.  Nobody came out when we were exploring and there are no private property signs.


 Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town


Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

My feeble stab at selfies.  This was meant to be a joke:

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

Mountain Meadows Ghost town

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