David K - 4-7-2014 at 10:42 AM

Preserved collection of the original DESERT MAGAZINES online, and FREE to view. 1937-1985

2019 EDIT: Another source to see all of the Desert Magazines:

2017 EDIT to read the old Desert Magazines:

1993 magazine with Baja articles:

Click on the year, the issue, and use your mouse to flip pages by clicking on the edge arrows, or click on the page to enlarge to read and move the mouse to see all the page.

Now, I have been going through them looking for old photos of missions and made a note of any Baja article and what issue it is in. There may be more that I missed (let me know so I can update this list).

The issue, and page article starts:
1937: 0 (2 issues [Nov, Dec], first year of magazine)

1938: 0

JUN., 1939 p44: Brief mention of trip to find blue palms, within 20 miles of border.

1940: 0

NOV., 1941 p32 Paved road project to San Felipe announced:
Bad News for Tuna . . .
CALEXICO Paved road from Mexicali,
B. C, to the sportsman's paradise of San
Felipe on the Gulf of Lower California will
be constructed soon, reports J. J. Lopez, local
delegate to the fourth Pan American
highway and international travel congress
held in Mexico City in September. Contract
has been let and money appropriated by the
Mexican government for building a highspeed
hard-surfaced road from the border
to the game-fishing waters of the gulf.


JAN., 1942 p5: Old Iron Boat on the Colorado
JUN., 1942 p44: Mexican troops to Baja California, new highway proposed.

1943: 0

1944: 0

1945: 0

JAN., 1946 p4: Guadalupe Canyon*
AUG., 1946 p12: Cantu Palms*

FEB., 1947 p19: Palomar Canyon Palms (actually Santa Isabel Canyon)*
JUN., 1947 p21: Palms of Cloudburst Canyon*
DEC., 1947 p13: El Volcan (Onyx spring/cold geyser)

MAY, 1948 p5: San Felipe
JUN., 1948 p5: Tajo Canyon, blue palms*

FEB., 1949 p25: Cave Art

JUN., 1950 p20: Bisnaga Quenched Our Thirst
JUL., 1950 p4: La Mora Canyon*; p8 New Hwy. to San Felipe progress

MAR., 1951 p4: Picacho del Diablo
JUL., 1951 p8: Pai-Pais in Arroyo Agua Caliente*
AUG., 1951 p8: Mescal Roast

JUL., 1952 p5: Tribesmen of Santa Catarina
NOV., 1952 p11: Lost Silver Ledge of Santa Catarina

JAN., 1953 p11: Climbing Diablo from the desert in 1937
APR., 1953 P10: Arroyo Grande, past Pole Line Road

FEB., 1955 p9: Palomar Canyon*
AUG., 1955 p4: Diablo Canyon ("Three Days in Devil's Canyon")
OCT., 1955 p19: Cirio Trees (Boojums)

NOV., 1956 p28: Elephant Trees
DEC., 1956 p12: Cardon Cactus

JUN., 1957 p13: Vacation in Baja
SEP., 1957 p13: Banded Rhyolite in Baja's Pinto Basin

JUN., 1958 p24: Dry Lake Filled with Water (Laguna Salada)

JAN., 1959 p9: Trail to a Baja Salt Spring (near Gonzaga Bay)
FEB., 1959 p10 & 19: Lt. Hardy (He sailed into the unknown Rio Colorado)
APR., 1959 p5: The Palm; p8: Sand Driving
AUG., 1959 p14: To Baja Ca. with a Naturalist (Gonzaga Bay)
OCT., 1959 p6: Bay of Angels (Part 1)
NOV., 1959 p12: Bay of Angels (Part 2)
DEC., 1959 p11: Part 3, Whispering Canyon, Angel Island

JAN., 1960 p38: Isla Encantada (+Gonzaga/Pta. Final)
JUN., 1960 p22: Of Men and the Road (trip to Cabo)
SEP., 1960 p32: A Guide to the Missions
DEC., 1960 p2 & 43: Maps (Kino's and modern)

JAN., 1961 p22: Vermilion Sea Field Station (L.A. Bay)
FEB., 1961 p26: Baja California Whales Part 1 of 3 (Erle Stanley Gardner)
APR., 1961 p10: Part 2 Baja Ca. Whales
MAY, 1961 p18: Part 3 (Exploring the Virgin Beach)

AUG., 1962 p26: A Note on Santa Isabel

JAN., 1963 p10: Baja's Pacific Dumping Yard (Isla Arena)
JUL., 1963: Jack and Choral Pepper buy Desert Magazine
OCT., 1963 p24: Nellie's Lost Gold (Mulege)

FEB., 1964 p14: Ruthless Road to Baja (Missions and Camino Real)
MAY, 1964 p13: Bewitched by Baja (Peppers travel with Erle Stanley Gardner series); p24: Beachcombing on the Bay (San Felipe-Puertecitos)
JUN., 1964 p14: Baja's Pacific Beaches; p26: Bewitched by Baja (series 2)
JUL., 1964 p32: Bewitched by Baja (series 3)
AUG., 1964 p22: Bewitched by Baja (series 4)
SEP., 1964 p25: Bewitched by Baja (series 5)
OCT., 1964 p18: Cruise on a Shrimp Boat
DEC., 1964 p7: Whale of a Trip to Baja

JAN., 1965 p24: Baja's Buried Bones
FEB., 1965 Cover: La Paz Malecon; p19: Maligned Baja (emergency landing at Mission S.L.Gonzaga +)
APR., 1965 p18: Pai Pai Land; p39: New Ferry; p43: Desert Dispensary (Cardon)
JUN., 1965 p16: Just Below the Border
JUL., 1965 p16: Cave Paintings of Baja
NOV., 1965 p16: Ghost Pueblo of Baja (El Alamo)
DEC., 1965 p36: Desert Dispensary (Zalate/Wild Fig)

FEB. '66 p20 Lost Mission of Santa Isabel
APR. '66 p32 Road to Old Socorro (San Pedro Martir)
JUN. '66 p20 Magic of Baja (ESG trip) Part 1
JUL. '66 p20 Magic of Baja (ESG trip) Part 2
AUG. '66 p25 Magic of Baja (ESG trip) Part 3
OCT. '66 p18 Magic of Baja (ESG trip) Part 4
NOV. '66 p12 Magic of Baja (ESG trip) Part 5, Dolores del Norte
DEC. '66 p17 Magic of Baja (ESG trip) Part 6, Guadalupe del Sur

JAN., '67 p26: Santa Isabel story; p29: Sierra Juarez Canyons
JUN. '67 p5 Mission Santa Maria, p18 Blimp Ride

FEB. '68 p34 Nuevo Mazatlan & Puertecitos Hot Springs
SEP. '68 p32 San Felipe rebuilt after chubasco destruction
OCT. '68 p30 Plants and Indians by Nomad BajaLera (Lee de Massey)

JAN. '69 p34 Racing the Mexican 1000
MAR. '69 p11 South Baja, using ferry
APR. '69 p5 Enchanted Islands (Puertecitos to Punta Final)
JUL. '69 p12 El Golfo de Santa Clara clam digging by ESG
AUG. '69 p8 Along the Border using Hwy. 2
DEC. '69 p13 Border wait incident at San Ysidro northbound.

MAR. '70 p26 Guadalupe Canyon Hot Springs

JAN. '71 p34 Valle Redondo (near Tecate)
JUN. '71 p34 La Paz region by sedan
DEC. '71 p34 San Pedro Martir

JUN. '73 p36 'Best of Baja' (San Felipe to Santa Rosalia)

APR. '74 p20 Baja For Charter (SS Santa Monica)
JUL. '74 p18 Trip Down New Mexico 1 (in Feb '74)
OCT. '74 p6 'We Walked a Mission Trail' Pt. 1
NOV. '74 p28 'We Walked a Mission Trail' Pt. 2

MAR., '75 p22 Erle's Beach (E.S. Gardner in 1959 retraced)
APR., '75 p32 The Treasure of San Pedro Martir
JUL., '75 p20: Baja California, The magic remains despite the new highway.
DEC., '75 p28 Pacific Islands of Baja Norte

JAN., '76 p32 Kayaking in the Desert (Kino Bay north on Mainland side of Cortez)
FEB., '76 p42 Boleo Mine (Santa Rosalia) for mineral collecting.
MAR., '76 p42 More on Santa Rosalia for mineral collecting.
APR., '76 p42 Santa Rosalia and WWI German ship crew events.
MAY, '76 p28 Mike's Sky Ranch
JUN., '76 p14 Valle de las Palmas (south of Tecate)
AUG., '76 Cover
SEP., '76 p32 Rock Garden (Cirios and other Baja plants)
DEC., '76 p12 Boom Camps of Baja's Southern Cape (El Triunfo)

JAN., '77 p24 Palm Oases of California Deserts (small part of Baja)

Oct., '78 p12 Baja by Canoe (Leetch and Patchen)

JAN., '79 p32 Cabo San Lucas
FEB., '79 p20 Wheels for Baja Part 1
MAR., '79 p20 Wheels for Baja Part 2
JUN., '79 p32 The Boojum of Baja
NOV., '79 p10 Jack Smith's House (God and Mr. Gomez)
(new publisher, no issues with the date Dec. or Jan. To meet the demands of retail magazine displays that must have a magazine shipped 5 weeks before the listed month of the magazine, the next Desert issue was renamed February 1980)

APR., '80 p5: San Felipe; p10: Cave Paintings; p14: The Clam Man
AUG., '80 p7 Missions of Central Baja
OCT., '80 p12 A Tale of Two Missions (Lost Santa Clara Mission)
NOV., '80 p12 Ships of the Desert

FEB., '81 p50 The Top of Baja (San Pedro Martir)
MAR., '81 p30 Undersea Geysers in Gulf of California (news)
(no April issue)
MAY, '81 p19 Sanguinez, Baja's Prison of Hope (Mulegé Prison); p42 The Life and Times of Padre Kino
JUN., '81 p42 A Dream with a Purpose (Don Johnson, Hotel Serenidad, Mulegé)
JUL., '81 p38 The Day 20,000 cans of Tecate Washed Ashore (Punta Baja)
AUG., '81 p52 The Lost Grave of a Neglected Hero (Melchior Diaz)

1982: 0

1983: 0

APR-MAY, '84 p21 Baja's Enchanted Islands (& Punta Final)

1985: 0

No Desert Magazine 1986-1991

1992: 0 (now American Desert Magazine)

JAN-FEB 1993: p6 San Borja; p12 Cirio, Copalquin, y Cardon; p32 Collectible Minerals in Baja; p39 San Javier are at this archive:

(* These 8 articles by Randall Henderson from 1946-1955 are reproduced together in the 1971 La Siesta Press book 'Palm Canyons of Baja California'.)

I will be coming back and adding to this as I find more Baja articles in the old Desert Magazines, as well as any you know of I missed!


[Edited on 6-6-2019 by David K]

Barry A. - 4-7-2014 at 10:51 AM

Great source of material, David. Well done, and many thanks.


Mexitron - 4-7-2014 at 06:13 PM

Wow, nice treasure trove, thanks for the heads up David!

blackwolfmt - 4-7-2014 at 07:08 PM

WOW !! that's a lot of Baja history,Thanks DavidK

Neal Johns - 4-10-2014 at 02:08 AM

The Editor of Dezert Magazine is a very nice guy, and is, like us, rabid about Baja and the desert. He came by my house and borrowed a few copies of Desert Magazine to fill holes in the full set he put on line.

Pappy Jon - 6-8-2014 at 12:10 PM

This is way cool. We used to have a near complete set and I have no idea what happened to them. I had forgotten I have a folder with copies of some old notable Desert Magazine stories. Most are Randall Henderson stories.

JAN. '46 p4 'Guadalupe Canyon in Lower California'
AUG. '46 p12 'We Camped at Cantu Palms'
FEB. '47 p19 'Palms of Palomar' (actually Santa Isabel)
JUN. '47 p21 'Palms That Survived in Cloudburst Canyon'
MAY '48 p5 'Fishing Village on the Gulf'
JUN. '48 p5 'Daddy of the Palm Canyons' (Canon del Tajo)
JUL. '50 p4 'La Mora Canyon in Baja California'
MAR. '51 p4 'On the Trail to Picacho de Diablo'
JUL. '51 p8 'We Camped with the Pai-Pais'
JAN. 53 p11 'We Climbed El Diablo From the Desert Side'
APR. '53 p10 'The Ancients Were Here' (Arroyo Grande cliff dwellings)
FEB. '55 p9 'Cattle Ranch among the Palms' (Palomar Canyon)
AUG. '55 p4 'Three Days in Devil's Canyon'
DEC. '56 p12 'The Cardon, Largest Cactus in the World'
JUN. '57 p13 'Vacation in Baja'
SEP. '57 p13 'Banded Rhyolite in Baja'
OCT. '57 p17 'Marine Treasures from Punta Penasco'
JUN. '58 p24 '"Dry Lake" Filled with Water" (Laguna Salada)
APR. '59 p8 'Stuck in the Sand and what to do about it '
JAN. '59 p9 'Trail to Baja Salt Spring'
AUG. '59 p14 'To Baja with a Naturalist'
OCT. '59 p6 'To the Bay of the Angeles' Pt. 1
NOV. '59 p12 'Bahia de los Angeles' Pt. 2
DEC. '59 p11 'Exploring Whispering Canyon on the Guardian Angel Island' Pt. 3
JAN. '60 p38 'Isla Encantada' Pt. 4
JAN. '63 p10 'Baja's "Pacific Dump Yard"'

In addition I have a story titled 'The Paipai Potters of Baja Califonia: A Living Tradition' but the pages lack dates. It was done after 1976.

[Edited on 6-9-2014 by Pappy Jon]

Pappy Jon - 6-8-2014 at 01:41 PM

May '48. Fishing Village on the Gulf.

"Perhaps San Felipe will then have hotels and window panes and water hydrants and service stations. These civilized inventions will remove much of the physical discomfort and mental hazard of a trip to San Felipe. But I am not sure they will either add to or detract from the charm of this remote little fishing village on the shores of the ancient Sea of Cortez."

Bob H - 6-8-2014 at 02:00 PM

Great stuff David!
October 63 Mulege story starts on page 24 !! Loved it !

Edit add: Look at the back cover of the October 63 issue for a nice list of Baja articles !

[Edited on 6-8-2014 by Bob H]

Udo - 6-8-2014 at 02:07 PM

Well done amigo!
I originally joined back in '71.

Pappy Jon - 6-8-2014 at 04:03 PM

I had totally forgot I had two covers in the 1993 reincarnation of American Desert Magazine.

Pappy Jon - 6-8-2014 at 05:05 PM

Cover on February 1993, plus the pics in the story "A pilgrimage to San Borja" (p6-11)

Cover on April 1993, plus the pics in the stories "A Plant Called Turtle Back" (p7-8), and "Furnace Creek Inn, A Desert Home Away From Home" (p38-42). And for chuckles and grins ... a favorable book review on p36.

Bob H - 6-10-2014 at 11:07 AM

These old publications are fascinating ! BUMP !!

Other Desert Magazine Baja related articles

John M - 5-10-2015 at 11:16 AM

I'll list other issues containing Baja related articles. A few of those on my list may only be a review of a Baja book, I tried to delete those but may have missed a few. Good work David, Pappy Jon, and Bob H.

For a number of years Desert Magazine was a passion of mine. In fact my wife bought me a complete set, hard bound with all magazines in outstanding condition. Before the on-line editions it was really a hassle to xerox mine due to the binding.

For the Randall Henderson fans you might enjoy a small booklet I just purchased "Barnstorming the Desert - The Life of Randall Henderson" by Phil Brigandi, 2004.

Brigandi also authored "Randall Henderson and the Rise and Fall of Desert Magazine" published by the Los Angeles Corral of the Westerners in 2006.

There are two other books about Henderson that I am aware of - "Desert Editor - the story of Randall Henderson and Palm Desert" by J. Wilson McKenney (1972). McKenney worked for Henderson at the beginning of Desert Magazine and for a couple of years thereafter. After Henderson's passing McKenney at the urging of Henderson's wife, completed and added to one of Hendersons projects resulting in this book.

On the other side of the coin is "Desert Magazine: The Henderson Years" by Peter Wild (2004). This is an interesting commentary on Henderson and on the magazine business - it's a good read though not always flattering toward Randall Henderson.

As time permits I will come back to my additions and try to add commentary.

1952 - July - Tribesmen of Santa Catarina
1955 - Oct - Cirio by Edmund Jaeger
1956 - Nov - Elephant Trees by Jaeger
1957 - July - San Pedro Martir
1960 - June & September
1961 - April - E.S. Gardner
1963 - Jan - Dump yard of the Pacific
1964 - Oct - Sam Hicks on E.S.G.
1966 - April - Road to Old Socorro
1968 - Oct - "Leatha" Patchen & Carol Bryan prepare for the Mexican 1000
1975 - Mar, Apr, July, December
1976 - May, December
1978 - October
1979 - Jan, June
1980 - Apr, Oct, Aug
1981 - Feb, May, July, Aug - August is about Diaz

John M

[Edited on 5-10-2015 by John M]

Von - 5-10-2015 at 12:22 PM

This is A wealth of Amazing information and history! So RAD! ive spent

2 hrs reading Some awesome History! Love it! Ill need another year or

two. Thanks for sharing :)

ncampion - 5-11-2015 at 08:45 AM

What a great resource, thanks for all this work. Now I have some reading material for my "free time".

Von - 5-11-2015 at 11:37 AM

You're right David its not all about Baja but also about our southwest corner of the United Stares which is also Awesome an interesting articles. Talks about Palm springs in the late 30s the Santa Rosa mtns which ive swarmed all over them. I love all of the History ,It shares from way back then. What a treasure chest! :)

gribo - 5-15-2015 at 07:35 AM

Missed this the first time around . . . thanks, David. I love these old articles.

Arroyo Grande and the Pole line

PaulW - 5-30-2015 at 02:25 PM

Good read
Reading Apr 53 P10ff I find the write up by Randall Henderson for Arroyo Grande and finding petroglyphs.

He said when traveling south from Mexicali at 58 miles he turned right. That would be 93Km, and yes there is a road heading west thru a break in the mountains that leads to Arroyo Grande. I was expecting to find his turn at K87/89 which is the modern day road/s to Saldana. Interesting find as that track at K92/93 was hardly known 10years ago, but used all the time now days since the Code race uses it.

Then he describes his travels and he said his route crosses the pole line at mile 73 (Km117+). I think I found a typo because the modern day track heading west from the highway is at mile 83 (KM134). At k117 the track there would be very difficult, but even so that near the access to the mine pipe line. K134 is the entrance to the drainage of Arrajal (we commonly call that area El Chenero) and this route agrees with the old map that depicts the old indian trail thru the mountains called Buck Trail.

Back in the article discussing AG he makes note of the cairn at mile 105.3. That is a place that needs to be looked for. Maybe next winter when I return.
Quote: Originally posted by David K  
1976 has the most articles on Baja, so far... Check them out!

Now updated to 1942-1976.

I found a mention of the Pole Line Road in the Apr. 1953 & Jan. 1967 issues. Still looking for more!

gribo - 6-1-2015 at 09:27 PM

Fantastic! Thanks!

David K - 6-4-2015 at 11:09 AM

OK... that is all of them, 1937-1993.


If you fine a Baja related article that I failed to catch, please add it here or let me know so I can add it to the master list at the top of this thread.

The new Dezert Magazine (2011+) also has some Baja articles, and I will add the list of them here soon.

Thank you!

David K - 10-20-2015 at 08:48 AM

A reminder to old (and new) Nomads about some fantastic resources of information and reading entertainment are in these many editions of Desert Magazine...

Also, if we have missed any Baja articles or news in this list, please let me know and it will be added.

Thank you!

Vince - 10-20-2015 at 04:11 PM

Thanks for making these magazines available to us, David. I used to read Desert Magazine when I was a kid in the '40's and '50's. Now I can go back and read the Baja ones again.

David K - 10-20-2015 at 11:11 PM

Baja Nomad 'dezertmag' and rejoined as 'dzeertmag2' did the work, as well as another Desert Fan.

I loved them as well, but more in the '60's and '70's (along with Four Wheeler Magazine)!

It was great to meet the Editor/ publisher/ owner of Desert Magazine of much of the 60's, as well!

I made a website to house many of the photos she took or had from her Baja expeditions:

Here was Choral listening to the great mystery writer and creator of Perry Mason, Erle Stanley Gardner, sitting around a Baja campfire. Baja was a great escape from the demands of Hollywood for Gardner, and he loved solving mysteries... using all the people, special off road vehicles and helicopters to accomplish the mission!

[Edited on 6-6-2019 by David K]

David K - 12-2-2015 at 04:06 PM

Please enjoy the great resources here to enjoy Baja back to the 1930's!

A new article about Choral Pepper was published today by Baja Bound:


David K - 12-9-2015 at 10:15 AM

February 1949 on page 25:
"We Found a Cave of Lost Art"
Giant cave site found by well-known photographer Ed Davis.

It is a familiar cave site and now we can see how they looked in 1949!

4x4abc - 12-9-2015 at 12:30 PM

San Baltazar range?

David K - 12-9-2015 at 03:28 PM

Quote: Originally posted by 4x4abc  
San Baltazar range?

The figures are very similar to the ones at Mesa el Carmen... but not the same:

I just thumbed through my three editions of Harry Crosby's 'The Cave Paintings of Baja California' and Clement Meighan's 'Indian Art and History' (Baja California / Dawson Book Series #13) and could not find the same figures as in Ed Davis's photos.

David K - 9-24-2017 at 09:40 AM

Just an update to this thread.
The archive of Desert Magazines was not showing several issues in full.
I just came across another archive of old Desert Magazines that appears to be good: for 1937-1985 editions. Plus, this person is selling the entire collection on CD for just ten bucks.

Here is the homepage:

Another source to read Desert Magazines:

[Edited on 6-6-2019 by David K]

KurtG - 9-24-2017 at 09:55 AM

Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Just an update to this thread.
The archive of Desert Magazines was not showing several issues in full.
I just came across another archive of old Desert Magazines that appears to be good: for 1937-1985 editions. Plus, this person is selling the entire collection on CD for just ten bucks.

Here is the homepage:

[Edited on 9-24-2017 by David K]

Thanks for that link, I just ordered the CD.

David K - 11-5-2017 at 08:09 AM

Did you get the CD yet? How did it work if you did? Thanks!

TMW - 11-5-2017 at 09:30 AM

It's a two CD set and it's great. I even made chicken and dumplings from a recipe in one magazine.

KurtG - 11-5-2017 at 12:50 PM

Quote: Originally posted by David K  
Did you get the CD yet? How did it work if you did? Thanks!

I've only glanced at it but it looks good.

David K - 7-1-2018 at 08:28 AM

Great news.

David K - 6-5-2019 at 04:57 PM

The link has not been working.
Here is a new link to see all the Desert Magazines:

Also, for Harald: the San Baltazar cave is San Borjitas. I recognized the figures since I was just there last month. I then found them in Harry Crosby's book listed as "in a cattle-raising area known as San Baltazar" and goes into much detail.

4x4abc - 6-5-2019 at 08:51 PM

yes, it is the next rancho up from San Borjitas

David K - 6-7-2019 at 12:35 AM

Rancho La Tinaja is 3 road miles from the San Borjitas parking area, where we paid the permit fee and got a guide. The big arroyo is named San Baltazar. Past La Tinaja is Las Tinajitas, then San Baltazar, way back in the mountain.

San Borjitas site is called San Borja in the Almanac:

David K - 6-7-2019 at 01:25 PM

The link is working again.

Vince - 6-8-2019 at 08:50 AM

What a treasure you have here, David! I read this magazine as a kid in the early '50's, brings back fond memories. Thanks!

StuckSucks - 6-10-2019 at 07:54 AM

Found this ad in a 1958 issue:

David K - 6-10-2019 at 08:14 AM

Quote: Originally posted by StuckSucks  
Found this ad in a 1958 issue:

The 1958, second edition:

David K - 11-18-2019 at 04:57 PM

Anyone find any more Baja articles NOT listed in the index here?