Friday, February 5, 2010

The Desert View Tower - Jacumba CA

Desert View Tower - San Diego County, California 

The Desert View Tower is the kind of roadside attraction that if you would never visit if you lived nearby. But being out of town gives me liberty to make touristic demands to see quirky attractions like this. And so we took a break from the white-knuckle driving of I-8 and the watchful eyes of the numerous US Border Patrol along the highway and pulled off on In-Ko-Pah County Road and drove a few miles to the Desert View Tower

The 70 foot stone tower provides panoramic views east over the Imperial Valley. A couple of bucks per adult gets you into a curiosity shop of items surrounding the base of the tower, a climb up the tower, and then access to Boulder Park behind the museum. We all agreed that while the view from the tower was nice, the Boulder Park with its twisting paths and carved figures hidden in the boulders was really the more interesting part. 

The tower was built by Bert Vaughan in the 1920s as a roadside attraction appealing to those who stopped to give their vehicles a rest after climbing west up out of the valley on their way to San Diego. Back when the first road opened from San Diego to the Imperial Valley cars needed the rest. The I-8 highway is unusual for its steep grade (4,000 feet in 11 miles) and the fact that when you descend into Imperial Valley (going east) you go from a few thousand feet to 52 feet below sea level at El Centro. Going below sea level makes one hungry for Johnny’s. It’s a fact.

Boulder Park at Desert View Tower - San Diego County, California


  1. damn! are you guys traveling again? and how are those costco pants working out?

  2. The costco jeans were a bit funky. I had a bad flashback to marshalls for a bit. Hopefully they will shrink.

  3. I think you ment cars in the 1920's needed a rest after climbing the road towards San Diego.


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