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Desert View Tower: Old School California Roadside Attraction

A few months ago, on a trip back from the Imperial Sand Dunes, I saw an unassuming sign for Desert View Tower near Jacumba, California (about 1.5 hours west of San Diego). High above Interstate 8 towered a, well, stone tower. I had to know more.


We didn’t get far down the exit road before we hit another dimension with Coyote and his alien entourage. But that’s another story you can read about here. Once we came back down to earth, we continued to the tower. It was large, with a wider circle at the base and a giant rainbow over the door stating E Pluribus Unum (weird choice, but ok). As I entered the dust mote-filled room, my eyes adjusted to the dark. A player piano backed up against the wall on one side, while a row of stuffed animal heads decorated with Christmas decor looked on. Oh, this was gonna be fun.


It seemed to be a gift shop, though many items were so dusty, I think the proprietors gave up on selling much of anything long ago. After marveling at the treasures, we climbed the circling staircase to the top, where we could see in every direction. Southern California is beautiful, and while you might not think there’s much to admire in the desert, there absolutely is.


Onto Boulder Park

As part of the $6.50 admission, we got access to the Boulder Park across from the tower. Any place with a sign that says “enter at your own risk” is going to entice me. There, we found meandering paths through boulders and caves, as well as rocks painted as creatures.  I didn’t the history of who carved and painted the rocks, but they had a Native American feel, and seemed to be protecting the place. The entire park had beautiful energy, and I’d love to take my son and his friends back to rock hop and play.


I’m constantly amazed at all the treasures I’m not aware of near San Diego until I stumble across them. I’ve definitely added this to my list of favorites.

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