While there are many interesting things to see between San Diego and El Centro, the most visible is the Desert View Tower. Constructed in 1922 by Bert Vaughn as a roadside attraction, the Tower is also located near the old Mountain Springs Station, which was used from 1862-1870 as a stopping point for wagons hauling items from Yuma to San Diego. Today, the Tower remains a roadside attraction, with a museum, gift shop, and observation deck that has great views of the Anza Borrego desert and the In-Ko-Pah Mountains. In addition to the Tower, there are a number of other quirky items scattered around the area, including an “Alien Parking area”, along with a number of boulders that were sculpted into animals by M.T. Ratliffe, a Great Depression era artist.
Directions/Information: The Desert View Tower is located directly off of Interstate 8 on In-Ko-Pah road at the edge of the Anza Borrego desert. At 3,000 feet of elevation, it is easily spotted from the East and West. From the freeway, it is a five minute drive to the Tower. The Tower is open year round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and as of 2015, it is $4.50 to climb up to the Observation Deck, which is the top story of the seventy foot tower. Even today, this remains a great stop for anyone traveling East to West along the Interstate 8, or West to East.