The Desert View Tower is a 100 year old structure settled within the In-Ko-Pah Mountains in Imperial County, CA. It's located about 15 miles from the Mexico boarder and is quite possibly the coolest/strangest place I've ever been. As you enter the grounds you're surrounded by abandoned RVs and fake UFOs and actually now that I write that I'm not sure if those are even part of the Desert View Towers asthetic or real UFOs...
Anyway, the owners of the land are super nice and live on the grounds with their 8 dogs that roam the campsite, which is great, but also a distraction cuz I left with 27 videos of dogs on my phone and about 5 clips of the surrounding views #noregrets. I also woke up with an actual pug in my tent one morning who's name is unknown though he was giving me serious Jerry vibes. This place is beautiful, strange, spiritual, and a little trippy but I can guarantee you've never been to a place like it before. Details on our trip below so you can experience the adventure!
TRAVEL GUIDE TO DESERT VIEW TOWER
LODGING: You've got a couple of options when it comes to lodging at the Desert View Tower. The land itself is small and everything is very close so matter which method of lodging you choose you will get to see everything the area has to offer.
CAMPING: This is 100% the best way to experience the land and was obvi the option we went with. The ground on the sites is sand and you're surrounded by boulders so you have comfort and privacy. Each lot and could sleep anywhere from 8-10 people and can be booked directly through Hip Camp and run about $40/night.
COZY PRIVATE HOUSE: The owners sleep in the main house on the site, but there's an additional side home that looks like it could sleep anywhere from 4-6 people. Personally, I'd make it a couples thing cuz its SUPER cozy/cute/romantic and (see pic below) comes with it's own bath tub built into the side of the mountain for that late night splash.
SLEEP IN THE TOWER: I didn't know this was an option but seems pretty sweet awesome now that I've been inside the tower. I think you have to bring your own air mattress/sleeping stuff though because the tower is about 4 levels of artifacts and has a concrete ground so you'll wanna bring extra padding. It's also open to the public all day so not a ton of privacy, but still a cool experience if you're only staying one night! Check out Desert View Tower on AirBNB to book.
THINGS TO DO:
YOGA: They offer yoga classes for groups or they have a donation yoga class on Sundays (I think it's encouraged to donate around $10) with the owner. She's SUPER sweet and even offered us a group yoga class for free on Saturday but we're degenerates and ended up drinking...early, but I 100% want to go back for this! The entire area has a spiritual, calming vibe to it so yoga is a must while you're there. Check out Yoga at the Desert View Tower here.
HIKING: There's no set trails around here but we still managed to get a good two miles in. As long as you hike to the highest point on the rocks you'll be able to look down on the camp site and find your way back (as long as there is day light!) It's HOT since you're in the desert so bring a lot of water. There's cactuses and plants that could do some serious damage in the hills so be aware of your surroundings (as you can tell from my video we weren't and three out of the four of us came back with minor bloodshed). But the view of the Jacumba Mountains from the top is amazing!
EXPLORE THE TOWER: The Desert View Tower itself is AMAZING and we spent about an hour and a half just exploring all of the cool pieces inside. Anything from artifacts, art, maps, pianos, old music books, etc. and a lot of their pieces are avaliable for purchase. We went home with this awesome native tapestry that's now hanging in our apartment. Make your way to the top of the tower and the views are amazing.
EAT & DRINK: Obvi, but pack some coolers of beer and some food to roast over the bonfire at your campsite and you're good to go. There isn't anything for purchase on site so come with everything you need ahead of time.