Cool Day Trips

Salton Sea State Recreation Area

Salton Sea Visitor Center


Brief History

The Salton Sea is also known as the accidental sea because it was formed, well, by accident. The Salton Sea was actually the Salton Sink. In 1901 the Colorado River was used to irrigate the booming farming industry in the area. Two years later it grew to be irrigating over 100,000 acres of land.

Something went very wrong in 1905. That year that area had an unusually wet winter and the Colorado River wound up breaking through a poorly constructed canal cut. It flowed into the sink for about 16 months.

Water Flowed Into The Lowest Point

The water did what water does, it flowed down to the lowest point. The lowest point was the Salton Sink. The water that flowed into the Salton Sink flooded everything around it including the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The railroad had no choice but to re-route the track.

Salton Sea

The railroad felt that another rainy season could easily jeopardize the new track route so in 1907 they built a new trestle. They filled the streambed with fill and boulders. After they were finished dumping, the water stopped flowing into the sea. By that time, 350,000 acres of the surrounding land had been flooded.

Flooding Ended The Booming Resort Area

Many years later the Salton Sea had become a popular resort area. Recurring flooding during the ’70s put an end to all that.

Today it is estimated that the salt content is 50% more than the ocean. It is a popular stop for many species of birds. Unfortunately, that is in jeopardy due to the rising salt content.

To learn about the complete history of the Salton Sea, visit their website by clicking here.

Our visit to the rec area was also our lunch stop. There is a row of covered picnic tables that sit along the parking lot on the beach area. We were able to relax, eat, and enjoy the mountain views beyond the water. It was awesome.

After we ate, we strolled along the beach area towards the water. There were tiny seashells that filled the sand. We made our way toward the visitor center but soon learned it was closed.

Tiny Seashells

Around the visitor center are numerous signs explaining the history behind the Salton Sea. There are some hiking trails and nature walks that you can stroll along the sea. There are restrooms with showers. The camping area has water and electric sites but no sewers. There is a dump station. I believe you can also launch your kayaks from here. We were not able to confirm that as the office was closed.

The Bottom Line

This is a great place to come and relax. If you can grab one of the picnic tables near the water, it’s a great place to whip out a laptop and get some work in. On the day of our visit, it was fairly empty. The only people we saw were some bird watchers, painters, and people like us just checking it out. There were even a couple of RVs that were parked in the parking lot with their chairs out just relaxing enjoying the scenery, and taking in the sun.

Sea Overlook

Have you visited the Salton Sea? Does it sound like someplace you would want to visit? Leave a comment down below and let me know what you think.

Date Of Visit: 11/15/18
Entry Fee: $7







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