Salton Sea, California, USA

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

June 1, 2014

ABOUT THE SALTON SEA

This vast, shallow desert lake is the largest in California, with higher salinity levels than the Pacific Ocean. With no outflow, salinity levels continue to rise, creating an ecosystem in which few species of fish can live.

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

After our weekend camping trip to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, we visited the Salton Sea in Salton City, California, near the middle of the lake on the western side.

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

BEAUTY IN STILLNESS

The still lake water makes for a great view, displaying a mirror-like reflection of what’s above. But with an aroma ranging from faintly fishy to putrid, it’s no wonder the Salton Sea is no longer a popular weekend destination. There was one family spending the day fishing there, but otherwise it was a desolate, eerily peaceful place.

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us
Ian at the Salton Sea (fishing family in the background)

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

CRUNCHY TERRAIN

Walking down to shore, we weren’t too surprised to discover it was more than just seashells that were crunching under our feet. Fishbones were scattered about the shore, accompanied by fish carcasses at various stages of decomposition.

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

A TOLERABLE STINK

There were only one or two fish that had recently turned belly-up. Most others appeared to be more than a month old, already nestling into the sandy shoreline, so the fishy smell was at a tolerable level during our 30-minute stop.

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

A BEAUTIFUL, DISGUSTING PLACE TO VISIT

If you’re nearby, it’s definitely worth the short trip, but don’t plan on spending more than an hour there. (That is, unless you’re into birds, in which case you’ll likely enjoy a visit to the Wildlife Refuge at the south end of the lake.)

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Salton Sea, California, USA on northtosouth.us

Visit the Salton Sea Authority for more information on the current restoration and revitalization efforts for the Salton Sea.

About the Author

Diana Southern
In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.

2 Responses

  1. phyll March 21, 2015 / 6:52 pm

    I was close by here a few months ago & didn’t have enough time to swing by… though it sounds like it’s not worth another trip back?? I did see the Salton Sea from way up while hiking Joshua Tree though!

    • Diana Southern March 24, 2015 / 10:58 am

      It’s certainly an eerie, interesting place, but I wouldn’t make a special trip for it. And if you’re not a fan of fishy smells, you probably won’t be able to stand getting out of the car for long!

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