The Salton Sea is one of my favorite places in California. I’ve been going there for years and whenever I am in the desert, I always make time for a trip out there. It’s a strange and beautiful place. It feels nearly abandoned and is surrounded by death, but there is magic in the air if you open yourself up to it.
If you are coming from Joshua Tree, the drive to the Salton Sea is about 1hr 15mins and if you’re coming from Palm Springs, the drive is under an hour. I typically enter through the visitor center off HWY 111, either on my way to or from Salvation Mountain, located in Slab City just beyond Niland, approximately 30 mins away. I know this drive like the back of my hand but I recommend if you’re new to this adventure, pay close attention on the highway or you just might miss it. Look for the large light blue road side that reads “Salton Sea Recreation Area.”
When I bring friends to the Salton Sea, I can never anticipate what their response will be and that’s mostly do to the pungent smell coming from the hundreds of thousands dead tilapia washed up on the shore. Upon arrival I say not a word and then lead my guest onto the sand. As we begin to walk, someone always mentions the crunch of the sand underneath our feet. I lean in and say “that’s not sand, we are walking on decaying fish carcases.” The sound can be best described as walking on Captain Crunch. It makes for an interesting moment to say the least.
This was the first time I had been at the Salton Sea during sunset. Matty and I had a full day of my favorite desert sights and we were speeding back from Salvation Mountain in order to catch the Salton Sea before it got dark. We found ourselves chasing the sun every day on our road trip, as we weren't going to let a moment go to waste. I’m glad it worked out this way because I had never experienced such beauty at the Salton Sea. It was surreal. The beauty of Earth never ceases to amaze me, but after all these years, I experienced something new at a place I was so familiar with. I was hyped that Matty was in awe too.
Salton Sea | 100-225 State Park Rd, Mecca, CA 92254