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Salton Sea State Recreation Area

Salton Sea State Recreation Area
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Salton Sea State Recreation Area
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Salton Sea State Recreation Area
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Quick Facts
Number of Sites: 1,600 Campsites 1,600 total campsites available in the park.
Reservation Status: Accepted Campground reservations can be made online or by calling (800) 444-7275.

General Information

A view of one of the world's largest inland seas, Salton Sea
Copyright: - California State Parks
A view of one of the world's largest inland seas, Salton Sea
Description - One of the worlds largest inland seas, Salton Sea was created by accident when a dike broke during the construction of the All-American Canal in 1905. This 360 square-mile basin is a popular site for boaters, water-skiers and anglers.

Attractions - One of the world's largest inland seas, Salton Sea was created by accident when a dike broke during the construction of the All-American Canal in 1905. This 360 square-mile basin is a popular site for boaters, water-skiers and anglers. Catches include ocean corvina, gulf croaker, tilapia and sargo. 35 miles long with 110 miles of shoreline, the sea is one of southern California's most popular boating areas. Swimmers, bird-watchers and other visitors can enjoy the site's many recreation opportunities. Because of the sea's low altitude (228 feet below sea level), atmospheric pressure improves speed and ski boat engine performance.

Recreation - Camping: The park has five campgrounds with a total of 1,600 campsites. The popular full hookup sites at the Headquarters Camp should be reserved in advance. The pleasant developed campsites are the most frequently used, and are well suited for RV or tent camping. Developed
sites can be found by Varner Harbor, and at Mecca Beach Campgrounds. Three beach campgrounds--Corvina, Salt Creek, and Bombay Beach--provide a more primitive camping experience along the lake's shoreline.

Day Use: The Salton Sea State Recreation Area has hundreds of day use sites, a boat ramp and wash area, trails, a visitor center (open during peak season), a play area for the kids, and fishing jetties. During the season, Rangers offer guided tours in the park's interpretive boat to view
the birds for which the Recreation Area is famous. The park is located on the Pacific Flyway, and 400 different species of birds have been
counted at the Salton Sea--almost half of the 900 species known to exist on the North American Continent. During winter migration up to four
million individual birds are estimated to use the Sea each day. There is a greater species variety and more individual species here than any other place in the nation.

Fishing: Fishing is excellent at the park. Long known as the best fishery in the state, the Salton Sea has rewarded anglers with corvina (a type
of sea bass) as large as 37 pounds. A limit of five corvina is easily caught, with most of the fish weighing in greater than five pounds. Tilapia, a perch-like fish, are most abundant, and are on the hook as fast as you can dip a line into the water. There is no legal limit to the number of tilapia that can be taken; after a day at the park fishers generally leave with at least 100 tilapia in the 1- to 3-pound range. Croaker are common, though not as plentiful as tilapia and corvina, and once in a while sargo and mullet can be taken. Though the larger fish are usually caught from
boats, shore fishers are never disappointed.

Boating / Boat Racing: Boat races have been common at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area since 1928. The lake is known as the fastest in the nation because its salt content (slightly greater than the Pacific Ocean) causes vessels to be more buoyant. And at 228 feet below sea level, its high atmospheric density (because of the low elevation) causes engines to perform much more powerfully than on other lakes. Boat race sponsors at lakes throughout the nation have tried to remove the Sea from circuit racing because they claim it has an unfair speed advantage. Most of the aquatic speed records have been broken here. Once outside the dock and harbor areas there is no maximum speed limit on the lake, and no required direction of travel. With its great surface size, an almost unlimited number of boats can use the Sea without it becoming congested. The Sea is so large that the distant shores are not visible because of the earth's curvature.

Climate - Days in the California desert are typically clear with low humidity.
Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high/low of 85 and 50 F respectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60 F, and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. Summers are hot, over 100 F during the day and not cooling much below 75 F until the early hours of the morning.

Caution: As in any desert country, travelers on this road should carry extra water and other essential supplies. All motor vehicles are required to stay on the authorized routes of travel in the recreation area. In case of trouble it is best to keep calm and remain near your vehicle and in the shade until help arrives.

Location - The parks visitor center is 25 miles southeast of Indio via Highway 111.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Jeff Phillips (El Cajon, Ca)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: My wife and I stayed at Mecca Beach and had a beautiful tent site. As it was nearly 115 degrees, the trees surrounding our campsite were relieving. No one around but a beautiful site. We did catch some Tilapia also. Wouls highly recommend salton Sea to anyone who likes the outdoors and peacefulness. We'll be back

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Camping The park has five campgrounds with a total of 1,600 campsites.

More Information

Contact Information:
Colorado Desert Salton Sea Sector Headquarters, 100-225 State Park Road , North Shore, CA, 92254, Phone: 760-393-3059, Fax: 760-393-1338
, shorvitz@sesnet.com

Additional Information:
Desert Region State Parks and Recreation Areas - The Desert Region encompasses the southeast corner of California. It includes a large portion of the Mojave Desert around the towns of Barstow, Indio and Needles. It features Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Parks as well as two state parks, and three state recreation areas.
Southern California -

California State Parks - Official agency website.
Campground Reservations - Reserve your campground online here with reserveamerica.com


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