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Best trails in Salton Sea State Recreation Area

31 Reviews
Explore the most popular trails in Salton Sea State Recreation Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

One of the world's largest inland seas and lowest spots on earth at -227 below sea level, Salton Sea was re-created in 1905 when high spring flooding on the Colorado River crashed the canal gates leading into the developing Imperial Valley. For the next 18 months the entire volume of the Colorado River rushed downward into the Salton Trough. By the time engineers were finally able to stop the breaching water in 1907, the Salton Sea had been born at 45 miles long and 20 miles wide - equaling about 130 miles of shoreline. Salton Sea State Recreation Area, located 30 miles south of Indio on Highway 111, covers 14 miles of the northeastern shore and has long been a popular site for campers, boaters and anglers. Increasing salinity in the Salton Sea basin has limited the number of types of fish that can be found there, and most fish currently caught are Tilapia. Varner Harbor within the SRA provides easy access to the sea for boating and water skiing. Kayakers, campers, birdwatchers, photographers and hikers can enjoy the site's many recreation opportunities. The Salton Sea presently supports 80 to 90 percent of the North American endangered bird populations. Annually, as many as 1.5 million eared grebes and nearly half of California’s population of white-faced ibis have been counted at the sea. Cormorants and cattle egrets maintain year-round nesting colonies. From November through February, ranger staff offers guided boat tours; visitors may see tens of thousands of snow geese, Ross’s and Canada geese, and scores of thousands of ducks. Marsh birds, shore birds, and waterfowl of nearly every description stop over to replenish themselves. Typical of the Colorado Desert area, average low and high temperatures in spring and fall range from about 50 to 85 degrees. July and August are the hottest months, with 75-degree mornings and afternoons well over 100 degrees. Winter days average 60 degrees, but nights can drop to freezing.

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Top trails (1)
#1 - Bat Caves Buttes
Salton Sea State Recreation Area
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Length: 3 mi • Est. 1 h 26 m
The only caves around Salton Sea area. Open to users of all skill levels. It's south of the San Andreas Fault in an area known as Desert Buttes. The trail starts at an abandoned cafe in a ghost town named Durmid, close to Salton Sea. These caves were created when Salton Sea was flooded in the early stages before the water elevation dropped. The waves were responsible for the tunneling of the caves. Note that the deepest cave is only 90 feet, the majority are shallow.Show more