Salton Sea and Vicinity Campgrounds

Calipatria, California

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The Salton Sea, sometimes referred to as California’s Dead Sea, is the state’s largest lake, covering about 360 square miles. It was created accidentally in 1905 when diversion controls on the Colorado River gave way, sending floodwaters rushing into a wide depression in the desert. The lake is about 17 miles wide and 40 miles long, and it has an average depth of 10 to 20 feet. It lies 228 feet below sea level. Its salinity closely matches that of the Gulf of California to the south, and in 1950 the lake was successfully stocked with several species of fish from that sea. Excellent fishing exists year-round, primarily for corvina, a fish similar to the white sea bass. The biggest attraction of this area is fishing, but swimming, boating, and water-skiing are popular, too. Because outboard motors operate more efficiently below sea level, many boat racing events are held on the lake. Hiking is possible along the shores of the lake, and the area features several nature trails. The area is a paradise for bird watching, as it lies within the North American Flyway. More than 380 species of birds can be seen around the lake. Campgrounds included in this eTrail are: Headquarters, Mecca Beach, Corvina Beach, Salt Creek, Bombay Beach, Red Hill Marina County Park, Wiest Lake County Park, Gecko, Roadrunner, Midway, Hot Spring Long-Term Visitor Area, Tamarisk Long-Term Visitor Area, and Dunes Vista Long-Term Visitor Area.

Salton Sea and Vicinity Campgrounds Professional Review and Guide

"The Salton Sea, sometimes referred to as California’s Dead Sea, is the state’s largest lake, covering about 360 square miles. It was created accidentally in 1905 when diversion controls on the Colorado River gave way, sending floodwaters rushing into a wide depression in the desert. The lake is about 17 miles wide and 40 miles long, and it has an average depth of 10 to 20 feet. It lies 228 feet below sea level. Its salinity closely matches that of the Gulf of California to the south, and in 1950 the lake was successfully stocked with several species of fish from that sea. Excellent fishing exists year-round, primarily for corvina, a fish similar to the white sea bass. The biggest attraction of this area is fishing, but swimming, boating, and water-skiing are popular, too. Because outboard motors operate more efficiently below sea level, many boat racing events are held on the lake. Hiking is possible along the shores of the lake, and the area features several nature trails. The area is a paradise for bird watching, as it lies within the North American Flyway. More than 380 species of birds can be seen around the lake. Campgrounds included in this eTrail are: Headquarters, Mecca Beach, Corvina Beach, Salt Creek, Bombay Beach, Red Hill Marina County Park, Wiest Lake County Park, Gecko, Roadrunner, Midway, Hot Spring Long-Term Visitor Area, Tamarisk Long-Term Visitor Area, and Dunes Vista Long-Term Visitor Area."

Activity Type: Campgrounds
Nearby City: Calipatria
Additional Use: Boat Launch/Ramp, Swimming, Boating, Fishing, Hiking, Birding
Local Contacts: California Department of Parks and Recreation; Imperial County Parks Department
Driving Directions: Directions to Salton Sea and Vicinity Campgrounds

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May 2018