Salton Sea State Recreation Area

UPDATE (June 26, 2020) - As California State Parks begins working with locals on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved, it is important for visitors to continue to practice physical distancing and avoid congregating with people outside their immediate household. Everyone has the responsibility to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Here are some guidelines for people visiting Salton Sea State Recreation Area:

What is open now?
Salton Sea SRA is open to the following activities:
  • Park Headquarters Area and Mecca Beach Day-use parking lots are open to vehicular access.  
  • Headquarters Camp, New Camp, and Mecca Beach Campgrounds are open. For more information about camping, visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping. To make a reservation, visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com or call 800-444-7275.   
  • Picnic tables, hiking trails, and shoreline access are available for recreational use. These activities must be limited to a single household and must distance themselves away from other small family gatherings. 
  • Biking, hiking, kayaking, wading, and wildlife watching are also permitted. 
  • Only restrooms in the proximity of the park headquarters area and Mecca Beach will be available. 
  • We request that visitors pay by credit/debit card or bring the exact dollar amount.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • Salt Creek and Corvina Beach are closed to motorized vehicles and camping but remain open to foot traffic.
  • Visitor Center and Camp Store.

Statewide:
  • Many campgrounds across the state remain closed until further notice. Some campgrounds have started to reopen with modifications. For more information, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.
  • Many high public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and group camping continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
Yes, please see below:

  • Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking is very limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.
  • Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash
  • Stay Covered: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in most indoor settings and public outdoor spaces when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from people outside of your immediate household. For details, please visit CDPH’s guidance here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.

Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(760) 393-3052

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: 35 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: 35 Feet

Park Hours

Day use and campground open all day and all night.

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs allowed in developed areas such as roads and campgrounds. Dogs not allowed on beaches or trails.

Driving Directions to Salton Sea SRA

Located 30 miles south of Indio on Hwy 111.

Camping and Lodging

Visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Bookings may extend from the arrival date to the desired departure date – based on availability and the park’s maximum stay rules.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

BOATING
Boating
Boat Ramps
OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
En route Campsites
Family Campsites
Group Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
Primitive Camping
RV Sites w/Hookups
RV Dump Station
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Beach Area
Swimming
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Windsurfing/Surfing
Museums
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms / Showers
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available

Notice:

Bombay Beach will remain closed.

Varner Harbor is closed to vessel access until further notice.  The Department of Parks and Recreation is meeting to determine the best course of action with regard to the decreasing water level of the Salton Sea and recreational boating access.  At this time, you may access the Sea by wheeling or carrying your non-motorized vessel (or motorized, depending on how heavy it is) across the beach directly to the water.  At this time we know of no other motorized access to the water on the Salton Sea.  At no time are visitors permitted to drive vehicles on the beach in the Salton Sea State Recreation Area.  Please stay tuned to the website for further updates as they become available.

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 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.

Location-Directions
30 miles south of Indio on Highway 111.  Located on the north shore of the Salton Sea, it is about a three hour drive from the Los Angeles or San Diego areas.  From Los Angeles, take Interstate 10 east to Indio, take 86S exit then turn left at Avenue 66, then right onto Highway 111.  Go south about 12 miles to the Salton Sea SRA Headquarters entrance.  From San Diego take Highway 78 east, then left (north) on Highway 86 .  Turn right at Avenue 66 and then right onto Highway 111.  Go south about 12 miles to the Salton Sea SRA Headquarters entrance.

Fees:

Day use area for Fishing, Visitor Center, Picnic, Birding, Sightseeing. $7.00 ($5.00 for Seniors)
Headquarters full RV hookups $30.00
New Camp developed campground $20.00
Boat Launch $5.00
Extra Vehicle Fee $7.00
Bus Fees: 10-24 persons $50.00
Bus Fees: 25 persons or more $100.00

Seasons/ Climate/ Recommendations

Off Season Jun. - Sept.  70-115 degrees - Very hot, water, hat, sunscreen, best fishing season
On Season Oct.-May  50-70 degrees- Best time to visit the park for any activity

Sea and Desert Interpretive Association

Discover important information about The Salton Sea State Recreation Area and Picacho State Recreation Area at this link: Sea and Desert Interpretive Association and find out how you can help care for these magnificent parks.

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