Description of Trail: During our time visiting the Salton Sea we explored Bombay Beach (Which is presently closed), visited Salvation Mountain and Slab City, and explored the Ironwood Nature Trail. The Ironwood Nature Trail goes from the Salton Sea Visitor Center to Mecca Beach (2 miles round trip) and to Corvina Beach (4.5 miles round trip). Elevation gain on this hike is under 50 feet total. This is an out and back hike on a dirt/barnacle trail. Hiking in the Salton Sea State Recreation area is best done during the Fall, Winter, or Spring. During the summer time temperatures routinely soar to well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit and prolonged hiking in that environment is neither particularly enjoyable and can become dangerous. If you attempt a hike in this area during the summer or other warm times, make sure to bring plenty of water, have proper clothing, and wear sunscreen. This is a relatively exposed trail and there is little shade, so be prepared for the elements. The Ironwood Nature Trail, however, is a unique pictures trail around a very small portion of one of Southern California's most unique water features. For a brochure of the Salton Sea, click Here.
Another thing you will notice while walking along any portion of the Salton Sea is the dead fish that line portions of the shore. There are currently estimated to be 300 million to 400 million Tilapia that live in the Salton Sea. Some of the fish occasionally die off during the winter time when the water gets to cold and then during the change in seasons algae blooms are known to happen in the Salton Sea which cause issues with oxygen deprivation for Tilapia and can give off a foul odor.
Unlike most lakes, the Salton Sea has no natural outlet flowing to the ocean; whatever flows in, including agricultural runoff, does not flow out. Water is lost through evaporation and through percolation into the ground. The Salton Sea was formed in 1905 when massive flooding caused the Colorado River to break through an irrigation canal headwork and flow freely into the Salton Basin for 18 months. Since then, the Sea's existence has been maintained primarily by agricultural return flows from the Imperial, Coachella, and Mexicali Valleys.
Rating: Elevation Gain: minimal. (Easy), Distance: 2 miles (Mecca Beach) to 4.5 miles (Corvina Beach) (Easy).
Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours.
MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON SALTON SEA RECREATION AREA
Salton Sea State Recreation Area (This Post)
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