Attractions & Places of Interest

~ Salton Sea State Recreation Area ~ TEN THINGS TO DO IN AN HOUR OR LESS

1. GO FISHING The weather is warming and the Tilalpia are biting. Fish from the rocks on the jetty, by the Visitor Center, using worms for a sure catch. If you are over 16 you will need a valid California fishing license. 

2. VISIT DOS PALMAS PRESERVE Cross the highway and the RxR tracks, up the hill turn right, and follow the signs to the oasis. There is a locked gate so park your car, and from there you can walk into the historic rancho area. To your right there is a lovely loop trail of about 1.5 miles through the San Andreas Palms. 

Right behind the entrance station you can identify the local plants around our pupfish pond. You might spot one of these endangered species as well. Bring your binoculars….the birds like the garden too. 

Head east from Mecca on Box Canyon Road and veer off to the left on the Painted Canyon Road. Park and meander up the slot canyon. If you have more time, you can make a longer trip by doing the whole loop up the ladders. 

5. GO BIRDING Join us for a short bird walk every Saturday Morning at 9:00 am, or go explore one of the many famous birding spots along the Sea. Take a ride down Johnson Street 1 mile south of Mecca to see the shorebird show. 

6. HIKE THE IRONWOOD TRAIL From the Visitor Center campground head south down the beach on our nature loop. This flat trail will take you through a habitat important to rabbits, coyotes, lizards, and nesting birds too. Watch for signs of the animal life, but watch out where you put your hands and feet too!! 

7. BOAT AND FLOAT Bring your kayak, rubber boat, or yacht and launch it at our newly opened Varner Harbor launch area. The salty sea makes everything super buoyant so you can swim and float with little effort. 

8. BRING OUT THE KIDS Our visitor center is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10-4pm. Kids from 8-12 years old can earn a real badge at the Junior Ranger Program every Saturday at 1:00. Bring a picnic lunch and eat it in the shade of our beach ramadas. 

9. FLY A KITE Let the wind entertain you . The cool breezes of the Sea and the spacious beaches make it an ideal place to let your spirits soar. 

10. WATCH THE SUNRISE OR SUNSET Unparalleled 360 degree views of the Santa Rosa, Oracopia, and Chocolate Mountains make every morning and evening an amazing event. Have a campfire in one of our many fire rings on the beach and enjoy the view. 

Beautiful Box Canyon Road

Coming or going to the Salton Sea there a ride you won’t want to miss.Pick up the road off of Avenue 66 Just
east of the town of Mecca. Weave your way back to interstate 10 right to the south entrance to Joshua Tree National Park. Stop at the waysides and enjoy some hiking on your road trip.

The Famous Painted Canyon

It’s another world. You won’t believe that you were on a interstate highway ten minutes ago. Meander up the canyon or go on a longer hike up and around the rim. Either way the walls will tell you their stories of geologic time.The Grand Canyon sediments carried by the historical path of the Colorado River will amaze you with their colors.

Dos Palmas Preserve & Adobe

Visit a historic adobe just five miles up the road from the Headquarters Visitor Center. This old stage-coach stop was once an exclusive resort. Now it is a protected area. Enjoy the quit of the vast pounds and waterfowl along the faultline. Park at the locked gate and walk in, or just go for a stroll in the San Andreas Palms right adjacent to the parking lot.

Sheep Hole Oasis and Hidden Springs

Follow the trail up the hill and view the Sea from the other side. For a longer hike head down to the oasis and the grottos below. During the flower season check out the blooms along the trail amongst one of the best kept secrets in the desert………. The Mecca Hills