The Salton Sea
I have lived about three hours away from the Salton Sea for like 20 years. But yet I have never been there. The closest I’ve been is Palm Springs. People tell me don’t bother wasting my time going there. It’s smelly and dirty and weird people hang out there. But it seems fascinating to me for some reason. I’ve been stuck at home for over nine months now and I need to take a short road trip. Maybe stay overnight in Palm Springs and check out the sea the next day. I also wouldn’t mind checking out Idyllwild since I’m going to be out that way.
Has anyone been to the Salton Sea? What about Idyllwild? Any info or insight would be helpful. Thank you.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||01/14/2021|
^ That photo looks photoshopped.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||01/11/2021|
Saw the creepy movie a long time ago.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||01/11/2021|
I’ve been there...it didn’t smell that bad when I was there, honestly. Maybe I got lucky with the weather. It’s probably worse in the heat. It’s a cool place to take photos - there were huge flocks of pelicans when I was there. If you combine it with a trip to PS then sure, it’s worth a short look.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||01/11/2021|
When I was a child I thought it was "The Salt and Sea," and assumed it was some fancy resort.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||01/11/2021|
I watched a documentary on tv not too long ago. Spooky as fuck. I can’t find it online, but I found this one that looks interesting.
Stay home, stay safe and watch this nice show.
|by Anonymous||reply 7||01/11/2021|
It's an important bird-watching site, so you would expect to encounter a lot of twitchers among the tweakers.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||01/11/2021|
It's not very pleasant-smelling.
|by Anonymous||reply 9||01/11/2021|
So I know a bit about this. I've been a half dozen times, but my partner has worked at the Bombay Beach Bienniale and with their local community center to revitalize the area.
It is unbelievably beautiful, particularly in the afternoon. They have done extensive work in cleaning up the rotting fish carcasses on the beaches, so the smell is much less than it used to be.
Bombay Beach has been semi-revitalized through the Bombay Beach Bienniale, leaving some art installations in place. On any given weekend, there are plenty of photoshoots, artists, and videographers there.
It's still a very poor and depressed area and there has not been any improvement in cleaning up the 'sea'.
Your question is very open-ended. What do you want to know? If it is whether it is worth a visit, absolutely yes.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||01/11/2021|
I’ve been! It’s definitely got a creepy vibe and the area is quite depressed. Hard to believe it was once a glamorous celebrity haunt. Just go for a short visit but don’t make it the focus of your trip.
We would usually stay in Palm Springs but on this trip we stayed in Borrego Springs which is super quiet and dead during the summer but is a bustling golf community during the winter. We stayed in a gorgeous original mid century modern Airbnb and had a blast. A bonus of staying there is that the city is a designated “dark” zone which means very few lights at night. The sky is full of stars and breathtaking. You can book an evening stargazing class in the middle of the desert.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||01/11/2021|
R10 here again. So let me give some background. The 'sea' was created from a leak when they diverted the Colorado River water to LA - the leak wasn't noticed for over 2 years, so a large water deposit is now there. They believe the area used to contain water some tens of thousands of years ago.
The problem? There is no water coming in. It was a mistake, so there are no tributaries or any clean water coming in. It was a very popular 1950's vacation area - the Beach Boys used to play there in the 60's.
However, agricultural development around the sea created a lot of pesticide runoff that all goes into the sea. Over time, because there is no fresh water coming in or out, it has made the water toxicaly polluted and has killed off most of the fish and wildlife that resided there.
A few floods demolished whatever communities were left over - including Bombay Beach. Bombay Beach is probably the most famous area as it is a dystopian landscape of abandoned buildings and structures. It now has quite a bit of artists and outdoor artwork which makes it a fascinating place. There have been many music videos and other things shot there.
Unless some dramatic measures are taken, the water will continue to evaporate and it will leave a toxic dustbowl of chemicals that could endanger the lives of millions of SoCal residents.
It is a wild and extraordinary place - particularly if you know the history. I suppose just driving through it may be strange and not a vibe you'd expect. But if you know where to go, it's like no other.
There are still abandoned places in Bombay Beach with the food in cabinets and furniture that people left behind decades ago.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||01/11/2021|
R11 - besides Borrego Springs, most of the Coachella Valley is a 'dark zone' for star gazing. The Rancho Mirage public library has a planetarium and high-focus monitors for this.
I would agree that a day trip is all that's needed for Salton Sea, but if you look past the poverty and ruins, it's extraordinary.
I guess I come from a different perspective as my partner has been so closely tied to the community and development there. And I know where all the artwork is, although some does change over time.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||01/11/2021|
OP - I'm R10, R12, and R13. I'd be happy to give you a tour.
As far as Idyllwild, it's OK. I think you may need chains to go up there this time of year as there is snow in the mountains. Idyllwild is a decent get away from Palm Springs, but personally, I don't think there's much there. There used to be a great Jazz festival at the music school up there in the Summer, but it's been cancelled for some reason (non-Covid related).
|by Anonymous||reply 14||01/11/2021|
your post, not some swamp story.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||01/11/2021|
R12, nice post. That makes me want to explore the area a little bit more; not just a quick drive-through like I did a few years ago.
|by Anonymous||reply 17||01/11/2021|
Bombay Beach trailer park. Last I thought of Salton Sea was years ago. I remember photos of some old eccentric dude by his trailer in shorts, had tan legs and ancient wrinkly knees.
Never been there and not in a hurry to go. Maybe some day.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||01/11/2021|
This is not far away - Salvation Mountain.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||01/11/2021|
The swing is still there as of 2 months ago
|by Anonymous||reply 21||01/11/2021|
R2 Wonderful film. Twists galore, and very moral at heart.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||01/11/2021|
A couple of years ago, I went to Borrego Springs to see the famous dragon and other sculptures. Whenever the wind shifted to the east, an incredible foul smell blew through the town, it was from the Salton Sea about an hour's drive away. It smelled like rot and garbage and dead fish, but as I was a good distance away I only got whiffs as the wind allowed.
Not planning to visit after that, but I do recommend a detour through Borrego Springs if you're ever in the area. The dragon is awesome.
|by Anonymous||reply 23||01/11/2021|
Here are some pics from 2019 Bienniale - BUT, a lot of the artwork is removed. Some of the art stays and improves the area - although some vandals do get to it.
R23 - I'm not going to say that there isn't an odor at times, but with the cleanup, it's much less than it used to be. You can still smell a foul odor at times, but it's not overwhelming like it used to be.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||01/11/2021|
R15 - what was creepy about my post?
Or are you referring to the tour? I've actually met up with a few people over DataLounge in the past. It's not a big deal.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||01/11/2021|
R23 could you imagine seeing that dragon at night when you were stoned? That would freak me out!
|by Anonymous||reply 26||01/11/2021|
R26 - there are quite a few sculptures there.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||01/11/2021|
I would want to see the TV Wall in East Jesus!
|by Anonymous||reply 28||01/11/2021|
R10, (12, 13, 14 etc) Thank you for telling us so much about the area and the art installations. I had an outdated impression of the area from an old documentary. Maybe I’ll get down there someday.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||01/11/2021|
I didn't notice any smell.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||01/12/2021|
How have I never heard of this? Of course, I've heard the reference of "the Salton Sea" but apparently never knew much about it, or the area. Lived in LA for 10 years and love Palm Springs, and also photographing odd desert art or abandoned buildings (have done Route 66 several times cross country). Great posts, R12! I'm interested in Idyllwild too, more curious if anything. I've thought about moving to Palm Springs. Adding this to my list to visit next time I am in the area. I've also met several DL'ers, (maybe 10 years ago now.. that's how long I've been on this forum).
|by Anonymous||reply 31||01/12/2021|
Very, very strange place. When we were there about 3 years ago it was hotter than hell (it was February) and stank to high heaven. The "sand" on the beach was made from fish bones - you could still see things likes mall vertebrae under your feet. Driving south from Palm Springs you pass through date palm plantations near the sea. We explored the ruins of Bombay Beach, slowly encrusting with salt. In one of the houses was some graffiti that reminds me of the current state of the US: "This is how we fell apart".
|by Anonymous||reply 32||01/12/2021|
R31 - it's because it had such a bad rep for so many years. My partner has lived in Palm Springs for almost 10 years - probably less than 5% of the people we know have ever been. Their first reaction is - Eww! The Smell! And at one time, they were probably right.
Based on your photography of desert art and abandoned buildings, this would be a goldmine for you. My partner is a photographer and director of an art gallery - he's taken several photography groups to Salton Sea/Bombay Beach for this purpose.
Personally, I think a great full day trip is to do Joshua Tree in the morning, drive down to the 10 and then backtrack a bit to do Salton Sea in the afternoon. I don't think you can do Borrego Springs sculpture in the same day. That's too much and BS is on the other side of the sea.
Idyllwild is a small mountain tourist town. I don't think there's anything unique there - a decent amount of artists, but not really the art you want. Think wilderness scenes, eagles, wolf paintings - crap, in my opinion. It's more for hiking, camping, and escaping the desert heat. It pales in comparison to Big Bear, and I don't really like Big Bear that much outside of skiing.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||01/12/2021|
I always confuse this place with the one they used for the ending of Carnival of Souls (1962).
|by Anonymous||reply 35||01/12/2021|
[post redacted because independent.co.uk thinks that links to their ridiculous rag are a bad thing. Somebody might want to tell them how the internet works. Or not. We don't really care. They do suck though. Our advice is that you should not click on the link and whatever you do, don't read their truly terrible articles.]
|by Anonymous||reply 36||01/12/2021|
R36 was my post about Slab City on the south end of the sea. It has Salvation Mountain as a tourist attraction, but it is a shady place with ne'er-do-wells and society dropouts. Never been myself because of the rumors and perhaps the danger is overhyped.
But some people like that stuff. I just would never find myself there after the sun goes down. To me, it's not an essential visit if you want to learn about Salton Sea - this is just an add-on for those interested.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||01/12/2021|
The documentary at R7 (narrated by John Waters) is fabulous; it has everything. I stopped by there on a trip a few years ago but didn't stay overnight. I visited the Sonny Bono Nature Preserve, which was great for seeing owls and other birds, and basically stopped here and there for views on my way to Palm Desert. Didn't smell anything untoward. Salton City is surrealistic, like an inhabited moonscape. But I'm from the northeast, where treeless, harshly exposed landscapes are exotic.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||01/12/2021|
R32 - all those palm tree farms and other agriculture around there is what has killed the place with runoff fertilizer and pesticides. They just DO NOT BELONG THERE in the desert.
Moreover, there should NOT be farms of cabbage and lettuce and other crops down there. It is THE DESERT. This shit does not belong there and it's an ecological disaster.
If they have any hope of saving some of the area, they have to buy out all of the agriculture in that area. It's ridiculous. It makes me as angry as when I see huge grassy lawns in the Palm Springs area or Phoenix area. Massive, irresponsible waste of water and resources. Same goes for all the golf courses.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||01/12/2021|
[quote] They have done extensive work in cleaning up the rotting fish carcasses on the beaches, so the smell is much less than it used to be.
Do you have their contact information?
|by Anonymous||reply 40||01/12/2021|
[quote] What about Idyllwild?
Idyllwild is a good base to hike up to Mt. San Jacinto. City people rent cabins up there for the weekend as a sort of mountain escape. It's a cute little place to escape the chaos of the city.
|by Anonymous||reply 41||01/12/2021|
A little more on Idyllwild.
|by Anonymous||reply 42||01/12/2021|
[quote]They have done extensive work in cleaning up the rotting fish carcasses on the beaches
Seems like the least they could do.
|by Anonymous||reply 43||01/12/2021|
I went there two years ago during a trip to LV and PS. I love shady seedy places and the desert, so I was really happy that day. It’s all very exotic to me, being from the East. I like how when you stop in some of the crossroad towns, it feels like you’re in Mexico. Slab City was forboding, and I wouldn’t go there at night by myself, but I loved how strange it was. It’s like being in one of those melting clock Salvador Dali paintings.
|by Anonymous||reply 44||01/12/2021|
Idyllwild has apparently had a bit of a boom in the last few years and isn't as easy to visit or find lodging during the summer - many in PS use it now as the place to get away when it's 115-120F in the summer in the valley.
|by Anonymous||reply 45||01/12/2021|
Don’t go hiking in Idyllwild!! You’ll get lost for days and then die!
|by Anonymous||reply 46||01/12/2021|
You're high, right?
Idyllwild is a great place... trails all over through high desert mountain pine forests. Don't go in summer. Fall, late fall... or given it's another dry year, this winter would be good.
|by Anonymous||reply 47||01/12/2021|
We took a day trip there about ten years ago from Palm Springs. What I remember most:
1) the smell 2) stopping at the date store 3) hurrying back to Palm Springs to take my east coast-based nephew to In & Out Burger.
|by Anonymous||reply 48||01/12/2021|
Dumbest OP of the 8 o'clock hour.
|by Anonymous||reply 49||01/12/2021|
Thanks, OP. This was an interesting read. Report back from your visit!
|by Anonymous||reply 50||01/13/2021|
Save yourself the trouble and watch a few videos like this on YouTube. We don’t want you getting kidnapped by felons & meth freaks!
|by Anonymous||reply 51||01/14/2021|