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Day trip from San Diego – Salton Sea and/or park hiking?

Day trip from San Diego – Salton Sea and/or park hiking?

Old Jan 14, 19, 10:14 am
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Day trip from San Diego – Salton Sea and/or park hiking?

Hi!

In a few days i’ve got a spare day in San Diego, and have decided to hire a car to head out of the city. I like the idea of driving to Salton Sea to check out the toxic wasteland, doing a big circuit to get there, stopping at some of the parks on the way for some hiking.

Can anyone suggest which are most worth a stop, and any trails they particularly like? From what I can tell, there’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Cleveland National Forest and Hellhole Canyon Preserve roughly on the route.

I know the weather is looking a bit dodgy this week, but Wednesday currently looks dryish in San Diego. I presume around Salton Sea it should be dry too. Any ideas about the parks? With names like Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, I guess they’re normally dry!


Thanks!
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Old Jan 14, 19, 12:31 pm
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You honestly won't want to spend a lot of time at the Salton Sea. Not only does it stink but it's depressing. Personally, I love Anza-Borrego but it is really best if you have an off-pavement vehicle and know how to use it. Still, there are some very nice things to see from on, or near, the paved highway if you are into desert.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 12:39 pm
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I agree with that comment. I visited the Salton Sea a couple of weeks ago and that was a waste of time, and I was only traveling from LaQuinta which is one hour away. There is nothing there that I found worth seeing, just a huge dead lake filled with algae.
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Old Jan 14, 19, 12:45 pm
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Anza Borrego State Park gets my vote.

I visited Salton Sea (on the east shore) once, and I found it interesting for a little bit. Lots of dead things washing up.

Anza is pretty amazing. There is a great hike up a canyon to a Palm Oasis that I really enjoyed. This is a nice time of year to do it. I saw some big horn sheep on the slopes watching me.

I have been there many times and it is a great park. It was dry and sunny last time but a little windy. In the canyon it was just beautiful and no wind.

Enjoy!
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Old Jan 14, 19, 5:15 pm
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I understand the comments about Salton Sea being a waste of time... but I think it's really dope. It DOES stink, but pulling up into a beach filled with fish bones instead of sand is an experience. I missed out on East Jesus, but my friends recommend it- lots of art, Mad Max-esque. Salvation Mountain is pretty cool. Bombay Beach is interesting knowing the history of it- from a glamourous resort to a deteriorated dump- but I felt a little sketched as some people still live there and don't seem too friendly.

Anza Borrego is beautiful. I liked the slot canyon, Hellhole Canyon, and checking out the art installations around the town.

I'd choose Anza Borrego if everything was 50/50. But Salton Sea can be a fun day trip if you want to just drive around and make pit stops.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 12:54 pm
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Originally Posted by fishfly View Post

...Anza Borrego is beautiful. I liked the slot canyon, Hellhole Canyon, and checking out the art installations around the town.

I'd choose Anza Borrego if everything was 50/50. But Salton Sea can be a fun day trip if you want to just drive around and make pit stops.
If by pit stop, you mean stopping by a place that's a pit, then I totally agree. There is a casino on the west side of the Salton Sea road and on the east side, the town of Mecca (yeah, that's it's name!) has at least one fast food place, I forget which one.

The slot canyon in Anza Borrego is probably reachable by a regular car driven slowly, just don't continue onwards on the road after you've done the hike as it leads to a dropoff that isn't that long but clearly cannot be done without an offroad vehicle and the skills to use it properly. And if you make it, you then have to navigate an area at the bottom called the Palisades which can also be a challenge of a different sort.
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Old Jan 16, 19, 1:35 pm
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Another +1 on Anza Borrego. It's truly remarkable. You can get to some of the canyons and mud caves for hiking by driving a regular street vehicle on flat dirt roads-- provided you're familiar with driving such terrain, including knowing when to turn back because if conditions are too tough for your vehicle. Do a search for the "Hollywood and Vine" sign.
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