Notes, information, and suggestions: Sea of sand and sea of salt - Down, Down, Down to the Sea - CycleBlaze

Notes, information, and suggestions: Sea of sand and sea of salt

The Salton Sea and surrounding desert felt remote and isolated by bicycle, but this region is really quite accessible by automobile for anyone who wants to drive there and undertake a short tour. I made the long drive down from northern California, but the Palm Springs - Indio - Coachella area is only about two or three hours by car from LA and San Diego. It's also possible to fly into the local airport.

From that base camp, it should be easy enough to plot a route through the crops and desert and around the inland sea. I expected to make the circuit in four days, but ended up compressing the last two days into one fairly long jump. Motel and camping options are somewhat limited—unless you're willing to sleep in the sand—but reasonable.

I originally considered adding a couple of "arms" to my circle.

  • Arm number 1: Starting in Indio, it should be a nice ride via Mecca up to Cottonwood campground in Joshua Tree National Park. That could be a ride up one day, then a hike out to the Lost Palms Oasis and a quick downhill ride to the Salton Sea State Recreation Area the next day.
  • Arm number 2: From the Border Patrol station north of Brawley, it should be a reasonable ride up Highway 78 to Borrego Springs and the Palm Canyon campground in Anza-Borrego State Park. The next day, it looks like a good ride through the "badlands" down to Highway 86 at Salton City and on to Oasis or Indio.

As always, others have toured in the same area. Here are a couple of rides that should prove interesting and useful for planning purposes.

  • Jerry "Harpo" Harp did a two-day counter-clockwise circuit of the Salton Sea, and his report contains much valuable information about logistics. See "Salton Sea Round" by Jerry Harp.
  • Scott and Rachael Anderson, as part of a longer tour, rode down from Borrego Springs, around the northern end of the Salton Sea, and up to Joshua Tree. They have some good info, plus excellent photos. See "Christmas in Joshua Tree" by Scott and Rachael.

Bottom line? If you're enduring a cold, wet winter and want a warm, dry place to tour for a weekend or a week, there's a good chance the Salton Sea and surrounding area will fill the bill.

Ride safe!

More tours, day rides, articles, photos, information, resources, and links at Bill Bikes.

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