IMG_4541 Southern California’s Salton Sea has a fascinating history – created basically by accident, the sea was a high-class vacation getaway for SoCal residents, an important stop for migratory birds, and a place for outcast artists and desert dreamers.

Lately, the Sea has had its share of environmental problems, including fishkills and receding shorelines. Now it’s known mostly as a place to take some amazing post-apocalyptic photos of decaying buildings, although several groups are working tirelessly to restore the Sea to a state of health.

The Sea and Desert Interpretive Association is one such organization, and to highlight the beauty of the Salton Sea they’re offering guided kayaking tours over the next several weeks.

The weekend tours are free and designed for entry level kayakers. The remaining tour dates are as follows:

Sunday, March 20th Kayak Tour noon

Saturday, April 2rd Kayak Tour 10 AM
Saturday, April 9th Kayak Tour 10 AM
Saturday, April 16th Sunrise Tour 6 AM
Saturday, April 23rd Spring Festival Mini Kayak Tours 12-2 PM

According to the event description, kayakers should bring a change of clothes, a hat, water, and sunscreen. Children are allowed to join in but must be accompanied by an adult (there are four double-kayaks for families). Only 16 paddlers can join in on each tour, so sign up as soon as you can by calling the Salton Sea Visitor Center at 760-393-3810. Be sure to confirm your reserved space on the morning of the trip, as weather or other conditions may cancel.

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Casey Schreiner

Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Modern Hiker
Since founding Modern Hiker in 2006, Casey's writing has appeared in Backpacker, Adventure Journal, the REI Blog, and Sierra Trading Post's Social Hub.

He has also been featured on Good Morning America, NPR, and the Associated Press, as well as in documentaries for Columbia Sportswear and the OTIS College of Art and Design.

Casey was one of eight people chosen by the National Parks Foundation to participate in the 2015 Find Your Park Expedition and is currently writing a book on day hikes in Los Angeles for Mountaineers Books.

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This post was written by Casey Schreiner on March 18, 2011


  • barbara cole says:

    Superb experience and the ranger/volunteers are extremely helpful. Especially good for novices. Have done it a couple of times.

  • Mark C. says:

    I did the Salton Sea sunrise kayak tour today with a buddy of mine and his daughter. It was our first time at Salton Sean, and our first time kayaking. We had a great time! We also checked out the nearby mud volcanoes and Salvation Mountain. What a great day! Thanks for the info and inspiration!

  • Jennie Kelly says:

    When you visit the sea, be sure and stop in at the Salton Sea History Museum & Visitor Center inside the restored North Shore Yacht Club ( It is located one mile north of the visitor center at the Salton Sea State Park on Highway 111. The museum works hand-in-hand with the Sea & Desert Interpretive Association and together we love to share the history of the area, information and cool places to visit around the sea.

  • This looks like a whole lot of fun. I will bring my tandem kayak and somehow waterproof my camera.

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