Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, Calipatria

3.6
#204 of 239 in Wildlife in California
The Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge is located north of the Mexican border at the southern end of the Salton Sea in California’s Imperial Valley. Situated along the Pacific Flyway, the Refuge is the only one of its kind, located below sea level. Because of its southern latitude, elevation and location in the Colorado Desert, the Refuge experiences some of the highest temperatures in the nation. Daily temperatures from May to October generally exceed 100 °F with temperatures of 116°–120 °F recorded yearly.HistoryThe refuge was established as a sanctuary and breeding ground for birds and wild animals in 1930. In 1998, the refuge was renamed after Congressman Sonny Bono, who played an active role in trying to save the Salton Sea. Originally, it included approximately. Nearly 60 percent of the original acreage was an open saline lake with the remainder being shoreline alkali flats, freshwater wetlands, native desert scrub and upland (farm fields). Due to the inflow of agricultural effluent and a subsequent rise in the level of the Salton Sea, all of the original Refuge area has been inundated. At present, only about 2,200acre manageable remain suitable for farming and wetland development.GeographyThe topography of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR is flat, except for Rock Hill, which is located at the refuge headquarters. The refuge is bordered by the Salton Sea on the north and intensively farmed agricultural lands on the east, south and west.
Make Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge part of your personalized Calipatria itinerary using our Calipatria day trip planner .
Source
Create an itinerary including Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge
map
Places to stay near Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge
Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 3.5
52 reviews
Google
4.0
TripAdvisor
  • Very large park with several habitats for bird watching. We stayed 2 days it was beautiful and very nice. I highly recommend it. The views are beautiful and very easy trails.
    View original
  • Sonny Bono NWR, Imperial Wildlife Wisteria Unit, and Finney-Ramer Unit are terrible places to go. The roads to them are unkept especially Finley-Ramer which at one time had shelters. There is no visit...  more »
  • The Salton Sea, especially the southern end, is a migratory hot spot. It is also the most reliable place to see the Yellow-footed Gull. If you don't have that species on your life list, get thee to th...  more »
Google
  • Great place to visit. If you are a birder you will enjoy the diversity of birds. Burrowing Owl, Gambil's Quail and Snow geese abound.
  • Used to be a great spot but pollution is horrible, two of most contaminated rivers in US flow into it, even wildlife cant survive there and fish are inedible. Smells nasty too
  • A must-visit destination for birders and other naturalists with opportunities to view some of the richest diversity of birds in North America.
  • It's a small Wildlife Refuge for ducks and geese as they head south for the winter it has freshly planted fields to feed them viewing stations and nature walks. It's not the biggest deal out there but if you have time to take a look during the winter months mainly November through February to see the most birds.
  • Wonderful location to observe Snow Geese and the Salton Sea. I was disappointed that the circular trail was closed, forcing an out and back walk.

Plan your trip to Calipatria

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge by other users

60 days in United States, Tijuana & Vancouver BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Joshua Tree National Park BY A USER FROM CANADA December, culture, outdoors, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in Yuma BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 11 days in Yuma BY A USER FROM CANADA April, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: April, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Yuma BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 57 days in Borrego Springs BY A USER FROM CANADA January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in United States BY A USER FROM SWITZERLAND August, culture, outdoors, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 7 days in Yuma BY A USER FROM CANADA June, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 9 days in Indian Wells BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 23 days in Palm Desert BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 9 days in Palm Desert BY A USER FROM SINGAPORE March, romantic, historic sites, wildlife, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, romantic, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 5 days in Yuma BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: March, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy
View more plans