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Plan Your Visit

The Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge provides numerous recreation opportunities to thousands of visitors every year. People enjoy viewing the unique geology and diverse wildlife, whether driving or hiking. Regulation of recreation activities allow for public enjoyment of the refuge while still protecting the wildlife and habitats.

Directions  

From Interstate 10 East, take the Highway 86S exit towards Brawley/El Centro.  Continue south on Highway 86S for approximately 15 miles.  Turn left of Route 195, also called 66th Avenue.  At the next stop sign, turn right onto Highway 111 and continue south for approximately 60 miles.  Once you pass through Niland, continue south 4 miles to Sinclair Road and turn right.  Head west of Sinclair Road until you arrive to the Refuge Headquarters parking lot.  Sinclair Road ends at this point.  

 

From Interstate 10 West, take the Dillon Rd. exit south towards Highway 86S.  Head south on Highway 86S approximately 15 miles.  Turn on Route 195, also called 66th Ave.  At the next stop sigh, turn right onto Highway 111 and continue south for approximately 60 miles.  Once you pass through Niland, continue south 4 miles to Sinclair Road and turn right.  Head west on Sinclair Road until you come to the Refuge sign.  Sinclair Road ends at this point. 

 

Coming from either direction on Interstate 8, exit onto Forrester Road.  Travel north towards the town of Westmorland.  Continue north through Westmorland on Forrester Road, which turns into Gentry Road.  Continue north on Gentry Road until you see the Refuge sign and parking area.  Gentry Road ends at this point. 

 

Plan Your Visit  

 

Your first stop should be at the Visitor Center, located at the Junction of Sinclair and Gentry Roads.  The Center is surrounded by agricultural fields, the Salton Sea, and Alamo River and freshwater wetland habitats.  Inside, you will find a bird diorama and a bookstore.  Proceeds from the sale of books and other educational items benefit the Refuge’s educational programs. 

Outside, a self-guided trail will introduce you to the habitats found in a desert ecosystem.  There is also an observation tower and picnic area located near the main parking lot.  The Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 A.M. to 3:15 P.M., March through September.  In Mid-October through February, the Visitor Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 A.M. to 3:15 P.M. and Saturday & Sunday from 8:00 A.M. to 4:15 P.M.  The Refuge is open from sunrise to sunset.   

The Visitor Center is closed on all national holidays. 

 

Roads throughout the refuge are graveled and visitors must maintain the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Parking is allowed in designated parking areas only. Overnight parking is not allowed on the refuge.

Hiking is allowed in all areas open to the public. Wildlife observation and photography are encouraged. Please refrain from entering closed areas to minimize disturbance to resting wildlife and endangered species.

Boat fishing only is permitted, except where posted as closed.  From April 1 to September 30, areas of the Salton Sea within the refuge are open to boat fishing.  These areas are closed to all entry at other times of the year.  Bank fishing is not permitted at any time.

Sport hunting is permitted on the refuge in accordance with all state and federal regulations. Hunters should consult the California state hunting regulations.

Prohibitions on the refuge are dogs off-leashes and collecting of plants, animals, minerals, and artifacts.

Lodging is available in Brawley, Calipatria, and Westmorland. Telephones, gas and supplies are available year-round.

 

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2012
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