Plan Your Visit

A flock of snow geese rests in a grassy field with a desert hill behind them.

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.


Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR Complex Headquarters and Visitor Center

906 W. Sinclair Road

Calipatria, CA 92233

 

Phone: 760-348-5278

Fax: 760-348-7245

 

Visitor Center

Here, volunteers are available to provide you with maps, brochures and checklists, and let you know what is happening on the refuge.  The Center is surrounded by agricultural fields, the Salton Sea, Alamo River and freshwater wetland habitats. Inside, you will find a bird diorama and a bookstore, and just outside is one of our wildlife viewing trails.  

 

Hours 

  • Summer-- March through October: 
  • Monday to Friday from 7:00 A.M. to 3:15 P.M.
  • Winter-- October through March: 
  • Tuesday to Sunday from 8:00 A.M. to 4:15 P.M.

* The days and hours may vary due to availability of staff and volunteers.  The Visitor Center is closed on all national holidays. The Refuge is open from sunrise to sunset.

  

Tips to help you enjoy your visit:  

  • Bring binoculars, spotting scopes, and cameras to enhance your visit
  • Visit the Refuge with a friend to share the experience
  • Attend a group program or tour
  • Contact the Complex for information and recent wildlife sightings
  • Respect other refuge visitors’ viewing opportunities
  • Minimize disturbance to wildlife
  • Keeping noise levels to a minimum will enhance wildlife viewing
  • Bring water, sunscreen, hats, and appropriate clothing for weather conditions

Please see the Visitor Activities page for more information on how you can enjoy the refuge.

 

Driving 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.