The land is dry, cracked and barren and everywhere you step is a bubbling, active volcano. It smells like the tar pits and in this highly seismic area, it is normal to feel an occasional earth shake.
We knew we had to venture back in time by witnessing the geothermal wonders of the Salton Sea Mud Volcanoes. Although not true volcanoes (because they don’t produce lava), they still spew and bubble with molten mud, creating a fun and fascinating sight. The earth is always making a mud-like substance and it mixes with the boiling water that is heated deep within the earth. This hot mud is forced upward by an intense amount of pressure from a geological fault which creates the appearance of these mini volcanoes and mud baths.
The Salton Sea area has a tremendous amount of heat rising from the earth’s crust known as geothermal activity. In addition to the geothermal activity, this area sits below sea level and directly on the overly active San Andreas Fault. These geological ingredients create a “hot bed” (pun intended) and breeding ground for these miniature natural wonders. We had heard that the smell was really intense, but during our visit the area directly around the simmering pots smelled like the La Brea Tar Pits but it was not overwhelming. We had a great time getting dirty and listening to the earth gurgle and spit. On multiple occasions, we got a little too close and the mud volcanoes reminded us that this was their home, by flinging scalding hot mud on us!
Each volcano had their own story to tell, some were big open pits, some were boiling mud baths and some were a perfect representation of real volcano. The mud pots are not hard to find and can be easily reached by car, but be sure to dress appropriately to avoid the occasional mud flinging and spitting!
Totally Trailer recommends that you take your RV or trailer and camp on nearby BLM land or at the Fountain of Youth Resort in neighboring Niland, CA.