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Guide to Visiting Geothermal Mud Volcanoes or Mud Pots at Salton Sea

Mud Volcanoes

Mud Volcanoes

What is a mud volcano? Mud pot?

I honestly had no idea until doing research for our upcoming daily outing to visit the Salton Sea. What I quickly learned is that there are few places in the world to witness this phenomenon, and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share experiencing it with my children.


Where to park


Exact location

Getting there
Everyone online had mentioned how impossible it was to get to the mud volcanos (rough dirt roads). What nobody has mentioned online is that there is a newly built power plant next to the mud volcanoes, and they have paved about 1/2 of the road (McDonald).


Off Highway 111, turn on McDonald Road. Then make a left on Davis Road. The mud volcanoes will be on your left at the corner of Davis Road and Schrimpe Road (don’t take Schrimpf Road back to Highway 111 – it is not even close to being paved – avoid this road all together).


What I wish I had known
You are going to be amazed. When we first arrived it looked boring, and, in fact, the kids did not want to get out of the car in the 110-degree heat. Once I walked up to the volcanoes, I called my husband and told them to hurry over to see this amazing phenomenon.




The kids were amazed! There were bubbling sounds coming from the pools in the ground and mud shooting out of the volcanoes. It was very overwhelming. I was afraid of the kids getting too close. I was nervous that they would fall in or touch the water and have their finger burned off – but once I got home and did some research there is nothing to be too worried about.



One of the bubbling pools


Things to know
It is located on private property. The State Park Ranger advised us that they do allow people to see them, but at your own risk (and to be respectful that you’re on private property).




The ground is hot! So hot that my flip flop started to melt when I was standing in the same spot for too long. It is hotter than normal because of the molten lava not too far below the surface in this seismic area. Have your kids wear tennis shoes, and be prepared for them to be covered in mud when returning to the car.




Not only is the ground hot – but also the area around the entire Salton Sea. Bring your kids with hats, sunscreen, and extra (extra) water. Don’t go visit this destination without a full tank of gas. There are no gas stations anywhere near the Salton Sea, and only one small deli.


What causes them
Palm Springs Life Magazine reported that according to the San Diego State University Center for Inland Waters, an intrusion of molten magma about 20 miles long, four miles wide, and at least one to two miles thick lies perhaps as close as 4,000 feet from the Earth’s surface along the southeast shore. Temperatures in the Salton Sea Geothermal Field can reach 680 degrees less than a mile below your feet.


Weird red water running next to the power plant

Have fun exploring this hidden gem of California with your children. Stay tuned for more fun things to explore around the Salton Sea this week on the OC Mom Blog.

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  1. Lovely.!

  2. Do you remember how you contacted a State Park Ranger? I would like to visit these mud pots for geologic research from sdsu, but am unable to figure out who to contact about entering the private property.

  3. Thank you so much for guiding us to this amazing place! We also saw some burrowing owls! (In the ditch along Estelle Rd.)

  4. Delightful travel log. Thank you.

  5. Hi to every one, the contents present at this site are actually remarkable for people experience, well,
    keep up the nice work fellows.

  6. Did you need a Jeep to off road to the mud pits or is a can just ok?

    • I meant a van, sorry

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