What Remains of the Salton Sea

Southern California doesn’t have the history required to create a lot of ghost towns.  The Salton Sea is a sort of natural equivalent though.  Formed in a strange accident that saw the Colorado River flooding the Borrego desert for several years, the Salton Sea became a huge tourism mecca before slowly dying a slow death as agricultural runoff polluted the water and the lack of any source of replenishment dried much of the lake away.

Today, not much remains.  I’m going to post a series of pictures I took 12 years ago – I can’t speak to the current state of the place but I’m willing to guess it’s no better.

This is the start of a few posts that, for the first time here, are going to be scans of actual film negatives instead of the normal digital stuff.  Because of that, the EXIF information will be missing.  I do know that most of this was taken with a Canon A-1 or a Canon Eos Elan 2E and a 50mm 1.8.  I’ll post more info when I have it.

This is the Sundowner Motel – I have a few more shots of the place as well.  It had obviously been closed a long time, but I’ve learned it burned down in 1998, a few years before these pictures were taken.


  • Credit: Ari Brown
  • Taken: 25 March, 2012

Sundowner Motel, South West side of Salton Sea, 3.6.2000