There are more than 85,000 acres of open desert and 500 miles of 4x4 trails in California state parks. The Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area has at least seven offroading spots with a mess of terrains. Plus, there's open camping throughout the area after you're done for the day.
You'd never see the Salton Sea otherwise
If you venture just a little further east, you’ll find the Salton Sea. It's the largest lake in California, but one in which you’d never want to swim. Once a mid-century paradise that attracted stars like Frank Sinatra and the Beach Boys, it's now a mostly abandoned wasteland with shorelines littered with thousands of dead fish. As if the putrid smell of rotting aquatic life permeating the air wasn’t enough, when you take a closer look, you realize the white beaches are white because they're made of pulverized fish bones... not sand. You’re asking yourself why the hell you’d ever want to go there, but the area’s overwhelming creepiness is all part of the appeal, and particularly attractive to photographers and documentarians. However, there is a beacon of light amongst all the ruin. The Instagram-worthy Salvation Mountain in Niland, CA, on the eastern side of the Salton Sea, is Leonard Knight’s 50ft high, 150ft wide tribute to his faith. It is certainly a rainbow-colored sight to behold in a forgotten place lousy with decay.