Geothermal Plant Tour and Wild Flowers In Borrego Springs

by Feb 15, 20190 comments


safety glasses, helmets, and steel toe shoes

We came out to Borrego Springs to go on a tour of the Imperial Valley geothermal plant near the Salton Sea on Friday. The tour was through the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association (ABDNHA).

If you’ve been out around the Salton Sea you have probably seen the cooling towers and the big columns of steam you can see from miles away. We have always wondered what was making that steam and finally we were going to find out! The guides at the geothermal plant asked that I don’t post any photos of the tour, so I’ve only got a shot from the street of one of the stations. They also don’t take walk-ins so you need to contact them in advance for a tour.

It was a fun day and we learned a lot about the volcanic activity in the area. We started the tour with a presentation from the CalEnergy people on how the plant works. There was a video, then some history of the plant and how the stations worked, then they answered our questions.

For the plant tour, we were outfitted with safety glasses, helmets, and steel toe shoes (a bit of overkill for what we were doing, but fun). We went across the street to climb up a platform for a closer look at some of the pipes and more explanations about how it all worked.

The tour included the control room, where we chatted with the controller about how he manages the steam flow to create energy, and then returns the leftover steam and water back into the ground to be reheated and used again. It was pretty fascinating.

A bonus to this trip was the flowers!

We have had some great rain showers this spring in southern California and sometimes that means wild flowers in the desert. I have high hopes for this wildflower season! The wildflowers are already starting to bloom. I expect that the peak will be in the next two weeks.

First, we explored the end of Di Giorgio Road. This area had a good variety of flowers. Then, we went out Henderson Flats road to S22 near mile 31. This area had some nice large patches of purple sand verbena’s. They are located in a bowl so you don’t seem them until you are practically on top of them.

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These resources can help you plan your own trip

Energy nerds can geek out with details from Cal Energy on their Imperial Valley facility here. And a bit more nerdy info can be found on the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website. You can take a really informative virtual tour of the geothermal plant here.

Learn more about the area from the Borrego Springs Chamber of Commerce. The Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association offers activities and tours in and around Borrego Springs and the park. They cover a wide range of topics and skill levels. You can see that page here.

Enjoy the journey!

Karin H Wilson

Karin H Wilson

Artist | Designer | Photographer | Traveler | Storyteller

I am Karin and I just love to share a good story — preferably with snacks! I’m particularly interested in capturing the world’s beauty and wonder in photographs.

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