Virtual Guidebook to El Camino Real
Soda Lake and Painted Rock on the Carrizo Plain
Carrizo Plain National Monument California


The Carrizo Plain, despite its elevation of about 2000 feet (600 meters) is very flat, and most of it drains inward to a shallow intermitent lake. Lakes with no outlet, known as endorheic lakes, concentrate minerals present in local waters, and end up either as salt lakes or salt flats.

The Soda Lake probably dates from the end of the Pleistocene, when the climate became drier and warmer. Its size varies dramatically from year to year and between winter and summer. The water and dry-lake deposits consist mostly of salt with sulfates and carbonates.



 thumbnail

Soda Lake overlook at the north end of the Carrizo Plain

(March 20, 2005)


 thumbnail

Boardwalk at the edge of the Soda Lake

(April 27, 2003)


 thumbnail

Spring flowers south of the Soda Lake

(March 20, 2005)


 thumbnail

The old Selby Ranch, Carrizo Plain

(April 27, 2003)


Next Locality: Central Carrizo Plain