We’re making a stop at the Amboy salt flats on our Route 66 journey! Here’s a unique opportunity to witness mining in action. The canals that line Amboy Road just south of Amboy Crater are filled with food grade liquid Calcium Chloride and water. This video was taken during the California wildfires in October of 2020.
Here’s another little tidbit: the “Amboy Salt Flats” are actually part of a larger, dry lake known as Bristol Lake. Once upon a time, Amboy was first of a series of alphabetical railroad stations across the Mojave Desert. If you look at Google Maps, you’ll see that the remaining existing listed Mojave Desert ghost towns along this portion of Route 66 are: Amboy, Cadiz, Danby, Fenner, Goffs, Homer, Ibis, Java, etc. (Follow the railroad tracks!) Bristol has disappeared from the map! My guess is that it’s been renamed Saltus.
To see the canals, you would have to park on a small pull-off. It’s easy to miss, but there’s a bigger location just around the sharp turn south of the canals, and you could walk to them along Amboy Road.
It is important to note that the canals are not located on public land. They are owned by the National Chloride Company of America, and these canals are a part of their business operations. Since this video was taken, the company installed a dirt barrier to keep visitors off of the property. I can’t say that I’m surprised, as the canal was filled with garbage on our visit.
From this spot you’ll also get a good view of the back of Amboy Crater. I’ve shared a piece about the Amboy crater out in the California side of the Mojave Desert in the past. It’s a 250 foot cinder cone volcanic crater that sticks up out of the desert floor and was once a popular tourist spot for tourists driving along Route 66. The cone itself is dark and offers a hiking opportunity for tourists to the region outside of the Mojave National Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park.
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