Back to Route 66 Guide

Bristol Dry Lake

Near Amboy on Historic Rt 66

Ever wonder where that salt at your table comes from? Well, Bristol Dry Lake is one of the sources. With 60 million tons in reserve, you will be able to salt your food for some time to come. Bristol Lake is a dry lake bed in the desert near the Mojave National Preserve.

Bristol Lake is located three miles east of Amboy at an elevation of about 600 feet. The mineral halite, (sodium chloride - NaCl), occurs as a crystal body underlying the lake. The surface of the playa lake is composed of sand, clay, and gypsum. Bristol Lake is in the California Mojave desert, near Amboy. Two interesting materials present are sulfates and halite. The surface material is thinnest at the southern portion of Bristol Dry Lake and thickens to the north. In the southern portion of the dry lake, the overburden does not exceed three feet in thickness. The crystal body is of high-grade halite, crystallized in cubes, filled with brine which is principally calcium chloride.

Some mud, largely of volcanic ash origin, is found with the salt body. The salt body has an average thickness of 5 feet. Underlying this salt body is a bed of bluish clay 8 to 10 feet in thickness and then another bed of salt reported to average 5 feet in thickness. The lake is covered by a few inches of water in the winter, but for the most part it's dry and very salty. Managed by the BLM.

The lake is still actively mined.



Below is a picture of the lake after a major rain in 2010.


Other locations to visit in Mojave Desert

Amboy Crater - Cinder Cones - Goffs - Hole in the Wall - Kelso Depot - Kelso Dunes - Mitchell Caverns


For a Book and Map of the area see our
Mohave Road Guid



Share this page on Facebook:

DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)

The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms


Enter Email:

Shop desert store



Copyright © 1996- and Digital West Media, Inc. - -