Ivanpah Lake (California USA)

Dazzled by the glare of the dry lake along Interstate 15 on the border between California and Nevada, together with the light of a mysterious tower in the distance.

Eastern California bordering Nevada. A dry lake that stretches along Interstate 15 located in desert area. This dry lake is a picturesque place where can experience as a special space. There is nothing around, when stepping on the dry surface of the lake, feeling as if I am in an extraterrestrial space.

There is a casino town called “Primm Valley” near this Ivanpa Lake. It is truly a place where only casino hotels exist, and as of 2019, there are three casino hotels in operation. “Whiskey Petes”, “Buffalo Bills”, “Primm Valley Resort”. “Buffalo Bills” is famous for its roller coaster, which used to be filled with people’s cheers. The place where this casino hotel is located is in Nevada, and Ivanpa Lake spreads out in the place where it crosses the state line and entered California a little south.

In 2001, when I was driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, I got off the Interstate and drove around the Dry Lake as I was drawn to the vast Dry Lake seen from Interstate 15. When parked the car in the dry lake and turn off the engine, I could get in a silent world. Looking around, I could see the hotels in “Primm Valley” and “Interstate 15” in the distance. I could see the faint movement of cars running on the road in the distance, but I could see a fantastic sight without sound.

“Interstate 15” exits at Exit 291, Yates Well Road. When I visited in 2001, I was able to drive into the dry lake on the north side of the interstate 15. However, when I visited in 2018, it was covered with greenery and I could not find a place to enter the dry lake even if I wandered the road. I have also noticed dry lakes in “Badwater” in “Death Valley National Park”, and “Soda Lake” near the town of “Baker”, that over the last two decades or so, there has been a trend for shirinking of the dry lake area, and this might be a climate change around.

On the south side of Exit 291, both in 2001 and 2018, fences were installed over the dry lake and it was not possible to enter inside. After confirming, it seems that the purpose of entering the dry lake is limited to land sailing and a permission is required. The entrance to Dry Lake seems to be on the “Primm Valley” side. When visited in 2018, I wandered around to see if I could access the lake bed from the “Primm Valley” side, but I could not find it, so I guess that the place to enter the dry lake will probably open when permission is granted.

Another reason I like this place is the straight road. It is a place that descends southwest from “Primm Valley”, but this place is also a valuable place to feel the vast land. When seeing the straight road in front and the scenery around it while driving, my head becomes empty and I can immerse myself in a state of “nothing” where I cannot think of anything.

Looking at the far end of the road, the road is being sucked into the horizon, then staring at that one point, I have no idea where I am. In addition, since the road is straight, there is no need to operate the steering wheel, and the surrounding scenery does not change, so even if I am driving at 75-80 miles per hour, I cannot feel the speed, and I was involved with a strange feeling.

Turn on the cruise control, fix the speed at 80 miles per hour (about 130 km/h), take my right foot off the accelerator and brake, focusing only on the road leading to the horizon that can be seen in front, occasionally looking at Ivanpah Lake spreads to the left and right, and looking forward again. This series of actions is a process that has never been experienced to make the thought circuit “nothing”. If checking the map, the distance of this straight line is about 15 km, but no matter when I come, I am overwhelmed by this process that I have never experienced.

Well, this place has changed completely with the construction of a solar power plant in 2014. On the north side of Interstate 15, the steel tower that controls solar power generation stands in the wilderness, and the sunlight collected by the reflectors placed around the tower is concentrated. The focal point of the concentrated sunlight was so dazzling that I could not lay my eyes on it. This photovoltaic power plant, when getting close, has a steel tower with a height of 40 to 50 meters, and the structure is such that reflectors are arranged so as to surround the steel tower. The direction of the reflector plate is adjusted automatically, and the sunlight gathers on the upper part of the steel tower.

This place is located along Interstate 15, and I hope that you will stop by when driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and experience the vast landscape.

2001, 2002, 2018 and other multiple visits

Basic Information

​■ Name : Ivanpah Lake
■ Homepage: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivanpah_Lake