Explore San Diego: The Salt Mines of Chula Vista

CHULA VISTA -- The salt mines of Chula Vista have been around since the 1800’s, yet very few know about them or what they do.

South Bay Salt Works produces tons of commercial salt used in livestock feed, jet fuel and to soften water.

The factory uses the sun's energy to extract salt from the ocean -- a process that takes about six months and hasn't changed much since 1870.

The salt ponds of what’s called the second oldest business in San Diego County have created a wildlife refuge for endangered and threatened species to thrive, which is why the land is protected by U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

The bike path at Swiss Park is the best way to explore this gem.