EXPLORING WILD DEATH VALLEY SUV 4X4 4WD JEEP ROADS TRAILS HIKING INFORMATION VISITOR TOURIST GUIDE MAP SIGHTS ATTRACTIONS
 

 

Briefings of 112 old backcountry trails in the Death Valley Territory (over 1,000 miles)

Echo Canyon sign at Highway 190, early morning

I have divided Death Valley National Park into three sections: Northern, Central, and Southern. The roads are found depending on where they exist in the Park, generally from north to south and west to east. They are not listed alphabetically. The NORTHERN SECTION spans from the extreme northern corner of DVNP south to Teakettle Junction. The CENTRAL SECTION spans from Teakettle Junction south to Telescope Peak. The SOUTHERN SECTION spans from Telescope Peak south to the extreme southern border.

NOTES: Many roads may have different names on different maps, or no name at all. Nameless roads have had a moniker bestowed by yours truly (such as the Cottonwood Creek road, named because it crosses the creek by that name, and not to be confused with the Cottonwood Canyon road). A few longer roads may be listed in more than one section, as they span many miles. Many of these dirt backroads are also discussed in greater depth on the A-Z Guide and in my Journal. A quick visual trail rating appears next to the trail name, using these icons: a GREEN CIRCLE means "easy" - a BLUE SQUARE means "moderate" - and a RED DIAMOND means "difficult".

TRAILS ARE RATED ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION FOR LESS EXPERIENCED DRIVERS.

A difficult trail may also have many easy sections. An easy trail today may be an impassible trail tomorrow!

Many of these earthen backroads do not require four wheel drive, yet I recommend it anyway since the terrain can change radically from what is described here. Weather events are the primary reason for significant roadbed deterioration in a short time period. For example, some years Goler Canyon is no more challenging than class-3, but others have found it class-5. Always expect the unexpected out here! See the Road Classification Guide following the discussion for much more detailed descriptors of primitive dirt roadways.

A number appears by each trail described. By clicking on that number, it will take you to a map page that will give you an approximate idea where in Death Valley National Park the backroad is. Trails with a letter designation indicate they are outside the Park boundary, in whole or part. Please have your detailed DVNP map handy when referring to this discussion and rough online map.

There are more than 900 miles of primitive dirt backroads within the Park boundaries, however not all are addressed here. Add another 400+ miles for the adjacent primitive roadways outside the DVNP boundary line. Total primitive roadbed distance in the entire Death Valley territory exceeds 1300 miles (over 1,000 miles of which are addressed in this discussion). Distances are approximate in some cases.

 
Journal Entry: Day Four - April 19, Monday

Why do I keep returning to this place when it's frequented by so many other visitors compared to most of my usual haunts? Answer is simple: it's just so spectacular to be this minuscule compared to sky-bound and tight cliffs on either side! Today I am driving down Titus Canyon, a 26 mile drive that begins in Nevada, not far west of Rhyolite ghost city. Red Pass this morning was a real treat, no other vehicles, a feeling as if I had traveled back in time. About a half hour ago, I passed the mining scam town of Leadfield, promoted by Charles Julian, a con man who cheated innocent folks out of their money. A few structures still remain here for history buffs to explore. After that, I stopped and saw the petroglyphs, clearly signed by the Park Service, some of which have been scratched on by modern visitors unfortunately. Now before me are the incredible narrows of Titus, often washed out by floods, but open today to vehicular travel. This feels like Monarch Canyon in here.

 

WILD AND REMOTE 4WD BACKROADS IN DVNP AND REGION

* None of these roads are paved, thank goodness! *

 

NORTHERN SECTION

 

PIPER MOUNTAIN ROAD: A flat, hilly, and twisty 14.3 mile canyon road connecting Highway 168 in the Deep Springs Valley to the Eureka Valley area to the south - conditions are class 2 and class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking a seldom traveled road that allows access to the Park's northern regions - in a corridor of the Piper Mountain Wilderness. (O)

FISH LAKE VALLEY ROAD: A flat, hilly, and twisty 12.7 mile canyon road connecting Highway 168 east of the White Mountains to the Cucomungo Canyon and North Eureka Valley roads to the south - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to enter or exit the northern border of the Park via an adventurous dirt road - surrounded by the Piper Mountain and Sylvania Mountains Wilderness areas. (P)

PIPER / FISH LAKE ROAD: A flat, hilly, and twisty 6.1 mile road connecting the southern portion of the Piper Mountain road in the northern end of the Eureka Valley to the Fish Lake Valley road to the northeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking a shortcut between the two roads. (Q)

CUCOMUNGO CANYON ROAD: A flat and hilly 11.2 mile canyon road connecting the North Eureka Valley road to the Tule Canyon road to the northeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore a spectacular and secluded canyon that is rarely visited due to its isolation - this canyon road forms the northern boundary of DVNP. (A)

TULE CANYON ROAD: A hilly, mountainous and twisty 19.1 mile road connecting the Cucomungo Canyon road to the Oriental Wash road to the southeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the many miles of backroads and old mining operations of the Gold Point and Gold mountain region - carry extra fuel. (B)

NORTH EUREKA VALLEY ROAD: A flat and moderately hilly 7.8 mile road connecting the west end of Cucomungo Canyon road to the Big Pine/Death Valley to the south - conditions are generally class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to access Cucomungo Canyon from the Park - occasional washouts after rains. (1)

BIG PINE / DEATH VALLEY ROAD: A mostly flat 44.5 mile road connecting the northern border area of the Park to the Ubehebe Crater road to the south - conditions are usually class 1 - recommended for all backroad drivers wishing to enter or exit the Park at its northern boundary - well graded - if driven from the town of Big Pine on Hwy 395 all the way to the Ubehebe road, it's roughly 70 miles. (2)

LAST CHANCE MOUNTAIN ROAD: A flat and hilly 3.5 mile road connecting the Last Chance Mountain area to Crankshaft Crossing to the south - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking a moderate challenge and superb seclusion. (3)

COTTONWOOD CREEK ROAD: A mostly flat 4 mile road connecting Crankshaft Crossing to the Nevada state line to the northeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the Nevada ghost town areas of Tule Canyon. (4)

SOUTH EUREKA VALLEY ROAD: A flat and washboarded 9.6 mile road connecting the Big Pine/Death Valley road to the Eureka Sand Dunes to the south - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to visit the singing dunes from the north end of the Park. (5)

ORIENTAL WASH ROAD: A flat 3.5 mile road connecting the Big Pine/Death Valley road to the Nevada border to the east - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to visit Tule Canyon, Oriental Wash, and the Gold Mountain ghost camps. (6)

GOLD MOUNTAIN ROAD: A flat and mountainous 13.7 mile road connecting the northern end of the Sarcobatus Flat road to the eastern portion of Oriental Wash to the northwest - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the many miles of backroads and old mining operations of the Gold Mountain area - accessed from Nevada Highway 267, 19.4 miles northeast of Scotty's Castle in California. (C)

WILLOW SPRING ROAD: A flat, hilly, and mountainous 10.5 mile road connecting Nevada Highway 267 just west of Sarcobatus Flat to Gold Mountain's Willow Spring to the northwest - conditions are class 1 to class 3 near the end - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a remote and lonely camp on the southern side of Gold Mountain - dead-end road. (5)

SARCOBATUS FLAT ROAD: A flat 18.8 mile road connecting Nevada Highway 267 west of Scotty's Junction to the Strozzi Ranch/Phinney Canyon road to the south - conditions are mostly class 2, - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking the grand solitude of western Nevada, and exploration of the desert east of the Grapevine Mountains of the Amargosa Range - can be combined with the Gold Mountain road and other northern Nevada roads for considerable exploration. (S)

JACKASS FLATS ROAD: A flat and hilly 6 mile road connecting the Big Pine road at the western border of the Park to Jackass Flats to the southeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking a remote and seldom visited locale in the western Saline Range. (7)

DEDECKERA CANYON ROAD: A flat, sandy, and mountainous 10.3 mile road connecting the Eureka Sand Dunes to Steel Pass to the south - conditions are class 2 to class 4 - recommended only for expert backroad drivers seeking ultimate seclusion on the way to visiting Dedeckera Canyon and Steel Pass from the Eureka Dunes. (8)

SALINE VALLEY ROAD: A mountainous and flat 20.1 mile road connecting the Big Pine road to the Saline Valley Sand Dunes to the south (this road continues south in the 'Central Section' listings below) - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers in dry weather (North Pass may be snowbound in winter) seeking to visit the Saline Valley warm springs from the north end of the Park. (9)

RACETRACK VALLEY ROAD: A flat and extremely washboarded 19.4 mile road connecting Ubehebe Crater to Teakettle Junction to the south (continues in the 'Central Section' listings below) - conditions are class 1 and class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to visit Teakettle Junction and The Racetrack playa. (10)

STEEL PASS ROAD: A flat, sandy, mountainous, and constricted 13.5 mile road connecting Steel Pass to the Saline Valley warm springs to the south - conditions range from class 2 to class 4 - recommended only for expert backroad drivers seeking extreme solitude and a moderate backroad challenge. This road is in a wilderness corridor, which means that any side roads from it, most notably at the pass, are off limits to vehicular travel. (11)

PHINNEY CANYON ROAD: A flat, hilly, and mountainous 8.6 mile road in Nevada connecting the Strozzi Ranch road to Phinney Pass to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking entry into the secluded Grapevine Mountains from Nevada. (12)

STROZZI RANCH ROAD: A flat, hilly, and mountainous 12.4 mile road in Nevada (after 7.5 miles in Nevada out-of-park travel from Highway 95) connecting triangular eastern corner of the Park in Nevada to the Strozzi Ranch to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to visit the isolated Strozzi Ranch site. (13)

CURRIE WELL ROAD: A mostly flat 7.2 mile road in Nevada connecting the McDonald Spring road to the southern end of Sarcobatus Flat to the north - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to visit Sarcobatus Flat from the Rhyolite mining area. (14)

MC DONALD SPRING ROAD: A flat and hilly 8.8 mile road in Nevada connecting east boundary of the Park near Rhyolite ghost town to McDonald Spring to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the Bullfrog Hills mining areas west of Beatty, Nevada. (15)

CAVE ROCK SPRING ROAD: A flat and hilly 3.8 mile road in Nevada connecting the McDonald Spring road to Cave Rock Spring to the southwest - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the Bullfrog Hills mining areas west of Beatty, Nevada. (16)

TITUS CANYON ROAD: A flat, hilly, and mountainous 26.8 mile road in Nevada and California connecting Nevada Highway 374 to the Death Valley road to the west, crossing the Amargosa Mountain Range - conditions are class 1 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers who don't mind steep mountain driving, and who are seeking to visit Leadfield ghost town and spectacular Titus Canyon. (17)

WHITE TOP MOUNTAIN ROAD: A hilly and mountainous 9.8 mile road that extends north from the 'Central Section' listings - see below. (18)

CHLORIDE / TITUS ROAD: A flat 6.8 mile road connecting the Bare Mountain road that enters Chloride City to Nevada Highway 374 to the north - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking an easy route from Chloride City on their way to visit Titus Canyon. (T)

CHLORIDE / RHYOLITE ROAD: A flat and straight 6.7 mile road connecting the Bare Mountain road that enters Chloride City to the ghost city of Rhyolite to the north - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a direct dirt road from Chloride City to Rhyolite. (U)

BARE MOUNTAIN ROAD: A flat and straight 13.2 mile road connecting Chloride City to Bare Mountain in Nevada to the northeast - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a direct route from the Chloride City area to Nevada Highway 95 south of Beatty, or on to Bare Mountain. (V)

 

CENTRAL SECTION

 

HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD: A flat and dusty 13.4 mile road connecting Teakettle Junction to the northern section of the Hunter Mountain road to the south - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to experience remote solitude in a valley with Springtime wildflowers, and also visit Goldbelt Spring. (19)

RACETRACK VALLEY ROAD: A flat, dusty, and washboarded 9 mile road connecting Teakettle Junction to Homestake primitive campground to the south - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to view The Racetrack moving rocks and the Lippencott lead mine. (20)

WHITE TOP MOUNTAIN ROAD: A hilly and mountainous 9.8 mile road connecting the Hidden Valley road to the White Top Mountain mining area to the northeast - conditions are mostly class 2 with a little class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore one of the most secluded areas of the Park. (21)

LOST BURRO MINE ROAD: A hilly and partially off-camber 1.1 mile road connecting the Hidden Valley Road to the Lost Burro mine to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to view the old mine - road can be washed out in spots. (22)

SALINE VALLEY ROAD: A flat and washboarded 45.9 mile road connecting the Saline Valley sand dunes to paved Highway 190 to the south, crossing South Pass enroute - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to visit this valley along the Inyo Range if the weather is dry - see Saline Valley road listing in the 'Northern Section' above for additional information. (23)

CHLORIDE CITY AND CLIFF ROAD: A hilly and mountainous 7.3 mile road connecting the paved road that becomes Nevada's Highway 374 to Chloride Cliff to the south - conditions are mostly class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to view this hillside mining city and Death Valley from a high vantage point. (24)

CHLORIDE CITY ROAD: A hilly 3.5 mile road connecting Chloride City to the Nevada state line and the Amargosa Desert to the east - conditions are class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to explore a few Nevada backroads on the eastern edge of the Park. (25)

AMARGOSA DESERT ROAD: A flat 15.6 mile road connecting the Amargosa road to the road that leads westward up to Echo Pass to the south - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking an unpaved route from the Beatty and Rhyolite area to Echo Pass - the Indian Pass road cuts off west five miles prior to the southern terminus of this road. (W)

LIPPENCOTT ROAD: A mountainous and steep 7 mile road connecting the Racetrack Valley to the Saline Valley to the west - conditions can vary from class 2 to class 4 - recommended only for expert drivers seeking a precarious challenge on a risky road, or as an alternate or shortcut route if Hunter Mountain is snowbound or too far to drive. (26)

KEANE WONDER MINE ROAD: A flat and hilly 2.7 mile road connecting the Beatty Cutoff road to the Keane Wonder mine to the east - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to view the old gold mine and gravity-based tramway. (27)

SPANISH SPRING ROAD: A mountainous 5.2 mile road connecting the Hunter Mountain road to the tops of mountains overlooking Ulida Flat to the north - conditions are class 3 - recommended for some backroad drivers wishing to explore a remote and seldom visited mining area. (28)

MARBLE CANYON ROAD: A hilly, sandy, and mountainous 2.1 mile road connecting the Cottonwood Canyon road to the Marble Canyon narrows to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to explore constricted narrow canyons and hike to petroglyphs. (29)

COTTONWOOD CANYON ROAD: A flat, rocky, hilly, and mountainous 16.7 mile road connecting Stovepipe Wells Village to Cottonwood Canyon springs to the west - conditions are class 1 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to explore a rough and popular road close to a convenient settlement and lodging. (30)

INDIAN PASS ROAD: A flat, hilly, and mountainous 6.8 mile road connecting Nevada's Amargosa Desert outside the Park to Indian Pass in the Funeral Mountains to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to really get away from the crowds on the road not taken. (31)

BURGESS MINE ROAD: A mountainous, steep, circuitous, and challenging 20.6 mile road connecting Highway 136 in the Owen's Valley to the Cerro Gordo Mine to the east - conditions are class 3 to class 4 - recommended for a few backroad drivers seeking a challenging route to the Cerro Gordo mine and the crest of the Inyo Range - surrounded by the Inyo Mountains Wilderness. (D)

CERRO GORDO MINE ROAD: A mountainous and steep 12.4 mile road connecting Highway 136 at Keeler in the Owen's Valley to crest of the Inyo Range to the northeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the still-active Cerro Gordo mining region. (E)

HUNTER MOUNTAIN ROAD: A mountainous and steep 11 mile road connecting Goldbelt Spring and Hidden Valley to the summit of South Pass to the southwest - conditions are class 1 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to experience a nice mountain and forest drive on a road that is fine when dry - stay off this road in wet or snowy weather, or in dry weather when Jackass Spring is still running across the roadway, as it is clay based and will stick your rig. (32)

BEV'S CABIN ROAD: A forested, flat, and tight 1 mile road connecting the Hunter Mountain road to Bev Hunter's old cabin to the south - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to experience a real cabin from the old days - stay out of this area in wet or snowy weather - difficult to turn around at end of road. (33)

LEE FLAT ROAD: A flat, hilly, and mountainous 6 mile road connecting the Saline Valley road in Lee Flat to an area of the Nelson Range to the north - conditions are class 1 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to explore a Joshua Tree forest and the roads east of Cerro Gordo Peak. (34)

MOSAIC CANYON ROAD: A short 2.1 mile road connecting Stovepipe Wells Village to Mosaic Canyon hiking narrows to the south - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most any drivers wishing to hike the popular and spectacular narrow canyon at the base of Tucki Mountain. (35)

GROTTO CANYON ROAD: A short 2 mile road connecting Highway 190 just east of the Stovepipe Wells Village to Grotto Canyon hiking narrows to the south - conditions are class 1 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to hike the popular and spectacular narrow canyon east of Mosaic Canyon. (36)

ECHO PASS ROAD: A hilly, mountainous, and constricted 12 mile road connecting the Echo Canyon road west of the Inyo Mine to Lee's Camp and the Nevada state line to the north - conditions are class 2 to class 5 - recommended for only expert backroad drivers wishing to visit this old mining area on a road that will most certainly put one's diving skills to the test. (37)

LEMOIGNE CANYON ROAD: A hilly and rocky 4.4 mile road connecting Highway 190 to the mouth of Lemoigne Canyon to the southwest - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for some backroad drivers wishing to hike to and explore Jean LeMoigne's mine on a road that is far from a pleasant drive. (38)

TELEPHONE CANYON ROAD: A hilly, sandy, and mountainous 9.9 mile road connecting the paved Emigrant Canyon road to the Tucki Mine to the east - conditions are class 3 - recommended for some backroad drivers wishing to visit the Tucki Mine overlooking Death Valley to the east. (39)

ECHO CANYON ROAD: A sandy, hilly, and constricted 10.6 mile road connecting Highway 190 south of Furnace Creek to the popular Inyo Mine to the northeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to view and explore the Eye of the Needle and the famous Inyo Mine ruins. (40)

SANTA ROSA FLAT ROAD: A flat and mountainous 15.5 mile road connecting Highway 190 west of Darwin to the Conglomerate Mesa region to the north - conditions are class 1 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the many miles of backroads and old mining operations of the area - this is an alternate route to access Lee Flat, the crest of the Inyo Range, and the Cerro Gordo mine. (F)

BIG FOUR MINE ROAD: A flat and hilly 7.3 mile road connecting Highway 190 east of Panamint Springs Resort to the Big Four Mine to the north - conditions are class 1 to class 4 - recommended for a few backroad drivers wishing to hike up Lake Hill or explore the Big Four Mine. (41)

SKIDOO ROAD: A flat, hilly, mountainous, and occasionally narrow 7.1 mile road connecting the Emigrant Canyon road to the Skidoo mining area to the north - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to explore the many remote roads and mining relics around the popular Skidoo ghost town. (42)

HOLE IN THE WALL ROAD: A flat, twisty, rocky, and sandy 5.9 mile road connecting Highway 190 south of Furnace Creek to the Red Amphitheater area to the east - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to experience the gigantic slit in the massive wall, and then hike to the Red Amphitheater. (43)

SIDEHILL MINE ROAD: A flat and hilly 6.0 mile road connecting Highway 127 at the Nevada state line to the Sidehill Mine to the southwest - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to explore an old mining operation in the southern Funeral Mountains - accessed from north of Death Valley Junction - surrounded by the Funeral Mountain Wilderness at its terminus - dead-end. (G)

DARWIN CANYON ROAD: A flat 2.4 mile road connecting Highway 190 to the Darwin Falls trailhead to the southwest - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to hike to Darwin Falls or drive on to the old mining town of Darwin on a slightly more challenging road. (44)

AGUEREBERRY POINT ROAD: A flat, hilly, and mountainous 6.3 mile road connecting the Emigrant Canyon road to Aguereberry Point to the east - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to visit the Eureka Mine or see Death Valley to the east from one of the highest vantage points generally visited by the average tourist. (45)

WOOD CANYON ROAD: A hilly 3.3 mile road connecting the Emigrant Pass road at Emigrant Pass summit to a seldom visited Death Valley overlook in the Panamint Range to the southeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to explore an out of the way backroad with nice solitude. If you enjoy hiking, continue up canyon past road's end for some nice easterly viewpoints. (46)

GREENWATER RANGE ROAD: A mountainous and twisty 8.2 mile road connecting Highway 190 five miles east of the Dante's View turnoff to the mountain canyons and ridges of the northern Greenwater Range to the south - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore an out of the way area away from the crowds. (H)

WEST SIDE ROAD: A flat, smooth, and dusty 35.9 mile road connecting Highway 178 (the Badwater road near the north end) to Highway 178 (the Badwater road near the south end) to the south - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to drive down the middle of Death Valley proper on a dirt road instead of the pavement, or wishing to visit the 4wd canyons of the eastern Panamint Range - on the west side of the salt flats. (47)

TRAIL CANYON ROAD: A rocky, hilly, and mountainous 10.4 mile road connecting the West Side road to Trail Canyon to the west - conditions are class 1 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to explore Trail Canyon and the Tarantula Mine area - road used to connect to Aguereberry Point road until a natural weather event took it out. (48)

GREENWATER CANYON ROAD: A flat and hilly 7.9 mile road connecting Highway 127 south of Death Valley Junction to Greenwater Canyon to the east - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to drive to the entrance of Greenwater Canyon, a canyon that was closed to vehicular travel within the Park boundary due to vandalism of the petroglyphs down the canyon - hiking is still permitted beyond the road's closure. (49)

WILDROSE CANYON ROAD: A flat and partly paved 9 mile road connecting the Emigrant Pass road to Mahogany Flat Campground to the southeast - conditions are class 1 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to view the Charcoal Kilns, hike Wildrose Peak and Telescope Peak, and camp at either Thorndike or Mahogany Flat primitive campground. (50)

TUBER CANYON ROAD: A hilly and mountainous 3.7 mile road connecting the paved Wildrose road to Tuber Canyon to the east - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for some backroad drivers wishing to explore a little ways up into the western slope of the Panamint Range. (51)

HANAUPAH CANYON ROAD: A very rocky, hilly, and mountainous 8.3 mile road connecting the West Side road to Hanaupah Canyon to the west - conditions are class 1 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers wishing to explore Hanaupah Canyon and the area of the eastern Panamint Range directly below Telescope Peak. (52)

GREENWATER VALLEY ROAD: A flat and moderately hilly 28 mile road connecting the Dante's View road to Highway 178 to the south - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to explore the lengthy Greenwater Valley, the ghost towns of Furnace, Kunze, and Greenwater, Gold Valley, and Deadman Pass. (53)

FURNACE ROAD: A flat and hilly 3.4 mile road connecting the Greenwater Valley road south of the Dante's View paved road to the old ghost town of Furnace to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to explore the old copper camps of Furnace, Kunze, and Greenwater. (54)

JAIL CANYON ROAD: A hilly and mountainous 6.2 mile road connecting the Indian Ranch road of the Panamint Valley to Jail Canyon to the northeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for some backroad drivers wishing to explore a little ways up into the western slope of the Panamint Range. (55)

  

SOUTHERN SECTION

 

INDIAN RANCH ROAD: A flat 12.3 mile road connecting the Trona/Wildrose road in Panamint Valley to the ghost town of Ballarat to the southeast - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking access to the western slope of the Panamint Range north of Ballarat ghost town. (X)

KUNZE/GREENWATER ROAD: A flat and hilly 5.8 mile road connecting the ghost town of Furnace (in the 'Central Section' above) to the Greenwater Valley road to the southeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers wishing to explore the copper camps of Furnace, Kunze, and Greenwater in the Greenwater Valley. (56)

GREENWATER VALLEY ROAD: A mostly flat 28 mile road connecting the Dante's View road to Highway 178 to the south - conditions can vary from class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a relaxing drive from Furnace Creek to Gold Valley or Deadman Pass. (57)

SURPRISE CANYON ROAD: A mountainous and constricted 11.2 mile road connecting the Indian Ranch road in the Panamint Valley to the ghost town of Panamint City to the northeast - conditions are class 1 to impossible - recommended only for hikers nowadays since most of this road has been administratively closed due to environmental issues and massive flooding - the first 4.1 miles may be driven, but the final distance to Panamint City must be hiked, which is considered a difficult hike over several rocky waterfalls. (58)

DEADMAN PASS ROAD: A flat, sandy, and hilly 13.8 mile road connecting the Greenwater Valley road to Highway 127 to the northeast - conditions are class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to explore one of the more remote and seldom visited locales in the Park. (59)

JOHNSON CANYON ROAD: A hilly, rocky, and mountainous 10.5 mile road connecting the West Side road to Johnson Canyon on the eastern slope of the Panamint Range to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore Hungry Bill's fruit tree ranch or hike over Panamint Pass to Panamint City. (60)

BALLARAT ROAD: A flat 3.0 mile road connecting Highway 178 (Trona/Wildrose road) to the ghost town of Ballarat to the east - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to visit Ballarat and explore the Panamint Range canyon roads (more difficult). (I)

WINGATE ROAD: A flat 21.9 mile road connecting the ghost town of Ballarat to the Goler Canyon road and the China Lake Naval Weapons Center to the south - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to visit South Park Canyon, Goler Canyon, and the southern Panamint Valley - the road can become problematic if water fills Panamint Lake (stay off due to sticky roadbed and rust to underside) "If it's dry, you'll make dust, but if it's wet, you'll make rust!" - the final 5.5 southern miles south of the Goler turnoff become rougher and dead-end at a military restricted area (where you'll be shot on sight). (J)

PLEASANT CANYON ROAD: A mountainous 12.4 mile road connecting the Panamint Valley town of Ballarat to Roger's Pass on the crest of the Panamint Range to the east - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the old mining camps, high forested mountains, and the Middle Park area - a loop can be made to exit the mountains through South Park Canyon, however it has a class 5 section in it, and is not recommended except for expert drivers with daring. (61)

GALENA CANYON ROAD: A hilly 5.4 mile road connecting the West Side road to the White Eagle Talc Mine to the west - conditions are class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to visit the talc mine and explore the surrounding roads (more difficult). (62)

QUEEN OF SHEBA ROAD: A hilly 3.8 mile road connecting the West Side road to the Queen of Sheba Mine to the southwest - conditions are class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to visit the Queen of Sheba Mine. (63)

GOLD VALLEY ROAD: A flat, sandy, hilly, and mountainous 18.2 mile road system that loops out of the Greenwater Valley road and then back (a dead-end area) - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the isolated Gold Valley mining area in the Black Mountains. (64)

SOUTH PARK CANYON ROAD: A mountainous and precarious 6 mile road connecting the Panamint Valley to Middle Park to the east - conditions are class 2 to class 5 - recommended only for expert backroad drivers seeking a tight and steep canyon with maximum driving challenges - the infamous 'Chicken Rock' and 'Heart Stop' bridge live in this canyon, and are only for the most daring. (65)

MIDDLE PARK ROAD: A mountainous and dusty 6.3 mile road connecting Roger's Pass summit to South Park Canyon to the southwest - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the many miles of backroads and old mining operations of the area - accessed from the Panamint Valley via class 2/3 Pleasant Canyon or class 3/5 South Park Canyon. (66)

MIDDLE PARK RIDGE ROAD: A mountainous and steep 2.5 mile ridge road connecting Roger's Pass summit to the Middle Park road to the southwest (an alternative spur road to the Middle Park road) - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore the high ridgeline above Middle Park and Butte Valley - great vistas abound. (66a)

ARRASTRE SPRING ROAD: A mountainous 2.2 mile road connecting the Warm Spring Canyon road to Arrastre Spring to the northwest - conditions are class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore an offshoot of the Butte Valley area - road used to connect to Roger's Pass. (67)

WARM SPRING CANYON ROAD: A hilly, sandy, and mountainous 15.4 mile road connecting the West Side road to the Butte Valley road to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore a pleasant area of the southern region - there's even a swimming pool out here. (68)

BUTTE VALLEY ROAD: A hilly and mountainous 6.9 mile road connecting the Warm Spring Canyon road to Geologist's Cabin to the southwest - conditions are class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to explore Striped Butte, the Butte Valley, Anvil Spring, Willow Spring, Redlands Canyon, Russell Camp, and Mengel Pass. (69)

DUBLIN HILLS ROAD: A flat 6.8 mile road connecting Highway 127 north of Tecopa to Highway 178 to the northwest - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking a dirt road to cut off a few miles of pavement from Tecopa to the Greenwater Valley road - accessed from the Panamint Valley via class 2/3 Pleasant Canyon or class 3/5 South Park Canyon. (K)

REDLANDS CANYON ROAD: A mountainous 3.4 mile road connecting the Butte Valley road to an old miner's cabin to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking an area in the southern Panamint Range seldom visited by most - a western canyon exit into the Panamint Valley for this road exists off the Wingate road, but there is no drivable throughway from above. (70)

ASHFORD CANYON ROAD: A hilly 3 mile road connecting Highway 178 to Ashford Mine area just south of Scotty's Canyon to the northeast - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a short drive to visit the mining efforts of two determined brothers. (71)

JUBILEE PASS ROAD: A mountainous 1.4 mile road connecting Highway 178 to the mining area to the north - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a short jaunt off the highway for a lunch break. (72)

RHODES SPRING ROAD: A mountainous 1.2 mile road connecting Highway 178 to the mining area to the north (4.2 miles east of Jubilee Pass road above) - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a short jaunt off the highway for a lunch break. (73)

MENGEL PASS ROAD: A mountainous and steep 5.6 mile road connecting Geologist's Cabin in Butte Valley to notorious Goler Canyon to the south - conditions are class 2 to class 4 - recommended for a few backroad drivers seeking to cross the pass and explore Goler Canyon - old miner Carl Mengel's grave is at the summit of this pass. (74)

WILLOW SPRING ROAD: A mostly flat 1.9 mile road connecting Anvil Spring to Willow Spring to the southeast - conditions are class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a short jaunt away from Geologist's Cabin. (75)

HARRY WADE ROAD: A mostly flat and sandy 24.1 mile road connecting Highway 178 at Ashford Junction to the Saratoga Springs road to the south - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a very secluded, and usually easy, drive through the south end of the Park and on towards Baker, California. (76)

ECLIPSE MINE ROAD: A flat and hilly 5.1 mile road connecting Highway 127 south of Tecopa to the Eclipse Mine to the southwest - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore an old mining operation in the Ibex Hills - surrounded by the Ibex Wilderness - dead-end road. (L)

COYOTE CANYON ROAD: A hilly 1.2 mile road connecting the Wingate road to the mouth of Coyote Canyon to the east - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking a short side trip up the alluvium before reaching Goler Canyon to the south. (M)

GOLER CANYON ROAD: A mountainous and sometimes treacherous 4.5 mile road connecting the Panamint Valley to the junction of the Sourdough Spring road and the Mengel Pass road to the east - conditions are class 2 to class 5 - recommended only for expert backroad drivers during years of significant flood events - a canyon drive that is always full of surprises, with many places to explore and beautiful scenery to behold. (77)

SOURDOUGH SPRING ROAD: A mountainous and constricted 1.1 mile road connecting the Goler Canyon road to Sourdough to the east - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for a few backroad drivers seeking to explore the infamous Manson Family hideout of the 1960s at Barker Ranch - sometimes the road through Goler Canyon to this canyon is class 4 or 5, which may preclude many drivers during a rough year. (78)

GIANT MINE ROAD: A flat and hilly 5.0 mile road connecting Highway 127 at Ibex Pass to the Giant Mine to the northwest - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore an old mining operation in the Ibex Hills - dead-end road. (N)

BUCKWHEAT WASH ROAD: A flat and hilly 4 mile road connecting Ibex Spring to the mining area of Buckwheat Wash - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended only for hikers nowadays because the northern reaches of the wash currently reside within the Ibex Wilderness Area. You can still drive to the wilderness boundary if you wish. (79)

IBEX SPRING ROAD: A flat 5.3 mile road connecting Highway 127 to Ibex Spring to the west - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a short jaunt off the highway for a lunch break, or those wishing to travel on south to Saratoga Spring. (80)

OLD IBEX PASS ROAD: A flat, sandy, and hilly 6 mile road connecting Ibex Spring to the Saratoga Spring road to the south - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to visit Saratoga Spring from Tecopa Hot Springs - beware of deep sand. (81)

MICROWAVE TOWER ROAD: A flat, hilly, and mountainous 21.5 mile road connecting the Owl Hole Spring road to the communications microwave tower in the Owlshead Mountains to the west - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a very remote getaway that will allow for views of Wingate Wash - beware of laser radiation and unexploded bombs in the nearby region courtesy of the US military - not the best choice of destinations if you seek the undisturbed natural world. (82)

BLACK MAGIC MINE ROAD: A hilly and mountainous 5.8 mile road connecting the Owl Hole Spring road to the Black Magic Mine to the northwest - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking a drive where few others ever choose to venture. (83)

OWL HOLE SPRING ROAD: A flat 9 mile road connecting the Harry Wade road to the Black Magic Mine road to the southwest - conditions are class 1 - recommended for most backroad drivers on their way to the Black Magic Mine,the back door to the Fort Irwin Military Reservation (don't go in under penalty of death), or the microwave tower. (84)

SARATOGA SPRING ROAD: A flat and sandy 8.5 mile road connecting Highway 127 in the extreme southeastern corner of the Park to Saratoga Spring to the northwest - conditions are class 1 to class 2 - recommended for most backroad drivers seeking to explore a large expanse of water and some talc mining remnants. (85)

DENNING SPRING ROAD: A flat, hilly, and mountainous 7.6 mile road connecting the Harry Wade road to Denning Spring and the Fort Irwin military boundary in the Avawatz Mountains to the south - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking a very remote route as far south as the law allows. (Y)

SHEEP CREEK MINE ROAD: A flat and hilly 4.8 mile road connecting the Saratoga Spring road to the forgotten Sheep Creek Mine to the southwest - conditions are class 2 to class 3 - recommended for many backroad drivers seeking to explore some old mining sites not far from Highway 127. (Z)

 

 

The Old Trailmaster's Primitive Road Rating Guide:

 

CLASS-1

This road is drivable in most any highway sedan with low clearance by virtually any driver. It is usually on flat ground. Vehicle size is not a concern. 4wd is never necessary. It is usually maintained by road crews through grading and/or gravel. There are rarely any obstacles in or on the roadbed that would require extra thought. The potential for vehicle damage is virtually nonexistent. (Photo: Warm Spring Canyon road)

 

CLASS-2

This road is drivable in a few highway sedans with moderate clearance by many drivers, however, a sport utility vehicle may be advisable. It is often on flat ground but it could be hilly. Vehicle size is rarely a concern. 4wd is rarely necessary. It is sometimes maintained by road crews, but usually is just a two-track road that is maintained only by normal vehicular traffic. There are sometimes minimal obstacles such as little ruts, small rocks, or washboards in or on the roadbed that require extra attention to navigation. The potential for vehicle damage is low. (Photo: Skidoo ghost road)

 

CLASS-3

This road is drivable in many sport utility vehicles with moderate ground clearance and a low-range gearing system by drivers of limited experience. It could be on flat ground, or in varied terrain such as ravines, canyons, or hillsides. Vehicle size is sometimes a concern. 4wd is usually necessary in high-range, or sometimes low-range. It is rarely maintained by road crews, typically owing its continued existence to backroad enthusiasts. There are usually moderate obstacles such as ruts, rocks, small ledges, unproblematic switchbacks, and/or grades in or on the roadbed that require attentive maneuvering, decent driving skill, and a sense of adventure. The potential for vehicle damage is moderate. (Photo: Butte Valley road)

 

CLASS-4

This road is drivable in some sport utility vehicles with higher ground clearance and a low-range gearing system if the driver has previous experience on roads of this level, or guidance by another experienced person. It is usually not on flat ground, and often encountered in tight terrain like canyons or mountainsides where vehicle positioning is vital. Vehicle size is often a concern - smaller is usually better. 4wd is always necessary in low-range. It is never maintained by road crews because of its inaccessibility, and continues to exist solely through 4wd usage. There are always considerable obstacles such as deep ruts, large rocks, moderate ledges, switchbacks, and/or steep grades in or on the roadbed that require very cautious maneuvering, good driving skill, and maybe some daring. The potential for vehicle damage is a definite concern, and increases with the driver's lack of experience. (Photo: Mengel Pass road)

 

CLASS-5

This road is drivable in a few sport utility vehicles with very high ground clearance and a low-range gearing system if the driver has considerable experience and is highly skilled in vehicle navigation. Inexperienced drivers could navigate it if they have expert assistance and are not frightened to try. It is rarely on flat ground, and usually encountered in very tight terrain like twisted canyons or steep mountainsides where vehicle positioning is extremely critical. Vehicle size is always a concern - smaller is better. 4wd is always necessary in low-range. It is never maintained by anyone unless an ambitious Jeep club takes it on as a project to keep it open. There are always very difficult obstacles such as cavernous ruts, huge rocks, elevated steps, extreme switchbacks, and/or very steep grades in or on the roadbed that require meticulous maneuvering, great driving skill, and daring. The potential for vehicle damage is high - a very real concern for ANY driver. (Photo: Echo Pass road)

 

 

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