Goler Wash and Mengel Pass over a route into Butte Valley from Panamint Valley. Although not technically in Death Valley, this trail is consider part of the area. Trail conditions vary from easy to difficult depending upon recent rainfall, with one section near Mengel pass being difficult.
The route twists and turns through a narrow valley, until it opens a bit into Goler wash itself. There is a short side trip to Baker Ranch and Meyer Ranch which was the one time, although short lived home of Charles Manson and his family prior to their arrest by Inyo County Sheriffs Department in October of 1969. Manson and others were responsible for the famous Tate – La Bianca murders in Los Angeles, California. Mason and his family drove a school bus up to Barker Ranch. The ranch was used as a mining and recreational property before Manson.
Barker Ranch is originally built in the 1930s by Bluth and Helen Thomason who were attempting mining operations at the site. They built a small stone building in the 1940’s and a windmill generated electricity. In 1955 the property was purchased by Jim and Arlene Barker. The Barkers expanded the original stone build for Barker family gatherings. In 1969, over the period of two days Charles Manson and his “family” are pursed and arrested. The arresting officer was CHP Officer Jim Jim Pursell.
In 2009, Barker Ranch is destroyed by a fire which tore though the dry wood of the buildings.
Follow the trail up to Megel pass, which offers the explorer access to Butte Valley, Megel’s Cabin, the Geologists Cabin and Russell’s camp.