Goler Wash and Mengel Pass

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 was 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 2009, a fire tore though the dry wood of the ranch and the structure was destroyed.

Asa Russell "Panamint Russ" in front of the Geologist cabin - Courtesy of Desert Magazine April 1955
Asa Russell “Panamint Russ” in front of the Geologist cabin – Courtesy of Desert Magazine April 1955

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.

Futher Reading

Continue Reading →

Warm Springs Road

A short side trip from the Saline Valley Road to the Saline Valley Warm Springs in Death Valley National Park, California. The road is used to access the Warm Springs Hot Springs of the Saline Valley. The region and its hot springs became very popular in the 1960’s

Looking down at the Lippencott Mine Road from the Lippencott Mine, with Warm Springs Road, Saline Valley in the distance.
Looking down at the Lippencott Mine Road from the Lippencott Mine, with Saline Valley in the distance.

The hot springs were improved before the National Park was formed in 1994. As such; showers, bathtubs concrete pools and three bathrooms. these bathrooms are replaced by the Park Service. Palm trees were planted to create am oasis. Additionally, there is a small airport known as the “Chicken Strip”, which is a 1400 foot dirt runway cleared near the hot springs. The “Chicken Strip” landing strip is about a 10 minute walk from the oasis.

There are three distinct springs and camping locations. The warm springs oasis existed as its own four some 40 years prior to the national park service taking over. The location became quite popular and nudity was common. There was quite a bit of controversy when the national park service took over due to the decades long existence of the improvements conflicting with the governments tendency to (over)regulate.

NPS Photo - Mature, non-native palm trees, such as these near the Volcano Pool, will stay in place until they die of natural causes.
NPS Photo – Mature, non-native palm trees, such as these near the Volcano Pool, will stay in place until they die of natural causes.

A “clothing optional” policy is still permitted at the springs, but nudity is frowned upon elsewhere at the site.

The road is maintained for the most part and should be accessible to most 2WD vehicles.

Trail Summary

NameWarm Springs Road
LocationSaline Valley, Death Valley National Park, California
Length7.5 Miles
DifficultyEasy

Warm Springs Road Trail Map

References

White Top Mountain

White Top Mountain road is located off of Hunter Mountain Road, in Death Valley National Park, California. A hilly and mountainous road connecting the Hidden Valley road to the White Top mining area district.

White Top Mountain Road view from the Lost Burrow Mine Road, Death Valley, CA
White Top Mountain Road view from the Lost Burrow Mine Road, Death Valley, CA

The road is approximately 11 miles in length and has an elevation gain from 4800 feet above sea level to 7000 feet. High clearance 4WD is recommended when wheeling this trail. The route is passable to high clearance 2WD in the first 5 miles. Beyond that distance, the NPS recommends high clearance 4WD because of 3 relatively small dry falls, 12-24″.

Travel beyond Burro Spring Junction is not recommended when wet or snow covered during winter months.

Once near the top of the trai, the Huntley Mining operations are visible.

The Lawrence Asbestos and Fluorspar claims located on the north slope of White Top Mountain two miles northeast of Burro Spring have been explored by several lessees over the years, but have produced only a few hundred tons of asbestos and fluorspar. Much scarring in the area has resulted from dozer prospecting and road building. The property consisted of three fluorspar claims, thirty-two asbestos claims, and a millsite under, location by R.H. Lawrence of Mojave. In 1970s the lessees proposed to develop the fluorspar deposits and ship the ore to Barstow via truck. Today the area consists of bulldozed prospects and a miner’s shack. Wright H. Huntley, pres., Huntley Industrial Minerals, Inc., to T.R. Goodwin,

Death Valley – Historic Resource Study – A History of Mining

White Top Mountain Trail Map

References