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Saddle Rock Mine Trail

Intermediate
 4.0 (1)

An easily followed old mining road that offers spectacular views of northern Death Valley.


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Map Key

2.9

Miles

4.6

KM

Point to Point

5,102' 1,555 m

High

3,532' 1,077 m

Low

1,570' 479 m

Up

9' 3 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

22%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Geological Significance · Views

This trail is in Death Valley National Park and an entry fee is required. Parking for this trail is along Emigrant Canyon Road. Be sure to park as far off the road as possible. There are no amenities or water at this trailhead.

Need to Know

The only tricky part of this hike comes right at its start. The 1929 mine road used to reach today's Emigrant Canyon Road. But the first half-mile of the mine road, which its builders put in a wash, was washed away years ago. That wash is 4.2 miles up Emigrant Canyon Road from its junction with Highway 190 - look for a short chicken wire and rock wall. The best time to do this hike is between November and April, as it may be too hot to do during the summer months. The mine is at 5,000 feet so snow is possible during the winter months.

Description

Between 1908 and 1917, the mines around the town of Skidoo, located high in the Panamint Range, became Death Valley's second largest gold producers. Skidoo's first gold strike was made, not at the abandoned townsite you can reach today by road, but at the Saddle Rock Mine about a mile to the southwest. This mine was active between 1906 and 1910, a road was built to it in 1929, and miners grubbed at it until the 1960s. That 1929 road, although now reduced to just a good trail in places, can still be used to reach the old mine site. This road was built along a ridge and a hike on it affords some big views of northern Death Valley.

Once you've located the wash along Emigrant Canyon Road, hike 0.5 miles up this wash, and you'll come to very evident remains of the 1929 mine road. From there, the hiking is remarkably easy and view-filled the whole way to the Saddle Rock Mine.

After 2.5 miles of easy climbing, you reach the Pima and K. K. claims, marked by a collapsed cabin, two adits with narrow-gauge tracks, and assorted effluvia (including broken dishes and whiskey bottles).

The old road gets a bit less distinct as it continues on up the ridge past the original Saddle Rock claim, an inclined shaft with a rotting wooden ladder. The road continues to its end on a saddle at the base of a much steeper part of the ridge. This is shown as USLM 127 on the map. A USLM (U.S. Location Monument) was a timely way to survey mineral claims in advance of the slower moving public land surveys.

Although the 1929 road ends here, it is possible to continue on, for a mile cross-country, to Skidoo. Continuing cross-country to Skidoo would add two miles to the hike or you could arrange a shuttle since there's a road to Skidoo.

Contacts

Shared By:

Bruce Hope

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#15883

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#1,706

in California

#15,883

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13 Views Last Month
117 Since Jan 27, 2020
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Photos

Looking north from the old mine road
Jan 30, 2020 near Badwater, CA
Clouds over the old Saddle Rock Mine road
Jan 30, 2020 near Badwater, CA
Big sky over the old Saddle Rock Mine road
Jan 30, 2020 near Badwater, CA
Descending the old Saddle Rock Mine road
Jan 30, 2020 near Badwater, CA
Descending the old Saddle Rock Mine road
Jan 30, 2020 near Badwater, CA
Where the old mine road (L) leaves the wash
Jan 30, 2020 near Badwater, CA

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Jan 25, 2020
Bruce Hope