Best trails in Inyo Mountains Wilderness, California

55 Reviews
Explore the most popular trails in Inyo Mountains Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Description

The north-south Inyo Mountains comprise a high and vast desert range, and the isolated and pristine Wilderness that bears their name encompasses a large portion of this sheerly rugged terrain. The area reaches a high point on Keynot Peak, at about 11,000 feet, and separates the Owens Valley on the west from the Saline Valley on the east. Most of the eastern border is shared with Death Valley National Park. Year-round streams, some cascading over waterfalls, can be found in eight canyons on the rough east side. These steep-walled canyons offer challenges to rock climbers. In addition to Keynot Peak, the prominent summits of New York Butte and Mount Inyo provide tough, nontechnical hikes with splendid views as rewards. Creosote, shadscale scrub, and sagebrush proliferate at lower elevations. You'll find a lush riparian habitat in the moist canyons, and pinion-juniper woodlands on some of the slopes. Bristlecone and limber pine grow in the higher reaches. Inyo Mountains Wilderness lies partly on BLM land and partly within Inyo National Forest. A rich mining legacy has left a smattering of ruins to explore, and the towers that supported a men-and-salt-bearing tram from the Saline Valley salt mines to Owens Lake can still be seen on Cerro Gordo Peak. There are 103 miles of unmaintained trails, often difficult to follow, a holdover from historic use. Most of these trails are not shown on maps. From Reward, the old Lonesome Miner Trail (40 miles) will take you south through the highest country to Hunter Canyon. The chance for a solitude-rich Wilderness experience of a high order awaits the adventurous.

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Map of trails in Inyo Mountains Wilderness, California
Park information
Acreage:
198,375 acres
Contact
760-873-2400
Helpful links
Top trails (3)
#1 - Swansea-Cerro Gordo OHV Route
Inyo Mountains Wilderness
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(30)
Length: 34.7 mi
Rugged backway to Salt Tram Station and Cerro Gordo Ghost Town This is a tougher alternate route to Cerro Gordo Ghost Town. The road climbs rapidly through a corridor through the Inyo Mountains Wilderness and runs along the ridge atop the Inyo Mountains. Great views, wildflowers and historical mining structures. Located in Inyo National Forest. Steep, narrow and rocky in places. Last part of the route is a narrow shelf road. Prone to washouts and rock slides. Suitable for aggressive stock SUVs with high clearance, low range and skid plates. Show more
#2 - Saline Valley Road OHV Trail
Inyo Mountains Wilderness
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(13)
Length: 77.8 mi
#3 - Baxter Pass Trail
Inyo Mountains Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray Star(12)
Length: 12.6 mi • Est. 9 h 23 m