Saline Valley Salt Tram to Death Valley

November 10th 2017


Hi Guys, 

I did this trail a few years ago and wanted to run it again now that the weather is cooling down in Death Valley. The Swansea trail is a lot of fun with some aweome views of the Owens Valley all the way up to the top where the remains of the Saline Valley Salt Tram are located and then you get a great view of Saline Valley. From the Salt Tram, we'd head down to the Ghost Town of Cerro Gordo; if we're lucky the gentleman that maintains the town will be around to show us through some of the buildings. From Cerro Gordo, we'll head down the back road to Death Valley and make camp in the Joshua Tree Forest. Then depending on conditions we may head through Saline Valley to the hot springs and then onto Steel Pass or take Lippincott Rd. up to the Race Track and then make camp at a spot past Teakettle Junction.

The trail from Swansea to the Salt Tram has some sections of big rocks to climb over and some tight turns, but nothing too dificult and it's definitely doable without lockers. 

The trip would be 3 days, we'd be leaving early Friday morning and would be back to pavement by Sunday mid-day. 

Firewood: I'll have a metal pit for a fire, so please bring firewood. 

For those trailering their rigs, we'd be able to leave trailers / trucks at the Olancha gas station.

Run Checklist

Always Required

  • HAM Radio on 146.550 MHz
  • Full-Sized Spare Tire
  • Seat Belts
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Battery Tiedown
  • Working Brakes
  • Tow Straps
  • Tow Points

Run Requirements

  • 33+ Sized Tire
  • 2+ Suspension Lift
  • 4LO Transfer Case
  • Roll Cage
  • Gas Cans
  • Camping Supplies

Additional Notes

Shouldn't need lockers, low range will be required. The trail route will also cover a lot of dirt road, plan on bringing at least 5 gallons of spare gas.

Trail Rating

Trail Rating 3

Difficulty Level: 3

Trail Rating 1 Graded road; Any 4x4 vehicle or higher clearance 2x4 vehicle with no other modifications
Trail Rating 2 Road rarely maintained; 4x4 with no low bumpers. Anti-sway bar disconnects recommended. Minimum 30" tires and some off-road experience is helpful
Trail Rating 3 Difficult terrain and road rarely maintained; 33" tires, Suspension lift, Off-road driving experience, body armor and Rear locker recommended. Stock vehicles will likely take damage
Trail Rating 4 Very difficult terrain, road never maintained; 33" tires, sway-bar disconnects, Rear locker, and Rock sliders required. 35" tires, front locker, Full cage, and 4:1 transfer-case recommended. Chance of mechanical failure and body damage
Trail Rating 5 Extremely difficult terrain with large obstacles and roll over potential; Full cage required, 37" tires strongly recommended. Good chance of mechanical failure and strong chance of body damage


Rendezvous @ Roadhouse Restaurant: 6158 CA-58 a, Boron, CA 93516

We'll be meeting for breakfast at 7am at the Roadhouse Restaurant in Boron of hwy 395 and hwy 58. 

From there we'll caravan to the gas station in Olancha, drop any tow rigs and top off for last gas and then head for the trail.  


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