Cerro Gordo, High Elevation Mine Exploration

August 27th 2021


I have been to the salt tram station near Cerro Gordo Peak two times. In both cases, we started in Orange County Friday morning and had a long days drive to get to Saline Valley Warm Springs. We did not stop to visit the Cerro Gordo Ghost Town or any of the mines in the area. I am planning to visit as many mines as possible on this trip, and possibly visit the Cerro Gordo Ghost Town.

This trip will be 3 days,leaving early Friday morning and returning back to pavement by Sunday mid-day. If anyone has tow vehicles, we can work out an appropriate place to leave them.

If you have watched any Youtube videos on Cerro Gordo, you have seen people driving the graded road from Keeler. We are not taking this route. The more intersting way up is through Swansea, which has some sections that are genuine 2-rated trails.

If you are worried about summer heat, the plan is to drive to higher altitudes, and spend most of our time there. Towns around Mono Lake are at about 3600 ft, and have peak temperatures about 100 degrees. Most of our trails will be between 7000 and 9000 feet, so max temps should peak closer to 75-85 degrees. Nights will be very comfortable.

Heading up from Swansea, the first stop is the Burgess Mine. This is at 9600'. There are remains of a stone building, and at least one wooden cabin. I think there are several mine openings to explore.

The next stop is the salt tram station. This is really a spectacular bit of history. The wooden structures is well preserved. Some of the cables that once looped from Saline Valley, over the station, into Owens Valley, and then back, are still there.

Driving along the ridge, there is a short road which shows Mexican Spring on my map. I have been told that there are mines to explore at the end of this road. We will find out.

Then we get to Cerro Gordo Ghost Town. There is a new owner, and there was a fire about two years ago. If possible, we will get a tour of this town. The info I can find is mixed. I have sent emails with no response. If no tour, we will move on.

I hope to find a good dispersed camping site somewhere between there and Belmont Mine.

Saturday, we can explore Belmont Mine, then drop down to Santa Rosa Mine before if gets to hot (Still above 5000 feet the entire trip). On the way back, I would like to explore several dead-end trails in the Conglomerate Mesa area. I don't know much about this area, but there are roads marked on several different maps. Some symbols indicate old mines, but nothing specific. We can return to the same camp site, and avoid setting up and packing twice.

Sunday morning, I would like to take the White Mountain Talc Road to Saline Valley Road, and out to highway 190.

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
  • 4HI Transfer Case
  • Camping Supplies

Run Recommendations

  • Roll Cage

Trail Rating

Trail Rating 2

Difficulty Level: 2

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 @ 6th Street Chevron in Norco

Rendezvous   6:30 AM, I-15 6th St off ramp Chevron gas station.

Breakfast is a Kramer Junction, departure time TBD.


There are currently 2 of 10 slots filled.

  • HAM: WE4BY


Meeting @ Rendezvous

0 passengers, 0 extra seats

Not available to Guests...

  • HAM: N/A


Meeting @ Rendezvous

1 passengers, 0 extra seats

Not available to Guests...