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.