10 days of pure bliss


Senior Member
May 18, 2007
la quinta calif
just got back from trip to saline valley, had a great time.stopped in Ridgecrest,filled up extra gas cans topped off taco with gas and us with taco's,next stop surprise canyon (1st pic burros,next pic water falls up surprise canyon) for you all that are not familiar with area this canyon is on the edge of death valley in the Panamint valley,at the end of the road it is about a 5 mile hike up to the old mining town of Panamint that is in death valley mnt. a great place to spend a couple of days exploring,saw a couple of big horn sheep but they were gone before i got a chance to take pics! water runs here all year as it is fed by springs.Wildrose canyon was next stop spent 2 days here (charcoal kilns are next pic"s) there are 10 of them they were restored in about 1930 and again in 1970 or close(nexr pic) shows rock ruins are all that remain of control spot of water line that was built around 1900 to supply water to mine area a total of 25 miles of gravity fed line,made a great camp spot 4x4 only rough trail. next stop was on the road to saline valley spent a day logging in geo-caches in the area and doing some exploring on dual sport.(next pic is known to all who go to the hot springs in saline valley) spent 3 days soaking in springs and visiting with old friends as we have been meeting here off and on since the 1970's(next pic is bee keepers cabin in saline valley kind of strange but it is death valley so who is to judge!put about 200 miles on dual sport exploring ,of course fwc did its job taco was of course overloaded but did what it does best ,transportation to great spots! of course only a few pics as we were to busy enjoying mother nature! drive slow and enjoy "its the journey"


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last saline pic

one more pic beekeepers cabin in saline valley drive slow and enjoy "its the journey"


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From what I hear, it doesn't sound promising about getting Surprise canyon reopened to vehicles.
surprise canyon

craig surprise canyon as we were informed by blm guys ( they were at trail head directing a clean up of the burn job on old home/mining spot) will never be opened for motor travel again,also canyon is washed out down to bedrock,the only vech access was in the early to mid 90's with early rock crawlers,when there was road?/trail it was made by the mining outfits to gain access to mines which were last worked in the 80's,also there is a pending epa report that is on hold ,blm's way to not do anything! but mother nature sure has made it a great place to visit and marvel at what has taken place since man has encroached.drivr slow and enjoy "its the journey"
Thanks. All these CA trip reports and pics are making me think I need to plan a Sierra's trip. Too bad it is a good 3 days drive from Denver. Go west, young man...
Les as usual fantastic photos. Back in 1973 I had a different wife and a brand new stock VW Super Beetle and drove up Surprise. The ground clearance wasn't as good as a Baja Bug and I took out one of the crankcase bolts. It's a good thing we had a case of Valvoline with us. We made it all the way up and spent the night. The wife lasted 7 more years but the bug was with me until '86. There's nothing like a good vehicle and a loyal dog.

Please dont tell Pam I said that.
Sounds like an awesome trip LQ..great report and thanx for posting!

I am posting a couple of shots of surprise cyn. from April, 07 to add to your report.

Big Horns, right around the area where the water goes back underground. And the burned out ruins of the home/mining ops. We spent the night in the burn..it was fresh (and a little spooky)

We did not go hiking up the cyn. as we were in a hurry to get on the road...now I wish we did


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I understand way back it was quite an easy road. Had to be for the horses to use. A few fourwheelers bought some land up top to use as leverage in getting the road reopened (if it was road once it can be a road again ) but I have no idea if they've given up the fight or not. Hard to fight BLM.
I was going over some old pix and I thought I'd throw one in that was taken on Presidents Day weekend
'06. This is coming out of the valley on Saline Valley Rd. The snow was much heavier higher up. The mountain was angry that day my friends. What a difference a year makes. I made a half dozen trips up and down towing out people in VW campers and assorted other vehicles that didn't have chains or 4WD. Some of these guys were sliding dangerously close to the edge. Its not the first time either my self or friends have dragged people out of there. It amazes me how unprepared people are and what chances they're willing to take with their lives and the lives of their families. The T-100 did well that day.


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