Panamint Runs

Please note: These run descriptions are subject to change. Sign-ups will be on a first-come, first-served basis when you arrive at base camp.

Panamint Valley Days Runs

Click on each run name for a full description.
  • Backdoor to Darwin

    The Gear Grinders lost a most beloved member this year. Jim Kenney came up with the concept for this run because of his love of history and each year the run was different. This year it will be led by their dear friends and tailed by his Granddaughter & wife in Rubiblue.

    Join us as we follow part of the old toll road from Darwin to Death Valley. We will pass many old mining areas and structures, as well as unusual geologic formations, a cemetery and the old town of Darwin. The terrain will include dirt, sand, gravel, sharp rocks, some climbing, side-hill roads and some steep walled canyons.

  • Cummins Cutoff/Defense Mine

    We will be taking the most challenging obstacles up the canyons to the Defense Mine. This run goes through an old mining area and connects with the route to Stone Canyon until its closure just below Waterfall #1. The route provides several rocky and scenic miles with the challenges of Waterfall “Zero” and Cummins Cutoff (which is easier than in past years). Just below Waterfall #1, we will make a sharp right onto the Defense Mine Road, which is scenic, historical, and pretty challenging.

  • Defense Mine

    You will be traveling up a rocky trail in a wash in Stone Canyon until its closure just below Waterfall #1. The route provides several rocky and scenic miles with the challenges of Waterfall “Zero”. Participants will have ample time to complete mine exploration before leaving, giving them the option to visit Lookout City and/or other nearby routes.

  • Escape from Death Valley

    This run will retrace the path of the Arcane and Bennett families in the winter of 1849-1850 as they entered then "escaped" from Death Valley. Participants will need a National Park entrance pass, Annual Pass or Senior Pass. We will start from PVD Headquarters on Wednesday morning and then return to PVD Headquarters on Friday afternoon, camping along the trail each night. This run is suitable for all vehicles with 4WD and high clearance. For more information on this run, go to this link.

  • Fish Canyon (and Coyote Canyon, combined)

    This historic run will have a few rocky sections and loose dirt areas. Expect great views from the top of the Slate Range.

    SIDE TRIP to HISTORIC MARKER: This short part of the trail will go up to the Historical Marker. Those not going will have time to relax and take in the views. Once the group is back together again, you will continue on down into Panamint Valley, crossing the southern end of the dry lake, then turn north toward Ballarat.

  • Coyote Canyon
    The trail is fairly technical with rocks and such most of the way and is fairly slow speed with NO hard climbs or off camber. Although rocky, it would not be "rock crawling”, just slow. This is a fairly short canyon with a great variety of different rocks (sizes and colors) and geologic features (including a lot of "stretched rock" formations). There is a bunker, cabin and mining debris at the end, and a hike up to the mine if you are so inclined.

  • Goler Wash / Barker Ranch

    This is an all-wheel-base, full day run with lots of history thrown in. The first stop will be at Ballarat Ghost Town to air down. Then it’s on to Goler Wash where you will get to see the Newman’s Cabin, then into Death Valley where you will see Barker Ranch, where the Manson Family lived and Manson hid. You will return the way you came in going back out the mouth of Goler Wash.

  • Goler Wash / Mengle Pass / Striped Butte Valley

    This is a full day run with lots of history thrown in. The first stop will be at Ballarat Ghost Town to air down. Then it’s on to Goler Wash where you will get to see Newman’s Cabin, over Mengle Pass into Death Valley where you will see Russell’s Camp, Greater View Cabin, Striped Butte and the Geology Cabin. If time allows, there could be a side trip to Barker Ranch.

  • Historic Run #1: Slate Range, Riley, Copper King, Panamint Crater & Snow Canyon

    We’ll see several different historic mining eras and structures in addition to different natural and geological zones. We’ll see a Chinese camp and roads; early era Riley with stone structures; the Panamint Crater; an onyx mine site; an adorable cabin up a tight canyon; and then on to Snow Canyon where the Golden Lady and the St. George mines have extensive workings to see and there will be some opportunities to hike and explore. If you have planned to make the Lookout Sunset run, you could run out on the Nadeau Shotgun Road where it intersects with Snow Canyon.

  • Historic Run #2: Thomson Canyon & Osborne

    This run will explore the mining area up Thompson Canyon and the Minnietta cabins, then back out to the Nadeau Shotgun Road north into Osborne Canyon, stopping at the Osborne Cabin.

  • Isham Canyon

    Isham has been severely washed out over the past years and this has significantly increased the technical nature of the run. It is more like a Hammers trail now. MUST BE AWARE that some form of body damage is probable. All drivers/participants are expected to assist each other at obstacles with spotting and recovery (winching/tow straps/stacking rocks). Bring gloves, good footwear. Expect this to be a longish day, depending on the number of vehicles. Bring lunch as we will be out at least until mid-afternoon.

  • Jackpot Canyon

    This is a fairly technical run with an experienced driver recommended. We will be running an old, non-maintained mining road that contains sharp rocks, gravel, sand, steep climbs and descents, narrow roadways, rain run-off, road cuts & ruts, shelf roads and some side hills. This run is not for the faint of heart! We will go up a rocky wash before climbing up the canyon. There are some great views of Panamint Valley and diverse terrain, finally arriving at an old mine.

  • Jail Canyon

    This is a rocky trail going into the canyon and to the mining works and the cabins at Jail Camp, with an optional short hike to the Corona mine if desired.

  • Lookout City Sunset Run

    This scenic run will take you to the Lookout City ruins high atop the Argus Range for a spectacular sunset view of the Panamint Range and Valley. Cold temperatures can be expected, so bring your warm clothes.

  • Pleasant Canyon to South Park Canyon

    We will explore an old mining camp and see old mining operations and the trail has a spectacular view of Death Valley from the top. You can expect this to be an all-day run.

  • South Park Canyon to Pleasant Canyon

    We will explore/see the Brigg’s Cabins, cross the new bridge replacement, see an old mining operation and the trail has a spectacular view of Death Valley from the top. You can expect this to be an all-day run.

Vehicle Requirements

Vehicle requirements for each trail will be on the sign-up board in camp. Trail leader has final approval of vehicles for participation, keeping the best interest of the entire group in mind.

Thank you to our trail crew!

Mary Grimsley, Trail Coordinator, Gear Grinders 4WD Club

I would like to thank the following people for leading or tail gunning runs for Panamint Valley Days 2020. With your help, you made PVD again, a success for Cal4Wheel. In these times of covid, so many events have been canceled this year, which is making life really hard for them to fight our battles on keeping land and trails open. So pat yourselves on the back.

  • Russ Chung & Mark Miller, Jeep Expeditions, California Chapter
  • Jay Behr & Rex Caroll, San Diego 4-Wheelers
  • Terry Burton & Dirk Starksen , High Desert 4 Wheelers
  • Lloyd Matsuda & Danny Weaver, Victor Valley 4 Wheelers
  • Dave Hess, Bakersfield Trailblazers Buck Breazele & Kaycee Dewar, who volunteered in camp to lead Cummins Friday
  • Tom Vondra & Terry Burton, from the High Desert Four Wheelers, who volunteered in camp to lead Cummins Saturday
  • Bill Dorey, George Graham, Jerry Grimsley, BJ Holden, Jim Kenney, Dan Kus, Gary Luckeroth, Bill Martin, Bob McGowan, Tom Perkins, Randy Schortzmann, Byron Self, & Earl Wicker, Gear Grinders 4WD Club

Thank you all for making the 2020 PVD a success despite the covid pandemic. Everyone was really good by keeping your distance when in a group and hopefully all are well.

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