Lippincott Pass

Total Miles
6.6

Elevation

1,177.30 ft

Duration

2 Hours

Technical Rating

4

Moderate

Best Time

Spring, Winter

Trail Overview

This short but steep trail links Saline Valley and Racetrack Valley. The shelf trail is famously narrow as it winds through Last Chance Range with a number of off-camber sections, rock gardens, and tight turns. 4WD is mandatory and long wheel base or top heavy vehicles are not advised without previous experience. The approach to Lippincott Mine Road from the bottom starts at its intersection with Saline Valley Road near the south end of Saline Valley. The road heads east from the intersection along a downward straight track leading to the base of the Last Chance Range and the bottom of Lippincott Pass. The straight section of road is well worn into the landscape and has a number of sharp rock sections that could create a sidewall puncture. Stick to the defined ruts to best avoid a flat tire, and moderate your speed to allow enough time to maneuver around larger rocks. At the base of the mountains, the trail becomes less rocky as it turns north and heads uphill. About 4 miles in, the trail gets to its narrowest section as you climb along a canyon into a series of sharp switchbacks. An outside spotter is recommended through the rock garden and the switchbacks immediately following. The trail continues to climb with great views of Saline Valley behind you and views of the Lippincott Mine on the right as you approach the top. The trail ends at the Lippincott Pass sign and the intersection of Racetrack Road with a beautiful view of Racetrack Playa below to the north. The trail can be travelled either direction, and use of VHF radios are highly recommended to call out positions for opposing traffic. Most 4x4s will monitor the 146.460Hz frequency in the Death Valley Area. If approaching from below, relay an uphill message before mile 4 as there will be no way for vehicles to pass between miles 4 and 6. Like much of Death Valley, this trail has no cell coverage.

Photos of Lippincott Pass

Lippincott Pass
Lippincott Pass
Lippincott Pass

Difficulty

Numerous off-camber sections, switchbacks and a small rock garden along a shelf road make this trail moderate to difficult depending on vehicle size.

History

Lippincott pass was originally an access point for Lippincott Mine, located on the southwest corner of Racetrack Valley. Originating as far back as 1906, the mine produced lead and silver ore into the 1970's.

Technical Rating

4

Status Reports

Carlos Castellanos
Apr 01, 2024
4x4
Open
Trail was in good condition, according to the other two rigs in our group, the trail has been in the best condition they have seen It in a while. still nerve-racking seeing the edge, but trail has been recently leveled and was not an issue.
Ernesto Lopez
Jan 20, 2024
2017 Lexus GX
Open
Rough/Deteriorated
Echoing the last 2 reports: the hardest part of this trail was the first section through the valley. Several washed out areas have very steep ledges which were the biggest obstacle and could pose a big issue for those with a longer wheelbase or lower approach angle. I gave the trail a 5 for this area. The switchbacks up the mountain have been recently graded and are really not technical, maybe a 2/10. Still somewhat nerve wracking due to the amount of exposure though!
Candace Bathurst
Jan 05, 2024
4x4
Open
Rough/Deteriorated
Pass was recently grated not much for washouts on pass. Drove Jeep jk pulling turtleback trailer. Took lots of patience and time with trailer but made it through. Valley below still had a few big wash outs from rains. Jeep and trailer made it though.
Kelvin Tsoi
Jan 01, 2024
4x4
Open
Rough/Deteriorated
This was originally rated at a 4/10 but I would put it near 5/10 as there were about 4 washouts with deep clearance angles in the valley that looked like it was washout by recent rain. Fairly easy after that but I would suggest high clearance for that part

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