Swansea-Cerro Gordo Road

Total Miles
31.7

Elevation

2,847.40 ft

Duration

6 Hours

Technical Rating

5

Moderate

Best Time

Summer

Trail Overview

Road climbs rapidly through wilderness corridor to ridge atop Inyo Mountains. Great views, wildflowers and historical mining structures including a large tramway station. Route goes past Cerro Gordo Mines and Ghost Town. This private property was once open to guided tours, but an online posting says this is no longer the case.

Photos of Swansea-Cerro Gordo Road

Swansea-Cerro Gordo Road
Swansea-Cerro Gordo Road
Swansea-Cerro Gordo Road

Difficulty

Moderate: Steep, narrow and rocky in places. Prone to washouts and rock slides. Suitable for aggressive stock 4x4 SUVs with high clearance and skid plates. Not for novice drivers.

History

The Salt Tram was an engineering marvel when construction began in 1911. It operated until 1930 carrying salt from the floor of Saline Valley over the Inyo Mountains and back down to a processing plant just north of the town of Swansea (where the trail starts). The BLM has a project underway to stabilize the tram station. Fire is its greatest danger. Please respect the property and take only pictures. Source: Kiosk at the Tram Station.

Technical Rating

5

Status Reports

Rick Jackson
Apr 20, 2024
SxS
Obstructed
Deep Snow
I think we were about 10 miles from Cerro Gordo where we planned to go through. Snow was pretty deep, but one guy managed to go ahead a little further and reported that it was too risky on the north facing areas. We turned back.
Christian Seabaugh
Apr 16, 2024
4x4
Obstructed
Washout
Deep Snow
Rough, rutted, and rocky. Impassable at the snow line up at 9000 feet. Waste of a day.
Branden Gabel
Mar 29, 2024
Open
Normal
Dusty
Ernesto Lopez
Jan 20, 2024
2017 Lexus GX
Open
Normal

Access Description

From Hwy. 395 in Lone Pine, take Hwy. 136 east 9.6 miles and turn left just before house with high fence. Small sign on mailbox says 'Welcome to Swansea.'

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