Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
4,891.00 ft (1,490.78 m)
Trail type
25.10 mi (40.39 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The hike to Cerro Gordo Ghost Town via Saline Valley Road is a 25 mile lightly trafficked dirt road route that begins in Death Valley National Park and ends at Cerro Gordo Ghost Town, an old mining town within the Inyo Mountains just outside of Lone Pine, CA. 

The route is primarily used for scenic drives and hikes. The road is open year round (weather permitting), but hiking is most popular in September and October when temperatures are less extreme. 

This route is part of the 135 mile Lowest to Highest route, a backcountry thru-hike from the Badwater Basin to the top of Mt. Whitney. 

Saline Valley is one of the more remote parts of Death Valley National Park. Hikers will be treated to vast landscapes surrounded by rugged mountains, Joshua Tree forests and  opportunities to see native desert plants and animals. Primitive camping is available throughout the route for those who prefer to make this a backpacking experience. The route itself is easy to follow and the climbing is gradual with the exception of the last four miles (the last climb includes 3,000+ of elevation gain!). Some challenging considerations include extreme temperatures, no water, and lack of shade. Do your research in advance, prepare with adequate clothing and water and you will be treated to a surprisingly beautiful and diverse desert experience. 

Your journey begins at the juncture of Highway 190 and Saline Valley Road. Park your vehicle (or get dropped off) in the dirt parking area off the paved road, grab your gear, and begin your hike on Saline Valley Road/trail

You will follow the dirt path and climb gradually for the first 8.3 miles at which point you will reach a junction. At the junction, take the left fork and hike northwest  on White Mountain Talc Road. Continue on the road/trail for 7 more miles at which point you will reach another junction and the top of your first climb. Stay on White Mountain Talc Road, hike north and enjoy a well deserved  mile descent. At mile 20 (the bottom of your descent) you will reach another junction, here you will leave White Mountain Talc Road and continue southwest on Cerro Gordo Rd. Cerro Gordo Road is where you leave Death Valley National Park and enter various BLM and private lands. The road itself is a public right of way. 

Save your energy for the last five miles, a scenic and steep climb to your final destination at Cerro Gordo Ghost Town.

The ghost town is currently under construction and restoration but can be visited and toured via appointment. Cerro Gordo Road extends to Highway 136, which is an easy access point for planning a car shuttle.

When you finish your hike, take a break and enjoy the views from Cerro Gordo. Looking out to the west you will see the expansive Owens Valley and the high jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Open Year-round



Vast landscape. Joshua Tree Forest. Solitude. Night sky.


Lack of shade. Lack of water.

Trailhead Elevation

4,857.00 ft (1,480.41 m)

Highest point

8,192.00 ft (2,496.92 m)


Backcountry camping

Typically multi-day


Suitable for

Motorized vehicles

Permit required




Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.