Cerro Gordo ride combines the thrills of dual sport adventure and the opportunity to explore one of the most unique and remote ghost towns from the Wild West.
hese unusual pointy rock formations that grace Mono Lake's shores are known as Tufa Towers.
Your adventure travels south along the east side of the Sierra Nevada to Topaz. From Topaz you will continue south on the Eastern Sierra scenic byway which provides breathtaking views of the Sawtooth Range to wide open expanse of the Mono Lake Basin where you will stop for lunch at Bodie Mikes BBQ. After lunch your off-road adventure begins as you explore the south shore Mono Lake where you will have the opportunity to view the ancient tufa rock formations. From Mono Lake your journey travels south along the base of the Great Eastern Escarpment which offers spectacular views of the Ritter Range and the jagged spires of the Minarets to Bishop. Your two night stay will be in the resort town of Bishop which is located near the northern end of the Owens Valley.
Your second day adventure ride travels south through the Owens Valley which offers panoramic views of towering granite peaks over fourteen thousand feet. Your off-road adventure begins in the Alabama Hills which are a range of hills and rock formations at the base of Mt. Whitney, the tallest mountain in the Sierra Nevada as well as the highest summit in the contiguous United States, with an elevation of 14,505 feet. If you’ve never seen the Alabama Hills in person, you most likely have at least seen them in a movie or commercial. The Alabama Hills strange and unique rock formations have been the location for more than 400 movies and hundreds of television episodes. For example, if you’ve ever watched the classic Clint Eastwood movie Joe Kidd, then you’ve seen the Alabama Hills including Lone Pine Peak and Mt Whitney in the background.
Your adventure travels east of Mt. Whitney to the east side of the Owens dry lake bed. From the dry lake bed, your off-road adventure begins as you explore into the high and vast desert range known as the Inyo Mountains. You will have the opportunity to travel the historic Cerro Gordo wagon road which is well graded, but surprisingly steep. This historic route ventures up a narrow notch canyon then traverses across a series of switchbacks through an isolated and pristine desert wilderness dotted with small groves of Joshua trees. As you climb higher into this remote desert range you will be reward with panoramic views of the Owen Valley and Eastern Sierra. After climbing nearly a mile above the dry lake bed and rounding the last switchback, a picturesque sight of the unique and remote ghost towns comes into view. You will have the opportunity to explore the abandoned buildings and silver mines of Cerro Gordo. You will also have the opportunity to walk inside the historic American Hotel which was one of the rowdiest saloons in the Wild West.
Beyond Cerro Gordo, your off-road adventure explores the ancient Bristlecone Pine forest which are the oldest living trees on earth. The trees of the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains are the oldest recorded living thing on earth. A millennium older than the Giant Sequoia trees in the nearby Sierra, many are well over 2,000 years old and the ancient “Methuselah” tree in Schulman Grove is dated at more than 4,850 years old. These trees were young and growing at the time stone axes were being used in Europe, the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops) was being built, and cuneiform clay tablets were being used in northern Syria. Bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva & aristata) grow in the White Mountains at elevations 9,000 to over 11,000 feet. The oldest trees grow on outcrops of dolomite, an alkaline calcareous, low nutrient soil. Only on the alkaline dolomite will you find pure, relatively dense stands of Bristlecone pine.
Your third day adventure ride travels north along the Eastern Sierra and ventures over scenic mountain passes on its way back the beautiful Lake Tahoe.
Cerro Gordo ghost town is located on the western slope of the Inyo Mountains and east of Mt. Whitney. It was the first major silver strike in Owens Valley. Long before the area was developed, Mexicans had been prospecting the mountain they called Cerro Gordo, meaning “Fat Hill,” looking for silver. However, an early group was attacked by Indians and three of the five prospectors were killed. Two were held captive and when they were released, were required to promise never to return. However, after Fort Independence was established and the Indian activity subsided, the Mexicans came back in 1862.
By 1869, prospectors had taken over the property and ultimately turned it into the largest producer of silver and lead in California, yielding ores that assayed at least as high as $300 per ton. During its heyday Cerro Gordo averaged a murder a week, making it one of the rowdiest mining towns. Today, Cerro Gordo ghost town is considered one of the best “authentic mining towns” from the Wild West.
This dual sport adventure ride is perfect for medium to large dual sport adventure bikes.
Off-road terrain is rated "mild to moderate" with some "challenging" and lots of adventure.
Ride distance 600+ miles (75+ miles dirt roads)
Gas stops (135-mile range required)
Day 1, bring water & lunch
Meeting Location: Chevron in Jamestown CA
18151 CA-108, Jamestown, CA 95237
Ride returns to Jamestown CA (approx. 5pm)
Hotels recommended for Friday and Saturday Nights
-Motel 6 1005 N. Main Street Bishop CA 93514
-Comfort Inn 805 N. Main Street Bishop CA 93514
-Best Western Bishop Lodge 1025 N. Main St. Bishop CA 93514
Additional Hotels available in Bishop all in walking distance.
near Bishop CA.
Riders that choose to camp are recommended to make camping reservations in advance.
Note: Recommend staying in Jamestown CA Thursday Night
-Country Inn Sonora, 18730 CA-108, Jamestown CA 95327
Additional Hotels available in Jamestown and nearby Sonora.