DEATH VALLEY & MOJAVE
Here’s your opportunity to explore the dramatic desert landscape known as Death Valley and beyond to some of the best historical site in the Mojave Desert.
You will have the opportunity to explore off-road on the historic trade route known as Jawbone Canyon to the spectacular rock formations of Red Rock Canyon. Beyond Red Rock Canyon your adventure will explore a remote dirt mining route in the El Paso Mountains to the historic Bickel Camp and Burro Schmidt Tunnel. You will also have the opportunity to explore on foot through a half mile long gold mine “dug entirely by hand” by the eccentric miner known as “Burro Schmidt”. Your adventure continues to explore off-road to the Trona Pinnacles which is one of the most unusual geological features in the Mojave Desert to the to the historic ghost town of Ballarat. Beyond Ballarat you will explore on and off-road through Death Valley National Park to Badwater Basin which is the lowest elevation point in North America at 282 feet below sea level.
Jawbone Canyon and Red Rock Canyon; Europeans first settled in the canyon around 1860—naming it Jawbone Canyon because its shape resembled a mandible (lower Jawbone) and the trail was used as a trade route from Keyesville into the Piute Mountains. During the Kern River gold rush, several gold mines operated in the canyon; the most successful of these, the St. John mine, yielded nearly $700,000 worth of gold between 1860 and 1875. The Gwynn mine, on the Geringer Grade, ran six claims yielding a total of $770,000 worth of gold and quartz before ceasing operations in 1942. Mining continued throughout the Great Depression and into the late 1940s.
Burro Schmidt Tunnel; High atop the El Paso Mountains, above Last Chance Canyon, exists today a monument to one man's determination and perseverance. William Henry Schmidt, better known as "Burro" Schmidt, spent 38 years digging a half-mile long tunnel “dug entirely by hand” through the El Paso Mountains of eastern California. Burro Schmidt, who was mining gold, was faced with a dangerous ridge between his mining area and the smelter at Mojave, California. Burro Schmidt said that he would "never haul his ore to the smelter in Mojave down that back trail" using his two burros. Thus, he began his tunnel in 1906. Burro Schmidt was trapped by falling rock and nearly died many times while digging his tunnel and injured often but continued on. In 1920 a road was completed from Last Chance Canyon to Mojave, eliminating the need for the tunnel, but Burro Schmidt claimed to be obsessed with completing his tunnel, and dug on.
Bickel Camp; the historic Bickel Camp is dedicated to the memory of Walt Bickel, and to sharing the enterprising spirit of a true "old-timer" prospector. Bickel Camp is a historic 1930's era mining camp located in Last Chance Canyon of the El Paso Mountains, Mojave Desert, California. The El Paso Mountains are a picturesque, colorful, and mineralized mountain range at just over 5000 feet elevation. Early miners were attracted by gold-bearing ancient river channels that lie exposed in this desert mountain range. Walt Bickel prospected, and came to stay in the early 1930s, at what is now known as Bickel Camp. His mining camp is covered with unique tools and equipment testify to the inventiveness and capability of a man living with the land and nature.
Trona Pinnacles; The Trona Pinnacles is one of the most unusual geological features in California’s Mojave Desert. The unusual landscape consists of more than 500 tufa spires (porous rock formed as a deposit when springs interact with other bodies of water), some as high as 140 feet, rising from the bed of the Searles Lake (dry) basin. The pinnacles vary in size and shape from short and squat to tall and thin, and are composed primarily of calcium carbonate (tufa). These strange tufa shapes formed underwater 10,000 to 100,000 years ago in an ancient lake that covered this portion of the Searles Dry Lakebed. The Trona Pinnacles now sit isolated and slowly crumbling away near the south end of the Searles Valley.
Ballarat; Ballarat is a historic ghost town located in Panamint Valley in the Mojave Desert. It was founded in 1896 as a supply point for the mines in the canyons of the Panamint Range. In its heyday from 1897 to 1905 Ballarat had 400 to 500 residents. It hosted seven saloons, three hotels, a Wells Fargo station, post office (that opened in 1897) school, a jail and morgue, but no churches. Today, Ballarat has only one full-time resident known as Rocky who lives in this ghost town. Rocky runs the general store on afternoons and weekends to supply cold drinks to visitors passing through town. The town still has a few historic adobe buildings, foundations, jail house, morgue and mining equipment scatter about including Charles Manson's forgotten army surplus Power Wagon Truck.
Death Valley National Park; Death Valley's Badwater Basin is the point of the lowest elevation in North America at 282 feet below sea level. This point is 85 miles east-southeast of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet. Death Valley's Furnace Creek holds the record for the highest reported air temperature in the world at 134 degree on July 10, 1913. Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve. Approximately 95% of the park is a designated wilderness area. It’s also the hottest and driest of the national parks in the United States. In this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet, each extreme has a striking contrast. Towering peaks over 11,000 feet are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of wildlife species survives in Death Valley, including 51 species of native mammals, 307 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, three species of amphibians, and five species and one subspecies of native fishes. Small mammals are more numerous than large mammals, such as desert bighorn, coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, and mule deer. Mule deer are present in the pinyon/juniper associations of the Grapevine, Cottonwood, and Panamint Mountains.
Multi-Day Ride (25 rider max)
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 475+ miles (75+ miles dirt roads)
Gas stops (135-mile range required)
Breakfast Lunch & Dinner at restaurants (meal Not included)
Meet Time: 9:00 a.m.
Meeting Location: Starbucks Ridgecrest CA.
1245 N. China Lake Blvd. Ridgecrest CA 93555
Ride returns to Ridgecrest CA (approx. 5pm)
Hotels recommended in Ridgecrest CA:
Riders are responsible to book their Hotel reservations. (Not included)
-Best Western, 400 China Lake Blvd. Ridgecrest CA. 93555
-Super 8, 426 China Lake Blvd. Ridgecrest CA. 93555
-Motel 6, 535 S. China Lake Blvd. Ridgecrest CA. 93555
Additional Hotels available in Ridgecrest CA all in walking distance.
Recommend staying in Ridgecrest CA on Friday night.
Riders are responsible to book their Hotel reservations. (Not included)
Riders have the 'option' to 'Camp" near Ridgecrest CA.
Riders that choose to camp are recommended to make camping reservations in advance.
(Camping fees Not included)
More details listed under "Book this Ride"
Questions email: mark@SierraNevadaAdventures.com