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Finally visiting Goler / Mengel / Geologist's ... advice?

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:41 pm
by TacoLand
Hey folks, popping down to D.V. in less than a week and higher than expected temps have me abandoning my plan to hike in the Owlshead Mountain area.

I've got four nights and was thinking of cruising down and spending the first night near Ballarat, so I can tackle Mengel Pass for my first time in the morning on the second day. Otherwise I'm approaching Mengel around dusk on my first day after a full day of driving which sounds less than desirable.

Since this is all changing last minute I haven't had a chance to dive into Digonnet's book or Steve Hall's website. I'd probably like to spend my second and third night in the Butte Valley area before exiting out via Warm Spring Canyon and camping somewhere in the north end of the Park on the fourth night.

Never had a chance to explore this particular area and was wondering if anyone might have some quick "must sees" or whatnot they wouldn't mind sharing while I scramble to do research. Hikes, side drives, whatever ... anything is greatly appreciated!

Re: Finally visiting Goler / Mengel / Geologist's ... advice?

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:46 pm
by D.A. Wright
In addition to the Geologist Cabin, there are also the Mengel and Russel cabins nearby.

In the north end, I think you might enjoy camping at Stateline ghost town. South of Gold Point, so you have quick and easy access to US95. You can get to the site via Oriental Wash, or a round about way via Tule Canyon. There is a maintained cabin at Stateline. My favorite spot to camp is on a lateral road near the prominent headframe above the mill ruins. Views across Death Valley to the Sierra Nevada. To the east the broad range of Gold Mountain dominates the view and should still hold plenty of snow, adding to the view. Might be a bit chilly at night, at the headframe you are a few feet above the 6,000 foot level.

Re: Finally visiting Goler / Mengel / Geologist's ... advice?

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:50 pm
by TacoLand
D.A. Wright wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:46 pm
In the north end, I think you might enjoy camping at Stateline ghost town. South of Gold Point, so you have quick and easy access to US95. You can get to the site via Oriental Wash, or a round about way via Tule Canyon. There is a maintained cabin at Stateline. My favorite spot to camp is on a lateral road near the prominent headframe above the mill ruins. Views across Death Valley to the Sierra Nevada. To the east the broad range of Gold Mountain dominates the view and should still hold plenty of snow, adding to the view. Might be a bit chilly at night, at the headframe you are a few feet above the 6,000 foot level.
Wow, way to read my mind. I was going over my topo maps last night looking at that entire area via Oriental Wash and wondering what the deal was as that's another area I've yet to explore. Might be a bit of a drive from Warm Spring area up to there, but it'll give my new girlfriend a chance to see the entirety of the valley floor from the passenger seat. Thanks for the info!

Any thoughts on spots to camp between Mengel and West Side Road? I'd like to take a look at the cabins, but always sleep in my truck. Figured I'd just keep my eyes peeled, but never hurts to ask.

Re: Finally visiting Goler / Mengel / Geologist's ... advice?

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:12 pm
by D.A. Wright
Really can’t think of a place to camp between Mengel and West Side Road. Except Willow Spring, a short distance south east of the Geologist Cabin. There is a road heading there from the cabin that dead ends there. Never been there but have read of others who have. At least you’re off the main road a ways and like won’t have company.

As for Stateline, Esmeralda County is likely out there now maintaining the roads. At their worst they’re still pretty descent. That entire area was my back yard for the years I lived in Big Pine before I came north to Winnemucca 11 years ago.

You can get from Furnace Creek to Stateline at legal speeds in about three hours.

The path of the Oriental Wash road has changed from time to time. It used to take off at Little Sand Spring, but I found the route barricaded in 2008. I don’t recall any signage then indicating the road. You can continue north to Crankshaft Crossing, travel easterly into Nevada, where the road will dramatically improve. The road will enter Tule Canyon. Shortly, a road will take off to the east and exit the canyon. This road will cut across and join the original Oriental Wash road.

There are several sets of ruins at several townsites in Tule Canyon. About halfway up the canyon you’ll be up in the pinon pines, but I doubt that you’ll be able to get over Tule Summit as the snow gets pretty deep up there with little sunshine.

Re: Finally visiting Goler / Mengel / Geologist's ... advice?

Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:51 am
by TacoLand
Well, made it through Goler / Mengel and had a fantastic day & night in Butte Valley .... but managed to tear my MCL the next day in Slit Canyon, so no Stateline for me. Thanks again for all the info and I'll be sure to visit Stateline next time I'm down there. Trip report(s) to follow!

Re: Finally visiting Goler / Mengel / Geologist's ... advice?

Posted: Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:58 pm
by Death Valley Dazed
TacoLand wrote:
Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:51 am
... but managed to tear my MCL the next day in Slit Canyon ...Trip report?
Ouch, this is NOT my idea of a fun "trip" report!