Inyo Mtn Hikes from Hunter Canyon (Saline Valley)

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tom h
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Inyo Mtn Hikes from Hunter Canyon (Saline Valley)

Post by tom h » Fri May 04, 2018 8:59 am

Does anyone here have recent experience hiking in the Inyo Mountains just to the west of Saline Valley? I'm in particular thinking about the area along the ridge between Keynot Mtn and Burgess Mine, and the trails on the east side of the ridge that take you to Bighorn Mine. I'm considering some loop hikes that start in Hunter, ascend the mountain to Burgess, head north along the ridge to Keynot, and then back down via Beveridge, with side trips here and there.

Specific questions:

1) Where can I find maps or gpx data for these routes? Not much available online as far as I can see.
2) What cabins are useful for spending the night? Bighorn, Frenchie's, etc? What would be recommended itineraries? The area is so rugged I have no idea how many miles to budget for each day.
3) Caltopo shows old bulldozer roads up to Burgess on the east side; are these still hikable? Or have they been washed out over time?
4) Some online accounts say there is a direct trail from Bighorn Mine over the ridge down to Beveridge. True? Does anyone have a map or gpx data?
5) Should I expect that trails get washed out regularly, and that losing the trail will be standard operating procedure?

Thanks for any help, guidance, or data.

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MojaveGeek
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Re: Inyo Mtn Hikes from Hunter Canyon (Saline Valley)

Post by MojaveGeek » Sat May 05, 2018 4:44 pm

I've not hiked much in the Inyos. IRC there is/was a "Friends of the Inyos" organization, and I think it was run by and/or started by Steve Smith, retired some years ago from the BLM Ridgecrest office. He knew the Inyos well. His son Shane is a pretty active desert peak hiker and has probably spent a bunch of time up there as well. Most of the trails there are old miners' routes, and some have been rehabilitated in modern times. Of course, some erode. I find that the sat images are pretty good for showing traces of old foot trails unless you're among trees, in which case it is hopeless. You might find some old Inyo TRs in the archives of the Desert Peaks Section (DPS) of the Sierra Club.

tom h
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Re: Inyo Mtn Hikes from Hunter Canyon (Saline Valley)

Post by tom h » Sun May 06, 2018 8:55 pm

Thanks, I will send them a message this week. By chance, do you know whether the BLM office in Ridgecrest will have either maps or gps files? Down in the Palm Desert area the rangers are great and will generally send you the data if they have it.

D.A. Wright
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Re: Inyo Mtn Hikes from Hunter Canyon (Saline Valley)

Post by D.A. Wright » Mon May 07, 2018 10:01 am

The trail system MG refers to is commonly referred to as the Lonesome Miner Trail. Steve Smith, formerly of Ridecrest BLM, and Tom Budlong searched for and hiked the old mining and other trails in the Inyos and beyond doing groundwork for this project. Tom recruited me to find documentation (press and mine/claim records) as well.

I think Brian and Tim Waag are also experts on all things Beveridge, as well as the southern Inyos. Searching Beveridge and the trail will bring up others who have done the trip as well.

I’ve never done Beveridge, but from reading trip reports through the decades, it seems to me your itinerary a bit ambitious, especially if you plan to do all in a single trip.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

tom h
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Re: Inyo Mtn Hikes from Hunter Canyon (Saline Valley)

Post by tom h » Mon May 07, 2018 12:06 pm

D.A. Wright wrote:
Mon May 07, 2018 10:01 am
The trail system MG refers to is commonly referred to as the Lonesome Miner Trail. Steve Smith, formerly of Ridecrest BLM, and Tom Budlong searched for and hiked the old mining and other trails in the Inyos and beyond doing groundwork for this project. Tom recruited me to find documentation (press and mine/claim records) as well.

I think Brian and Tim Waag are also experts on all things Beveridge, as well as the southern Inyos. Searching Beveridge and the trail will bring up others who have done the trip as well.

I’ve never done Beveridge, but from reading trip reports through the decades, it seems to me your itinerary a bit ambitious, especially if you plan to do all in a single trip.
Thanks for the reply. As regards the degree of difficulty and time to allot for each section, that's what I hope to learn so I can plan wisely.

I've been up there a few times in my jeep and two years ago met a guy doing the Lonesome Miner trail alone; he'd come up from Beveridge that morning and had made it to the Burgess Mine. That's only about 7 miles according to Caltopo. So I have to wonder just how rough the trails are or whether they exist at all.

The loop I was discussing with a buddy starts at Burgess, goes to Beveridge the long way via the old mining road and Bighorn Mine; then heads back to Burgess via Forgotten Pass and the ridgeline -- a two day trip. Or, alternatively, turning north at Forgotten and heading out via the Pat Keyes trail along the ridge or the Lonesome Miner for a 4-5 day trip. But without details I am mostly at a loss to know how to plan. I found one detailed post about Lonesome Miner which was well documented with photos and annotated Google maps but without data; I still wonder if some of their ridge ascents were on trails or not. So that's where I stand at present.

Do you have contact information for the fellows you mention -- Steve Smith, Tom Budlong, Brian and Tim Waag? Thanks.

D.A. Wright
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Re: Inyo Mtn Hikes from Hunter Canyon (Saline Valley)

Post by D.A. Wright » Mon May 07, 2018 1:03 pm

Waag brothers have contact info on a Saline Valley salt tram blog - http://salttram.blogspot.com/2018/ Scroll to the bottom of the page and there is a photo of them with contact info.

I’ve lost touch with both Steve Smith and Tom Budlong after about 2000. Tom would be well up in age by now, as he was in his mid to upper 60s in the mid 1990s. You might be able to Google their names and get White Pages info. Smith in Ridgecrest, Budlong in the Mandeville Canyon above Brentwood.

There is a fellow here on this forum that goes by Beveridge Flyer, I believe. If memory serves me correctly it is one of the Waag brothers. Look him up in the member list for contact info.

I think Desert Mouse has done Beveridge as well.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

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