Lost Burro Mine In Death Valley Via Hunter Mountain Road (With A Side Trip To Boxcar and Hunter Mountain Cabin)

  • Updated: November 19, 2016
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

November 19th, 2016

This weekend was an odd mishmash of exploring in the general vicinity of Saline Valley and Death Valley.  I wanted to double check the road would be passable for people coming out for the glow in the dark list finish the following weekend and then we settled on getting into Death Valley a new way and hiking Ubehebe and doing The Racetrack.

So this was more of a travel day than climbing.  See this for the Racetrack day.

Boxcar Cabin - Saline Valley Road

This is an easy stop not far along Saline Valley Road north of 190.  We came this way primarily to scout the Nelson HP trailhead.  We saw this cabin from the road and stopped to investigate.

Hunter Mountain Road From Saline To Death Valley

The park describes Hunter Mountain Road as needing 4WD and warns it may be impassable due in times due to mud ice and snow.  Elsewhere I found it described it as an easy level backcountry road and that's what I'd tend to agree with though admittedly we had almost no mud.  I probably could have gotten Kristen's Subaru over it in the conditions we found.  The worst part was the endless washboarding on northern end once you descend off the pass.  You just have to go slow and not care too much about your vehicle which is doubly true for the road leading north from the Racetrack anyway.

Along the way we did stop at the gated Hunter Mountain Cabin but it was less interesting than Boxcar.

Lost Burro Mine - Death Valley

We decided to explore Lost Burro Mine since it seemed to be a fair size on the map and it turned into one of the better mines I've been in.  There were countless adits you walk into quite a ways and multiple levels that connect to each other though the connecting ladder looked sketchy enough I wasn't about to try it.  There's also a few interesting structures.

The road to get to the mine has one section that was a little iffy due to the road partially collapsing.  We ran into a big group of trucks coming out as we arrived and I was generally happy to have something with a little more traction.

We first went south following a strong use trail only to have it peter out at the ridge.  We looked around but couldn't figure out what might be the attraction up there.  The canyon to the northwest was where all the interesting bits were.

Inside the main building

The outhouse is currently out of service

The adits are all up this way

There's a good reason everyone tells you to stay out of these

We spent a good hour or two exploring before heading off to find a place to spend the night.

Camping Near Teakettle Junction

Camping in the general vicinity of The Racetrack can be a challenge.  There's a no camping zone that starts just west of Teakettle and I'm not sure how far towards Lippencott it extends in the south.  Ubehebe Mine also specifically says no camping.  There is an official campground but that's all the way up by Ubehebe Crater and the road in between isn't something you really want to drive more than you have to.

I'd been out there before and stayed near Dry and Tin northeast of Teakettle but there had been no real turnouts just hugging the side of the road as well as we could.  This time we ran into people camping on the road right at Teakettle but that didn't sit right with me.

After some searching the best place we found is along this road in Hidden Valley running opposite of Lost Burro.  The road is easy and there were plenty of pullouts with flat areas for camping.  There were even firepits though it's not legal to have a fire back there to my understanding.

We could see a giant plume coming from the west somewhere on the east side.  We had internet on AT&T and we tried to find any information on a fire but couldn't find a thing.  A friend who lives in Rovana suggested it might have been just dust from the high winds.

The next morning we headed over to The Racetrack and did a few peaks.

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