Hosted and Powered by

*Reconnoiter - To make a reconnaissance. — Syn.: inspect, survey, scout out.

The Great Basin and the Eastern Sierra Nevada region. Wide, open, full of opportunities to reconnoiter. The Great Basin covers eastern California, southeastern Oregon, the majority of Nevada and western Utah. Whether on foot, hoof or tires, there are trails and roadways that feed the wanderlust within one's psyche.

Though this website is four-wheel-drive focused, it includes various trails that offer the adventurer fun, history and scenic beauty – no matter their mode of transportation, if any at all.

Through words and photos it is an endeavor to give the potential traveler enough information to plan their own escapades into the region, as well as be forewarned of any potential for problems due to trail obstacles or remoteness.

The heaviest emphasis of this website is on the eastern regions of east-central California and Nevada.

Enjoy your own reconnoiter through the region.

DISCLAIMER: As with all things wild, caution is advised to the traveler, who are responsible for themselves and their loved ones or friends to adequately prepare to travel the trails, roads and locations contained within this website. The author and owner of this website claims no responsibility for changes to the trails and landscape, such as but not limited to ~ road closures, road destruction by man or nature; or the effects of inappropriate or inadequate preparation by the reader and traveler for themselves, passengers or their vehicle; or the effects of damaging circumstances of any kind. Every attempt is made to update the pages within if situations are brought to the author's attention or if found by the author to alert the public and readers of this website. In short, travel these trails and roads at your own risk.

Website Menu

4WD Trails

Descriptive pages of 4WD trails and semi-maintained roads through historic and scenic locations. Plenty of photos and maps. Advise on trail difficulties that may be encountered as well.


Eastern Sierra Nevada Region – Owens Valley West

Big Pine, California

Big Pine to Sanger Meadow (Coyote Flat) via Glacier View

The vast alpine region of Sanger Meadow and Coyote Flat south of Bishop, California contain a densely packed Mother Lode of 4WD fun and adventure. This route explains a little known way in to the region.

Bishop, California

Wheeler Ridge

This is a short but fun filled bronc-buster that takes you high into the Sierra Nevada to some old tungsten mines and grand views of the northern Owens Valley and southern Mono County; in the Rock Creek Canyon and Wheeler Ridge northwest of Bishop, California.

Independence, California

Division Creek to Armstrong Canyon

This road, northwest of Independence, California, zig-zags up the sheer face of the Sierra Nevada and offers superb views of the Owens Valley and superb views of the earth's crust.

Eastern Sierra Nevada Region – Mammoth Lakes Region

Mammoth Lakes, California

Laurel Lakes

A short yet scenic trip close to Mammoth Lakes, California. Perfect for an afternoon of fishing, a picnic or an alpine scenic treat.

Mammoth Lakes, California

Old State Highway into Mammoth Lakes, CA

Not a true 4x4 trail and only 4.0 miles long, but nevertheless has a lot to offer in the way of scenery, leisure and alternative access to the hustle and bustle of Mammoth Lakes or the recreational areas nearby. Can be used with the soon to come page on the Sherwin Creek road into Mammoth for a scenic loop trip.

Mammoth Lakes, California

San Joaquin Ridge-Deadman Pass

This short but spectacular route virtually straddles the spine of the Sierra Nevada and is at the very western brink of the Great Basin. In fact, in several short spurts, you actually leave the Great Basin. Watch out that you don't end up in the blue, blue Pacific!

Mammoth Lakes, California

Sherwin Creek

Another short byway that takes the traveler into Mammoth Lakes, California, this road can be used with the old state highway into Mammoth Lakes to make a scenic loop trip.

Eastern Sierra Nevada Region – Mono County Southeast

Benton, California

Blind Spring Hill

Good things do come in small packages! Near Benton, California, Civil War era mines and dwellings are densely packed within this small range of hills.

Eastern Sierra Nevada Region – The White Mountains

Hammil Valley, California

Champion Spark Plug Mine

The Champion Spark Plug Mine is a unique feature on the western slope of the rugged White Mountains north of Bishop, California. This 4x4 trail adventure is unique in that a foot trail is also involved and mandatory to reach the mine and associated mine camps. The Black Eagle Camp of the mining operation is still maintained and usable by visitors for camping. A truly unique 4x4 trail!

Eastern White Mountains, California

Mollie Gibson Canyon / Mine

A short but interesting little jog in the White Mountains northeast of Big Pine, California. A nice get away for picnics, piñon nuts, exploration, mines and bats.

White Mountains, California

White Mountains Traverse

A high altitude traverse and straddle of the high and mighty White Mountains of eastern California, east of Bishop, California. This pathway climbs Wyman Canyon and descends steeply down Silver Canyon. At the top of the range a turn north to the end of the public access portion of the summit road along the White Mountains affords flirting with the 12,000 foot mark and tremendous views in all directions, as well as getting up close and personal with the oldest trees on earth.

Eastern White Mountains, California

Wyman Canyon to Crooked Creek to Cottonwood Creek to the top of the White Mountains.

Written guides and local voices says this very remote road in the White Mountains is impassable, but you can get in a ways and find some real remote, lovely and lonely country out there.

Eastern Sierra Nevada Region – The Inyo Range

Lone Pine, California

Swansea to Cerro Gordo

This trail climbs up onto the backbone of the Inyo Range west of Lone Pine, California, and follows the spine of the range through history and ends with a decision. Includes the Swansea Grade, ghost camp of Burgess, the technological wonder of the Saline Valley Salt Tram Summit Station, and the old hell-raising camp of Cerro Gordo. Then comes the decision of which way to go home. But then again, there's plenty of places to stay up here a while in case you don't want to.

Lone Pine, California

Swansea to Cerro Gordo Photo Essay

A companion photo essay to the primary Swansea to Cerro Gordo page. Many views of travel over the Swansea to Cerro Gordo trail over the years.

Death Valley National Park Region

Furnace Creek, California

Echo Canyon

A nice outing from the Furnace Creek complex of Death Valley National Park, Echo Canyon to the Inyo Mine is easy and scenic. At the end is a prize – the Inyo Mine, which provides a look into the earliest days of the 20th Century.

Eureka Valley, California

Eureka Valley to Fish Lake Valley via Horsethief Canyon

Located east of Big Pine, California, in the northwestern portion of Death Valley National Park. The Horsethief Canyon 4x4 Trail affords an easy jaunt with solitude and views. Springtime wildflowers and blooming cactus. This 16 mile saunter will take the traveler from the Mojave Desert and into the Great Basin – from Eureka Valley into Fish Lake Valley. It can be traveled singly or paired with the Gilbert Summit to Eureka Valley road or North Eureka Road for a loop trip. A crossover SUV friendly trail.

Eureka Valley, California

Eureka Valley to Gilbert Summit

Located in the northwestern portion of Death Valley National Park. A nice, easy jaunt with solitude and vistas. Springtime wildflowers. This 14 miles route offers an easy daytime run out of Big Pine or while camping in Eureka Valley.

Racetrack Valley-Saline Valley, California

Lippincott Grade

A short but sweet trail that runs between Racetrack Valley and Saline Valley in western Death Valley National Park. It has the reputation for being mean and nasty, but wow! Those gorgeous views!

Saline Valley-Eureka Valley, California

Steele Pass

Running between Saline Valley and Eureka Valley in northwestern Death Valley National Park, this route is seldom used and runs through some very lonesome country. Includes information on the Saline Valley hot springs complex and campgrounds.

Elko County

Elko-Jarbidge, Nevada

Jarbidge, Nevada & Vicinity

This region is very remote and scenic beyond description. Located in the isolated region north of Elko, Nevada and nearly on the Idaho line, the tiny hamlet of Jarbidge has electricity and telephone, but not a stitch of pavement anywhere nearby. This page takes you from Elko to Jarbidge, up to some of the remote high country around the village and into Idaho.

Last Revision: 8/28/10