At the north end of Owens Valley, just northeast of the Owens River Gorge is a prominent outcrop rising on the northeast part of the Volcanic Tableland that can be seen for many miles in all directions and therefore has outstanding views likewise.
This small peak is southeast of the Long Valley Caldera, one of the largest calderas on earth created 760,000 years ago by a large volcanic eruption. There is still notable smoldering potential in the area. Mammoth Mountain to the west, the Glass Mountain Range to the northeast and the Mono Craters to the north are all linked to this dramatic geological activity.
This is a desert peak composed of granite rock much like the Alabama Hills with a short easy approach of scrub brush giving way to a jumble of huge bolders that require some interesting route finding to get to the class 3 summit.
Casa Diablo (La Casa del Diablo, Spanish for House of the Devil), has a colorful mining history and panoramic views of the White Mountains to the east, Owens Valley to the south and the Eastern Sierra to the west.
Southwest over Owens Valley to Mt. Tom from Casa Diablo
From the north: From the junction of Hwy. 395 with Hwy. 203 at Mammoth Lakes, go south on 395, 5.5 miles. Turn left (northeast) on the Benton Crossing Road and go up and around Lake Crowley then east through Watterson Canyon to a junction at 17.8 miles from 395. Turn south (Casa Diablo Rd.) 6.4 miles to a 2 track road just west of Casa Diablo Mtn..Hike up a drainage and approach the peak from the north. With only a 600 foot gain and just 2 miles round trip it could still take several hours because of the giant boulder route finding.
From the south: From the junction of Hwy. 395 with Hwy. 6 north of Bishop go north approximately 1.5 miles to 5 Bridges Road. Go north on 5 Bridges Road 2.5 more miles passing a gravel mining operation to a junction with Chalk Bluffs Road, left and Fish Slough Road, right. Keep straight (north) on Road 4S04 (Casa Diablo Road), a graded dirt with some washboard and some sandy places 14.5 to a 2 track road that goes a short distance to the east below Casa Diablo Mtn..
Northeast to the White Mtns. from Casa Diablo
This is Inyo National Forest territory and no permits are required. The Casa Diablo Road could possibly pose a problem for 2 wheel drive cars with low clearance. To check the road conditions call the Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office, 760-872-4881 or go on line at: www.ca.blm.gov/bishop
Nevahbe Ridge and Esha Canyon from the McGee Creek area off Hwy. 395
LAKE CROWLEY CAMPGROUND, 6980' el.. From Hwy. 395 west of Lake Crowley, turn west 1 tenth mile then an immediate left onto a frontage road, Go 1 mile southeast then turn right and go .5 miles southwest to the campground. MCGEE CREEK,7550'. From Hwy. 395 turn west on McGee Creek Road 1.9 miles then .2 miles to the right. UPPER MCGEE CREEK, 8070', 3.9 miles on McGee Creek Road. ROCK CREEK, 7300'. Turn south from Hwy. 395 at Toms Place on the Rock Creek Road. Go .3 miles then right .2 miles. There are also the ASPEN, IRIS, BIG MEADOW, PALISADE, EAST FORK, PINE GROVE campgrounds in succession further on up the Rock Creek Road as well as several campgrounds around Rock Creek Lake at 9700'and one at Mesquito Flat at 10100'.
The land surrounding the mountain is Inyo National Forest and Bureau of Land Management so you can also camp independently in the area as long as there are no posted restrictions.
Thanks for the extra info Clydascope! I actually took the Benton approach when I did it in '05 but didn't have time to add the route when I posted the page so I derived the Bishop route from Andy Zdons' Desert Summits. I'll get it in there soon and check out the mining history too. Great that you live out there! I usually and get out to the Eastern Sierra several times (awesome territory!) and Death Valley every year from Marin County. Later man! - Windsor.
Posted Feb 10, 2009 12:25 am
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