OverviewCerro Gordo Mine area towards the south end of the Inyo Mountains. Cerro Gordo, also known as "Fat Hill", was a very successful silver mine with a colorful history. The old town site rests at 8,200' near the crest of the Inyos with the remains of the 19th century mining operation still in evidence a few hundred feet up the slope.
Fortunately for peak baggers the road which climbs almost 5,000' from the Owens Lake to Cerro Gordo makes this moderate day hike a pleasurable jaunt along the top on the range with outstanding views on all sides.
To the west, above Owens Valley is the monumental eastern scarp of the High Sierra stretching the length of the horizon. To the north the higher Inyo peaks stand out along the spine of the range. The eastern view takes in Saline Valley and the northern ranges of Death Valley National Park. To the southeast the Panamint Range is topped by Telescope Peak and southwest lies the vast expanse of the Owens Lake area with massive Olancha Peak dominant on the edge of the Southern Sierra.
Park at the saddle and walk north up the road that goes to the left around the western side of the crest 1.5 to another saddle where the road continues winding south up to radio facilities. Leave the road here and hike north along the crest .75 miles to the south summit, drop down a bit on a rugged use trail and traverse along the west side of the south summit .4 miles and up to the main summit. Judging from the register some people have been fooled by the south peak since the main summit is hidden from view at that point, me included the first time I hiked it.
Camping'The Land of Little Rain'. But there are endless places to pull off the road and camp. I van camped at the saddle beyond the town site last time I did the hike and was up for a beautiful pre-dawn start.
The nearest campgrounds I could find were Tuttle Creek Campground and the Lone Pine Campground in the Alabama Hills west of Lone Pine.
Tuttle Creek Campground: From Hwy. 395 in Lone Pine go west on the Whitney Portal Road 3.2 miles.Turn south and go 1.7 south on Horseshoe Meadows Road. Turn right (west) and go .9 miles to the Tuttle Creek Campground area.
Lone Pine Campground: Go 6.5 miles west on the Whitney Portal road from 395 in Lone Pine. Take a short left .35 miles then a right .5 miles to the campground.
Current weather conditionsclick here.
Further reading on hiking desert peaksDesert Summits, by Andy Zdon. This is the book on desert peak bagging for California and Southern Nevada.
Additions and Corrections[ Post an Addition or Correction ]