2017 - Trip Report - Crest of the Inyos & Saline Valley Salt Tram
Crest Of The Inyo’s and Saline Valley Salt Tram
Trip report and photos by Ken Eltrich
First weekend of June our small group met up in Olancha to explore the crest of the Inyo’s and the salt tram that brought salt from Saline valley to Owens valley from 1913 to 1930. After topping off our tanks we made our way to the other side of Owens lake bed to the trail head at Swansea. The road up was not too bad only a couple spots were rocky and loose. The views kept getting better the higher we climbed. The first view of a tram tower was pretty amazing. Once we arrived at the top of the Inyo’s we went left to the Burgess Mine shack for a quick look. The views from there were unbelievable. On one side of the ridge you had the snowcapped Sierra’s and on the other side the mighty Saline Valley and beyond.
No one in our group had been on this trip before so we decided to camp at the Tram Station. In hind sight that was not the best idea as it’s right on the ridge and was windy all night. I opted to sleep on the porch of the cabin so I was protected from the wind but there are several camp sites just before topping out on the ridge that offer good protection and plenty of tree cover. The next day we made our way across the ridge and down into Cerro Gordo mine. We had hoped for a tour but we missed the only one that was given Saturday. We checked out a couple buildings then headed east towards Lee Flat. We spent the second night at the Holiday mine about half way down the mountain from Cerro Gordo. Good place with plenty of Flat area and still in the trees with great views into Saline Valley. Sunday morning we took our time breaking camp and headed towards Highway 190 and home. ~ Ken