Inyo Mountains Wilderness
Guide

Introduction

Ready for your next big RV adventure? Why not stop by California's Inyo Mountains Wilderness? It's an amazing place for a relaxing getaway.

Located near to Independence, California, Inyo Mountains Wilderness is a popular recreational area that is cared for by the Bureau of Land Management. Declared a national wilderness in 1994, this remote property consists of 199,208 acres of land that is ripe for exploring. The mountainous terrain spans from the Owens Valley to the west coast on one side and to the Death Valley National Park on the other.

Inyo Mountains Wilderness is nestled in a secluded location, making it the ideal place for families looking to reconnect with nature and catch up on their R&R. This outdoor haven offers many interesting activities to enjoy including hiking, horseback riding, and stargazing. The surrounding mountain landscape looks harsh yet is very delicate in nature. Since the area has little access to water, only limited plant and animal life flourishes here.

This rural destination boasts of some incredible topographical features, including stunning waterfalls and many streams. There are also eight canyons found interspersed throughout the grounds where climbers can apply their skill and get in a good workout.

A property of historical significance, the area was once a prosperous mining site. Left behind are many different artifacts from those days including several towers that supported a tram transporting men to work in the salt mines.
For those who enjoy backcountry hiking, Inyo Mountains Wilderness offers over 103 miles of trails that are challenging and left untouched, providing families with the opportunity to enjoy the true rustic navigation experience. Many campgrounds can be found throughout premises. Most are available on a first-come, first-served basis with few amenities provided.

.For an unforgettable outdoor experience, consider taking an RV vacation at the BLM property known as Inyo Mountains Wilderness. You'll have a fantastic time!

RV Rentals in Inyo Mountains Wilderness

Transportation

Driving

In an extremely remote location, travel to Inyo Mountains Wilderness proceeds along gravel roads of two lanes. The wilderness grounds can be reached from the south by taking the San Lucas Canyon or Cerro Gordo roads. Those traveling from the west or the north will need to follow the Lone Pine-Owenyo and the Mazourka Canyon roads. Eastbound travelers must take the Saline Valley Road.

Due to the rough conditions of all of these roads, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended. An area that experiences desert-like conditions and that is located quite far from any creature comforts or amenities, survival skills are recommended.

Parking

There are no formally designated parking areas at Inyo Wilderness Mountains. Since travel from the established roads to the wilderness grounds encompasses a large distance, it is necessary to park on the side of the road (within 30 feet is required by law) and walk or to traverse the desert-like conditions with a vehicle equipped with 4WD. This is not for the faint of heart.

During wet weather, it is not recommended to take an RV or travel trailer into the sand.

Public Transportation

There is no public transportation available to Inyo Mountains Wilderness.

Campgrounds and parking in Inyo Mountains Wilderness

Campsites in Inyo Mountains Wilderness

First-come first-served

Goodale Creek Campground

Goodale Creek Campground, a BLM property, offers RV and tent camping year-round on a first-come, first-served basis. There are 43 sites in total with five equipped for pull-through trailers. Each of the campsites is furnished with a fire pit, a picnic table, and a spot for a lantern.

No power hookups are available at this campground. Dogs are permitted to join their owners but must remain on a leash at all times.

The nearest waste disposal station and access to water are 12 miles away at Big Pine.

Stays are restricted to no more than 14 days in any specific location with a maximum of 28 days per year.

Diaz Lake Campground

Diaz Lake Campground is open year-round for RV and tent camping by reservation. Though some sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis during the week, reservations are required for weekend stays.

There are 100 campsites to choose from; many of which can accommodate large RVs and trailers.

Among the on-site amenities are fire pits and vault toilets. Though no power hookups are available, RV campers can freely access water here.

Dogs are permitted to join their owners on the grounds but must remain leashed.

Other on-site activities include fishing, hiking, boating, and photography.

Crowley Lake Campground

Crowley Lake Campground, a facility that offers RV and tent camping between May and October yearly, offers 47 sites on a first-come, first-served basis. Water hookups are available on the premises as a waste disposal station.

Vault toilets are provided for public use.

Dogs may join their owners on the premises but must remain leashed.

The most popular activities at this BLM-managed campground include fishing, boating, windsurfing, horseback riding, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

Seasonal activities in Inyo Mountains Wilderness

In-Season

Hiking

Hiking in Inyo Mountains Wilderness is an experience like no other. With over 103 miles of rustic trails to explore, families are sure to get in an exhilarating workout during their visit to this popular destination.

For day hikes or camping on the premises, a permit is not required. Due to the extremely remote locale and desert conditions at this property, it is vitally important that all hikers inform someone of their full hiking itinerary, so a search party can be sent out if there is a delay in their return of 24 hours or more.

Water is not accessible at this location, so it is very important that hikers bring plenty with them. It is very easy to become dehydrated in the conditions found at this recreational area.

The terrain found at Inyo Mountains Wilderness is rugged and extremely steep in places. Few trails are marked, and none are maintained.

Badwater Basin

Located within Inyo County in Death Valley is Badwater Basin. This popular tourist attraction has earned the distinction of being North America's lowest point. The region is a barren wasteland with one exception: a saltwater pool that is continually dissipating.

Visitors can enjoy viewing the pool from a pier for their safety. This salt-laden pool often seems to have disappeared due to the presence of a crystalline saline top which covers it. The intense concentration of salt makes the water toxic for human consumption.

In an extremely remote location, there are no on-site amenities found at Badwater Basin. Families should bring ample drinking water and some snacks along with them for their trip.

Saline Valley Hot Springs

Travel to the Saline Valley Hot Springs progresses along some sketchy roads but is worth the effort for a visit. Saline Valley Hot Springs offers visitors the opportunity to experience a vast network of crystal clear springs with nearby pools in which they can soak their cares away.
During the salt mining days in the region, these springs became a popular haven for area nudists, transients, and other nomadic peoples who formed a community on the grounds. It was through their efforts that the pools now in use today were formed from such materials as concrete, rock, and even tile. In need of more modern conveniences for day to day living, these early settlers also built such amenities as showers, primitive latrines, and dishwashing pits.
Saline Valley Hot Springs became a part of Death Valley National Park in 1994. It was during this time that the community was disbanded, and amendments were made to the grounds, including the addition of functional toilets. One of the original settlers to the region, a man named Wizard, remained a caretaker of the grounds until his death.
The springs are not marked on any maps; however, locals are only too happy to help visitors to find them.

Off-Season

Ballarat Ghost Town

Ballarat Ghost Town takes its name from a region in Australia which experienced a gold rush. Formerly a mining station following the California Gold Rush in the 19th century, the town was established in 1896. Ballarat became a popular stopping point for those on the hunt for their favorite liquids: water and whiskey.
From 1897 through 1905, this small town flourished. As the mining industry began to dry up, so too did the demand for the town's services. Businesses began to close down, including the post office, the hotels, and even the bars.
Though efforts were made to revitalize the town, they were unsuccessful. What remains today are the campgrounds, a graveyard, and few buildings. The town now has a population of two residents, a gentleman named Roc and his dog. Roc currently runs a small general store within the town.

Tea Kettle Junction

Tea Kettle Junction is an interesting place to visit. Each of the kettles scattered throughout the premises holds messages from worldwide travelers who have visited the property. Many of the notes are in foreign languages. Legend states that those seeking good fortune will find it if they leave a kettle for the collection and take one of the others along with them when they leave.
It is unknown how Tea Kettle Junction became a landmark shrine of its own. It has been suggested that the tea kettle collection was to serve as a signal to visitors to the area that water was available not far from the property.
In an extremely hot, dry area, it is wise to bring along drinking water for a visit to Tea Kettle Junction to prevent dehydration.

Artist's Drive

For a scenic drive you'll not soon forget, consider a road trip through Artist's Drive. This route travels in only one direction and is accessed from Badwater Road. It travels through ancient geographical features that trace back to up to 23 million years ago.

The volcanic action experienced throughout the years has left its traces on the landscape in the form of colorful mineral deposits. These deposits began deteriorating as a result of flooding in the region which caused other minerals such as iron, mica, and manganese to be exposed to the air. As a result, each of these minerals began to change color, creating an artist's palette within the landscape.

It is important to note that this road consists of one lane and goes in one direction only.