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New to the site - and to the West side of the Valley

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:10 pm
by MarkatCLU
Thanks for this site -I've been searching for information on odd places around Darwin to visit, and this seems to be the place to go! 20 years ago I was introduced to Panamint City - an April camping trip with lots of rattlers buzzing (it was cool enough that they weren't too active, but they wanted us to know that they were there, regardless). After shifting our sites to Saline and Death Valley, it's time for us to explore Darwin and the west side of the Panamint Valley.

I'm in charge of planning, and assume that there is plenty in the Darwin area to keep us busy for a day. Besides the town, the local mines, and the Falls, what else should we plan to see. And where would be a good place to end the day (we will have 8 campers - 4 vehicles)?

I would like to explore the Lookout City/Minnietta Mine area the next day. Will these pretty much eat up our day (assuming that we start the day up by Darwin)?

Finally, we will have 2 Roadrunners, but also a newer CRV and Pilot. Are there any roads that we'd normally consider that we need to avoid with the latter two vehicles?

Re: New to the site - and to the West side of the Valley

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:27 pm
by Norman Johnson
Is there plenty to see? There is. I believe if you spend a little time researching old threads, you can answer all the questions you have stated and will state in the near and far future. However, by the time this thread ends, plenty of regulars will add their wisdom.

The roads are in constant flux because winter storms can change everything in a day, but--with the vehicles you stated---Lookout City would need to be a hike. It can be accessed from the Minnietta side by a long (5 hr.) but very interesting hike up to the end of the canyon and then back along the ridge. There is no trail at some points of that hike. There are direct routes up to the ridge from the Minnietta but they require rock "scrambling" ability and can be strenuous and dangerous.

The road to the Minnietta with your vehicles will start at Minnietta Rd. on the connector from Trona- Wildrose to 190. Also, although you may want to come down Darwin Wash to China Garden Spring and then backtrack and over to Darwin falls that way, I would suggest just taking 190. Stop at Father Crowley point for the view. Then access the falls from the Panamint Springs side. Stay at Panamint Springs Resort. Their camping fees are quite in line with other parks. They have a fine restaurant, gas station, bathrooms, showers, hook-ups, etc. If you are knowledgeable of the rules, Most of the west side of Panamint Valley is BLM land and camping is allowed under less restrictive rules than within DVNP.


Re: New to the site - and to the West side of the Valley

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:25 pm
by Lyrically Driven
What is a Roadrunner?

I can't imagine getting a CRV or Pilot up to Minietta or LC. I wouldn't take those rigs over the old toll road either.

Welcome to the site!!


Re: New to the site - and to the West side of the Valley

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:09 pm
by MarkatCLU
Oops - 4Runners

Re: New to the site - and to the West side of the Valley

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:44 pm
by David_Bricker
Welcome to the forum! Please take a moment to read the forum guideline, in this section of the board. We're a pretty easy going group, but we do tend to stay away from political and religious content, since there never is one right answer.

Regarding your trip, Norman covered things quite well. There is lots to see around Darwin, but you will be limited by the CRV. The biggest thing is to have full size spare tires, and a plug kit and air compressor within the group. You potentially could make it down the Darwin Toll Road with the CRV, but it will be slow going, and expect some scraping. Also be aware there is soft sand in the wash between China Gardens and Darwin, and you'll need to keep up your momentum. Sticking to the paved road may be the more prudent option.

After your day of exploring around Darwin, Panamint Springs is a perfect mid-point stopping location for the night. Tent camping spots are $7.50 per night. Restaurant, 150+ kinds of beer, good folks. Expensive gas, but it's at least available out there.

Minietta Rd, into the Minietta Mine/cabin are may be doable with the CRV, but it will be tough. Lookout City would be a no-go for the CRV, period, and potentially sketchy for the Pilot, depending on tires. Perhaps you can leave those two rigs, and all pile into the 4Runners for Lookout City. The Fall zero bypass has gotten more chewed up recently, and has a good chance of eating passenger car tires.

David Bricker / SYR

Re: New to the site - and to the West side of the Valley

Posted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:54 pm
by Norman Johnson
If you drive out Minnietta Rd. and drop down the fault scarp to the bottom, on the right are some excellent sites for camping with groups of people. From there, you can drive to the lower Modoc mining area at the east side of Lookout Mountain and hike or drive to the Minnietta area on the south where there are many things to see. Your vehicles should make it no problem to the bottom of the scarp. The road to the Minnietta from the base of the scarp is very rocky but I have driven a wide variety of non-4wd vehicles up it in the past. It is less than a mile and the cabin is most often already taken, so camping below the mine and hiking is a good option.

David gave you good advice on keeping up the speed in sandy areas and bringing a plug kit and compressor. Rattle-box types can be bought for under forty bucks. They just take a while to fill the tire. Don't buy a very inexpensive one ($15) as they will not work.


Re: New to the site - and to the West side of the Valley

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:05 am
by MarkatCLU
Thank you all for your inputs. You have already more than exceeded my expectations.