On this adventure we headed out to Death Valley National Park to go explore an old mining town turned ghost town out in the heart of the Panamint mountains... the legendary Panamint City!
I drove out to Death Valley and up Suprise canyon to the trailhead at the ruins from the old Chris Wicht camp. The other guys in the group met me there and we spent the evening camping there. The next morning we got our backpacks loaded and started hiking up the trail that headed up Surprise canyon. The surprise is how awesome it is! Huge cliff walls on both sides with a small creek and lots of greenery in the bottom and even a couple nice little waterfalls along the way. After awhile the canyon opened up into a wide valley and shortly thereafter we arrived at Panamint city. We explored some of the cabins, the smoke stack, and the closest and most recently worked mine. Then we headed back and setup our camp in the "Hilton" cabin where we decided to stay for the trip.
Evening at the Chris Wicht camp
Lower Surprise Canyon
Upper Surprise Canyon
Approaching Panamint City
Arriving at the city
Checking out the 'Overflow Cabin'
Entering the mine
Exploring around the old smokestack
We had a fun first night in the cabin, and we thoroughly enjoyed using the large wood burning stove in there. The next morning we set out from the city for a 3,000 foot climb to the top of Sentinel peak 9,638'. We climbed up an old mining road past 2 mines and then followed the ridge line above the upper mine all the way to the summit. It was steep and there was still a bit of snow, but nothing to difficult. The 360 degree views from the summit were absolutely amazing!! Panamint Valley way below on one side, Badwater basin (the lowest point in North America) WAY below on the other side, and Telescope peak the tallest peak in Death Valley dead center in front of us. On the way back down I decided to explore inside the 2 mines we had passed on the way up. Both were quite deep with lots of cool stuff inside including an old ore cart! After that we headed back down for another night in the Hilton cabin.
The old dynamite storage room
Old mining equipment
Arriving at Sentinel peak
On Sentinel peak with Telescope peak in the background
Inside the upper mine
An old ore cart still rolling on the tracks in the mine
Climbing out of the upper mine
Overlooking the lower mines on my way back down to the city
The next morning morning after breakfast the other guys in the group packed up their backpacks and hiked out. I had decided to stay a few more days and explore some more! So I decided to head over and check out the "Castle" cabin and then headed up Sourdough canyon. The trail followed up the canyon for awhile then cut out onto the mountainside opening up huge views. It crossed the top of Woodpecker canyon and ended near some old burned up mining ruins. From there we left the trail and headed cross country out to Peak 8,750'. The peak isn't huge, but it had an incredible panorama with Panamint valley directly below and Telescope peak directly above. After the peak we headed back down to the cabins where some other people had showed up to camp. They setup their tent by the "Overflow" cabin and I stayed in the Hilton again. It really is an awesome place to get to stay!
Morning time in front of the Hilton
Hiking up Sourdough Canyon
Looking across to Peak 8,750'
Views of Telescope peak from Peak 8,750'
Relaxing on the peak, enjoying the awesome view
Checking out the 'Castle' cabin
Night time inside the Hilton
For my last day of exploring I decided to head up Marvel canyon and it was a great decision! It was a really beautiful canyon and I found 5 more mines, and got to explore inside 3 of them. The 4th was vertical and the 5th was almost completely caved in at the entrance. I found lots of cool quartz crystals too. When I got back to Panamint city I decided to go check out the natural springs that feeds the water spigot, and I found it plus even more old cabins and even a cool old car. Then the next morning I got packed up early and headed back down Surprise canyon to the trailhead wrapping up another great adventure!!
Hiking up Marvel Canyon
Spotting the first mine of the day
The entrance of the first mine
Views in Marvel Canyon
The entrance to the second mine
Approaching the third mine
The "I'd rather be in Panamint City" car
Upper Panamint City
My final evening at the 'Hilton'
Driving back across Panamint Valley on my way home
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