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Swansea-Cerro Gordo Road

No Reviews
Location Lone Pine, CA
Rating Moderate,
Length 31.7mi
Time 6hrs

Vehicle Types


Rough road climbs high to huge tram station.

Road climbs rapidly through wilderness corridor to ridge atop Inyo Mountains. Great views, wildflowers and historical mining structures including a large tramway station. Route goes past Cerro Gordo Mines and Ghost Town. This private property was once open to guided tours, but an online posting says this is no longer the case.


Trail Ratings Defined

Steep, narrow and rocky in places. Prone to washouts and rock slides. Suitable for aggressive stock 4x4 SUVs with high clearance and skid plates. Not for novice drivers.






High Point


Best Time To Go


Summers can be hot

Current Conditions

(760) 872-5000.Bureau of Land Management, Bishop Field Office.

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Trail Updates

Submitted by Chris
After the numerous summer rains in 2022. It is no longer passable because of a large washout (about 50 feet long, 4 feet wide, 4 feet deep) around mile point 21.5 (just past the bottom of the switchbacks) and about 2.25 miles before reaching Cerro Gordo ghost town. There are other portions between the salt tram and the large washout where it is necessary to straddle long rutted sections of trail. Without the GPX file, it would be very difficult to find the supposed trail through the large wash area that begins about 6 miles from the start of the trail and lasts for about 2.75 miles. Of the 21.5 miles we did before having to turn around, probably 70% had suffered erosion from the rains. Because of the condition of the trail from the rains, I would rate the trail as moderately difficult.

Submitted by Ryan
As of April 17th 2020, impassable due to snow.

Submitted by Matthew
We checked in at the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitors Center just outside Lone Pine to inquire about the condition of the Swansea to Cerro Gordo road. The ranger very strongly urged us not to do that road as it had been damaged from last winters storms. He only recommended Cerro Gordo road and had actually been on it recently. Since we were only just one jeep going, we decided to take the Cerro Gordo road to the townsite and mine. However, this is a tram there and I came to see it. We started on Cerro Gordo road at 7 AM in hopes of avoiding any oncoming traffic. Once we got to Cerro Gordo, we took the Saline Tram road. Saline Tram road to the tram is between 6-7 miles of a sometimes narrow, rocky, rutted, sandy, dusty, steep in spots, unmaintained road. We used 4 low with rear lockers at times. Most of the route does not allow for passing. It took about an hour and forty-five minutes from the start of this trip to arrive at the tram house. Once at the tram house, we were delighted with how much of the tram was there and the employee house next to it which is being restored. This was a much rewarding trip. We returned the way we came in, stopping at Cerro Gordo and talked with the fill-in site manager. We then went back down Cerro Gordo road and into the town of Keeler where we parked by the old railroad depot to help block the wind to air up. If you want to visit Cerro Gordo, just google for the website and Facebook page as they now give tours of the town. You need to do it in advance of your trip so they can make arrangements for your visit.


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