Commonly Backpacked · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
No closure season officially. Winter snows may block the route. Summer temperatures can be brutal. This is in the Owens Valley/Saline Valley/Death Valley area, so plan accordingly.
This rugged route isn't for the weak of heart, but for runners seeking a backcountry experience, this can be a rewarding out and back.
FOR THE HARDCORE HIKER ONLY!
PLEASE READ THE WARNINGS ON THE BLM SITE!
This area is not for the amateur adventurer. This is hostile terrain. You must be in excellent physical shape. You should advise responsible people (at home or at a ranger station) where you are going and when you expect to return. Carry camping gear, water, warm clothes (I was snowed on in late May), water, a satellite phone, spare battery, water, food, water, survival equipment, etc. Did I mention you should carry lots of water? The only possible place for water will be at Frenchies Cabin. In periods of drought there may not be any, even there.
Your reward for all this effort? Wonderful views of the Sierra Crest to the west and glimpses of Saline Valley to the east. Old mining ruins that are in relatively good shape. In the spring, wildflowers and cactus blooms of all colors. Classic high desert mountain terrain. SOLITUDE! You'll likely have over a hundred square miles to yourself.
Beveridge, an 1890's to 1960's mining site, is difficult to get to. This has left the area much more intact than other old sites. Frenchies Cabin, a restored cabin up from Beveridge, is an ideal spot to stay. Mind the mice though. There are bunk beds with pads, a stove, chairs and a solid rock/wood/tin cabin. Water from the spring is usually reliable and tasty.
This trail starts at French Springs Trailhead outside of Lone Pine. A high clearance vehicle will be required on the last mile to the trailhead, or you'll have to run it. From the trailhead, stay left and switchback up the ridge (trails in the lower canyon go to a spring and an old mine). Once on top, the trail follows the ridge for the first few miles and is fairly easy to see. The trail drops into drainages a couple times, then climbs up canyon. Route finding is needed at times due to washouts. Forgotten Pass is about the halfway point.
Downslope switchbacks to Frenchies Cabin will require route finding as much of the trail is covered in scree and hard to find. Frenchies is built down canyon behind a large outcropping and can be hard to see until you're almost upon it. It is a relatively easy down canyon run to Beveridge from here. Watch for the trail segments that go up the north side (left) and around thick wildrose bushes choking the canyon floor. Coming back from Beveridge and Frenchies, watch the canyon forks! Do not stray too far south or you'll miss Forgotten Pass.
If you're ambitious, you can retrace you steps for an exceptionally long day, or you can stop to spend the night at Frenchies on your way back.
Flora & Fauna
Numerous lizards, including horned toads. Snakes. Many birds in the canyon near water. Deer. I am told there are Desert Bighorns in the area, but have not seen them. Definitely a bobcat in the area as well as coyotes.
Shared By: Cass Kalinski