Reward Mine

Lone Pine, California (Inyo County)

Last Updated: 07/29/2020
5 / 5 ( 10 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 0.67 miles
Highest Elevation: 4075 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: East
Nearest Town: Lone Pine
Nearest Town w/ Services: Lone Pine
Official Road Name: Reward Mine
Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management
District: Inyo District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Reward Mine
If you are looking for something you have never done before, something that many people say is in their top 5 trails of all times. Then The Reward Mine should be the next stop for you. Laying in the shadows of Mount Whitney (2nd Tallest Mountain in the United States), the Reward Mine is very different than your traditional mine. Why you may ask, the reason is that one section of the mine is large enough for you to drive inside and go farther than a half mile while driving inside. Meaning, you can explore a large portion of the mine inside your vehicle. Thus, it takes mine exploration to a whole new but scary level. The good or bad about this trail is it is off the Highway 395 near Lone Pine. Meaning it isn't close to any major city, but it is along the route to Alabama Hills, The Rubicon, Mammoth, and a lot of other common places people go off-roading at. So if you are passing through the area, or just want one ultimate memory that you will never forget. Check out The Reward Mine as see for yourself why this is in my Top 5 Trails in California, maybe in the U.S..

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Reward Mine

Route Information

Technical Rating:
( EASY )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead and Camping Area - Head North (0 mi)
The trail splits off the main road and heads to the north. This is a good spot to park any tow vehicles. There is a cement slab just to the west where you can disconnect and plenty of space to turn a pickup truck around. I wouldn't recommend driving anything longer back this far since there is a very limited area to safely turn around. You can also camp in this area with larger vehicles like RV's if you want to dispersed camp this area.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 36.747318, -118.056003

Starting Point: Lone Pine, CA

From Lone PIne, take Highway 395 North approximately 9.5 miles, and turn right (east) on Manzanar Reward Road. Take Manzanar Reward Road approximately 5.25 miles to the parking spot in waypoint 1.

Camping

Dispersed

Land Use Issues

The access to this road was researched by the TrailsOffroad team through the BLM and the Inyo County Assessors Office and it appears to be open to the public. To always keep our trails open in California remember to give your support to various groups in California that support to keep our lands open such as Blue Ribbon Coalition and Cal Four Wheel.

Trail Reviews (14)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I would say this trail is more on the moderate side. Upper part has bigger rocks for cars on stock set ups, with a spotter you can get by.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran out there since I was in the area. Still one of my all time favorites. Old video is below.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Great trip if you're camping in the Alabama Hills area. The trail up to the mine is a little rocky, but most stock 4x4s should be able to make it. The mine entrance itself is large, but proceed with caution: we opted not to take a lifted Silverado or a GX470 with a roof rack inside, as both were too tall. Instead, we took a 2019 Ranger into the mine. Not quite sure how far in we went, but it doesn't take long to come to a wide open area that's large enough to turn a truck around. We could have gone deeper into the mine but we were running out of daylight outside so decided to turn around.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We were able to find the mine at night the trail is pretty straightforward but there was a split in the road that, at least in the dark, had me pause and get my bearings. The mine was so cool and the camping on the flat lands by it was peaceful and quiet

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
A great trail with an amazing experience. Not technical (even getting up to the mouth of Reward Mine was easily doable in 2wd with dry conditions), but very enjoyable. We highly recommend doing this before CA finds a reason to close it permanently.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Very fun to drive inside the mine, but a little creepy too! It was just my wife and I in one vehicle, down inside the mine by ourselves. Nothing weird happened, just a strange experience. We spend almost 10 minutes underground. I posted the dash cam video from my Jeep on YouTube, see link below.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This is a great little drive off the 395. Pretty easy with a few decent size rocks embedded to maneuver over. Driving inside is definitely a exciting drive. If you are anywhere near this place you must stop in.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
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Outstanding little side trip! The trail was easy and short. Very cool experience to drive inside a mine!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Reward mine is not to be missed while traveling along the 395. Only about 5 miles east off the highway, it's a quick detour to any off road traveler exploring what 395 has to offer. Located just outside of Manzanar, it's easy to find and get to with a high clearance vehicle. After about 5 miles of decent dirt road, the actual trail starts as you meet the foothills. Once the road turns into more challenging terrain you only have less than a mile to go. An experienced off roader could easily make it in 2wd if taken slow and with enough clearance (we've done it once before with only 2wd 1st gen Tundra). Mostly dry and loose rocky soil leads up to the mine entrance. Once you arrive at the top there is a large flat clearing at the mouth of the mine. We actually camped near the entrance of the mine and had a great view of the Eastern Sierras. We also took some cool night photography using the passing cars on the highway to great effect. No one was there to bother us that afternoon and into the evening. But before camping we had to see the inside of the mine! The mine entrance looks unreal when you first arrive. Super spooky and dark. Don't be afraid this thing has been standing for many years and at points actually is bigger inside than you'd imagine. My truck is a 1st gen Toyota Tundra with a 2.5" lift but also has a lumber rack. The highest point on the truck is 83 inches and we had about and inch or two of clearance at some points. The lowest part of the mine is at the beginning section. It really opens up as you go deeper. There are a few places you could turn around along the way but I'd suggest going till the end. There are numerous old ladders that go up vertical shafts. If you're adventurous enough you can climb up them and reach other sections of the mine. If you find your way high enough you can actually escape the mine though the top of the mountain. We managed to find a shaft that went all the way to the surface! Just be super careful as these ladders are easily 60yrs old. Definitely worth your time to stop by this old relic. Even with the internet broadcasting it's location I've never ran into anyone there. Good chance you'll have the same if it's not a busy weekend. PROTIP: If you go to the other side of the mine (basically the south side of the hill it's in) there are some pretty cool old mining equipment up the canyon you can climb on and check out. It's a good little hike that's worth it.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This is a must-do trail for any serious wheeler. It is not challenging to your vehicle or your wheeling skill, but it takes nerves of steel the first time you enter this cave. I strongly recommend that you record this first time with your GoPro, mounted inside the vehicle, so it can catch your verbal observations. I did just that in my video, below. The mine itself runs straight into the mountain, for about 3/4 mile. Even though it is a single lane route, there are turnabouts every 50 yards or so. It's hard to get lost, and 90% of the way in you reach a junction with three large routes. Two of them are blocked. The third one, on the right, runs deeper and further into the mine. You can drive it, slowly, nearly all the way to the end. At that point the mine is too narrow for your vehicle. You can gaze at the multicolored rock (which produces gold) and then turn around. If you're really bold you'll turn off your lights and experience utter darkness like you've never known it. There is not a lot of clearance. You will have to lower any antenna you have over 7 feet tall. As long as you're lifted no more than 4" with 37 inch tires you should be fine as well.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
1st time here and it was really cool and unique. We had 3 rigs go first with some of us keeping eye on clearances. One rig has 39" tires with a moderate lift of 3 inches and he did just fine with 4-6 inches of clearance in tight spots. There are a few turnouts to do 3 point turns to turn around. I would say its a must visit if in the area.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Everybody should do this at least once. The worst part of the trail is just getting up the mine as it's pretty rocky, but it is doable. Of course the best part is driving through the mine to its deepest recesses. Oddly, the freaky part is that as the miners followed the vein the mine goes up and down and turns to the left and right so you never really see too far into the mine at once until it opens up at the end. Plenty of places to turn around with a Y-turn. Watch your overhead as has been mentioned in the excellent write up. Fun place to turn off the lights and see what being totally blind is like - nothing but the deepest of blackness. I gave it five-stars, because how often do you get to wheel underground?!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
What a cool experience. It was extremely hot outside but once inside the mine it cooled off to a comfortable 70 degrees. Attached is the full video of us checking things out. Even though it is sort of funny, the chains are not for the scary effect, we are not haunting Scrooge. We just unhooked the jeep but didn't want to leave the tow bar out in the middle of the desert.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Awesome!!! How often do you get to drive deep into a mine. I was alone in my new and still stock 4RUNNER and it was totally spooky. What is really cool is the mine isn't straight of course and it has slight turns and ups and downs that never let you see too deep.

Questions & Answers (5)

Q: Can a JK with an RTT go through the mine? 3 1/2 lift with 35” tires.
–White JK (05/12/2019)
–Josh Noesser (05/12/2019)
Q: Would a stock 2002 Subaru Outback be able to make it up the trail and through the mine?
–Connor (03/25/2018)
–Josh Noesser (03/25/2018)
Q: How difficult is it to find the entrance to the mine? Thanks and great write up.
–Daniel (01/08/2018)
–Josh Noesser (01/08/2018)
Q: I noticed a number of different colored arrow markings on the walls. When you enter the mine which ones are you supposed to follow? Also what would be the max number of vehicles to enter mine shaft for the tour? Thank you and happy holidays.
–tyrone tillman (12/24/2017)
–Josh Noesser (12/24/2017)
–Josh Noesser (12/24/2017)
Q: Would a Suburban Z71 be able to comfortably fit and navigate the drive trail? We're planning a trip for December. Any tips are appreciated.
–Krystal (01/19/2017)
–Josh Noesser (01/19/2017)

Writer Information

Josh Noesser

Mapping Crew - California

Joshua Noesser grew up in Southern California but has lived in different parts of the country during his young adult life. Josh was first turned to four wheeling when he road with one of his friends dad up Surprise Canyon in the Panamint Valley at age14. After nearly 3 different roll overs later and a half dozen intense waterfalls, Josh was hooked. At 16 he purchased his first Jeep a CJ 7 and by 17 was putting his first locker in it. Currently, Josh is the owner and CEO of Nybble, an IT Solutions Company based in Orange County, California. Nybble isn't your normal IT company where everyone stays in and plays video games. Nybble's average company trip is out on the trails since a good amount of his staff enjoy wheeling too. As Josh likes to say, he offers the only IT Company with the ability to provide services in extreme locations. "If you want a server at the top of The Hammers, we will take care of that for you." Today you can find Josh out on the trail behind the wheel in one of his three different off-road vehicles. See the vehicles below for more information. If you ever run into Josh, please say high, he is a very friendly person and is always happy to have a new person join the group.
For individual use only, not to be shared.