Goler Wash / Canyon

Furnace Creek, California (Inyo County)

Last Updated: 02/24/2018
4.8 / 5 ( 6 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 6.5 miles
Highest Elevation: 4200 feet
Duration: About 4 hours
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: East
Nearest Town: Furnace Creek
Nearest Town w/ Services: Furnace Creek
Official Road Name: Goler Wash
Management Agency: Death Valley National Park
District: Death Valley National Park
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Highlights

Highlight: Goler Wash / Canyon
Goler Wash, also known as Goler Canyon, is an enjoyable off-road cut through over the Panamint Mountain Range from Ballarat near Trona to Death Valley National Park in California. The trial is popular for being the home of Barker Ranch, aka Manson Ranch. In 1969 the FBI raided the ranch when they found out the Manson Family was living there. But don't think this is an easy 4x4 pass through. The trail is known to get washed out making it a go-to place for a mild offroad trail to wild overland adventures. Along the route expect beautiful scenery of the canyons that seem to tower above you while the old mines placed up on the side of the cliffs seem to have no way for people to ever access them. If the trail is washed out, expect an intermediate waterfall that is slick with running water on over it. Today, the park service spends a lot of time maintaining this trail, trying to keep the trail easily passable for even a 2wd. To spice things up, make this into a weekend overland adventure including off-roading Warm Springs Road, Butte Valley, Mengel Pass, and Goler Wash. This just might be the best 4wd Jeep Trails you have or will ever take and the dispersed camping is top notch.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Goler Wash / Canyon

Route Information

Technical Rating:
( EASY - MODERATE )

Read more about our rating system

Waypoints

1. Trailhead at Wingate Road (0 mi)
The main road turns off to Goler Canyon aka Goler Wash and heads up towards the canyon. Once in the canyon, the path will get very narrow and wet from the springs that run year around. The center photos is the Ghost Town Ballarat which is the way in to the area.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 35.859031, -117.179789

Starting Point: Ballarat, CA

From Ballarat, take dirt road (Wingate) south roughly 15 Miles to Goler Wash Road and make a left (east) into the canyon. (The main road takes you into Goler Canyon.

Camping

Dispersed
Improved

Trail Reviews (6)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Really enjoyed driving this trail on the way to Mengel pass. Saw one lonely Burro near the bottom, then no more. Trail conditions excellent. Easy run for stock vehicles. At the trail head about noon, and done with Barker Ranch by about 3 pm. This included a stop at Newman's cabin, a side trip to the top of Lotus Mine Road, and a stay at Barkers Ranch to explore and have lunch..

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran this trail after Pleasant Canyon on our way to Butte Valley. Relatively easy trail for most stock 4WDs. There was a lot of water damage that caused some ruts but nothing super crazy. Going to the Barker Ranch has been on my list for many years and finally made it out there. Just one of the many pieces of history in the area.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Pretty easy trail but very cool driving up the tight wash on the lower section. The middle section near the cabin was pretty wet, but not an issue unless it got really cold. Easily doable in a stock 4wd rig.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Did this trail along with Mengel Pass, Warm Springs Road and Golar ofcourse. Golar is a beautiful route that is easy for anyone to do. You could come in camp in here and leave happy. However if you got a more capable rig then head on over to Mengel Pass for the fun stuff!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Beautiful trail! Plenty of yellow wildflowers in the twisty narrow section at the beginning (during our trip). There's a waterfall obstacle to climb up early on. In our case it was wet/running and the trucks without lockers had to make several attempts. My stock 02 Tacoma TRD walked right up (with locker). Fairly easy trail other than that.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great summary of this trail. Thanks to the reviewer! About all I can add is to reinforce what the reviewer said. Goler Wash is maintained by the Park Service, and if you head up in the dry season and it has been bladed recently, it's easy. If you head up during or after the wet season (spring) and it hasn't seen a blade in two years, it's probably a rating 5-6 with some technical rock climbing that requires an experienced spotter and some slipping and sliding. Another point, and this trail is not reviewed yet, while you're still in the canyon you will pass the junction for the Lotus Mine. If you head to the top of the trail you will get the best view of the Panamint Valley ever. This trail is not maintained so it might be eroded. Proceed cautiously, of course. Final point. The best reason to ascend Goler Wash is to continue on into Butte Valley over Mengel Pass via what this site calls the Mengel Pass Trail. Butte Valley is the loveliest high-altitude valley I've ever seen, except perhaps Yosemite Valley. There is a lot to explore in your jeep and in your boots. It's also along the route of the famous Manly-Rogers escape.

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: The trail information says the duration for this trail is about 4 hours. I am planning a trip there right now, and I suspect this is vastly overstated. Especially since the next segment to Mengel Pass is about the same length and apparently a much more challenging segment of the trail, and it says 1 hour for the duration. Perhaps the trail reviewer can explain this, or reconsider these estimates.
–Todd Mabey (02/17/2021)
–Josh Noesser (02/18/2021)

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.