Mengel Pass

Ballarat, California (Inyo County)

Last Updated: 03/15/2019
5 / 5 ( 9 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Permit Information: Permit Required - Click Here
Length: 4.1 miles
Highest Elevation: 4371 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Ballarat
Nearest Town w/ Services: Furnace Creek
Official Road Name: Mengel Pass
Management Agency: Death Valley National Park
District:
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Mengel Pass
Mengel Pass is a popular trail within Death Valley National Park as it connects Panamint Valley on the west end of Death Valley to beautiful Butte Valley on the east side. Along the trail are an overlook of Butte Valley and Striped Butte plus the gravesite of Carl Mengel, a historic prospector from the early 20th century. The trail is no easy feat with its constant changing terrain and difficulty. Some days the trail is a mild path while other days, it can damage any vehicle that attempts the crossing. Due to the changing landscape of the obstacles, Mengel Pass is a fun and challenging run for all comers!

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Weather

7 day forecast for Mengel Pass

Route Information

Technical Rating:
( MODERATE - DIFFICULT )

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Waypoints

1. Start (0 mi)
The Start is the location where southern Goler Canyon changes from an east-west direction to a north-south direction. If heading from the west, turn left (north) and head up Goler Canyon. This is also the turnoff to get to Barker Ranch and the privately owned Myers Ranch.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 35.860704, -117.096669

Starting Point: Ballarat

From Ballarat, head south on Wingate Road for approximately 14.4 miles to the junction of the Slate Range Trail and Goler Canyon Trail. Turn left (east) and enter Goler Canyon. The trailhead to Mengel Pass is approximately 4.6 miles from the mouth of Goler Canyon. The start of this trail starts at the junction of Goler Canyon and the trail to Barker Ranch. The trail to Barker Ranch continues onward to the east while the trail to Mengel Pass turns north. The end of the trail is where the northern end of Goler Canyon meets Butte Valley. Visitors can drive throughout Butte Valley and visit the multitude of mines taking different routes or drive towards Striped Butte along Butte Valley Trail.

Camping

Dispersed

Land Use Issues

The vehicle and motorcycle entrance fees are $25 and $20, respectively, for 7 days. Vehicles are allowed to enter and exit the national park at will as many times as they want. For all entrance fee payment locations, go to: https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/fees-2016.htm.

Trail Reviews (10)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
After exploring Goler Wash, Lotus Mine, and Barker Ranch, we started up the trail to Mengel Pass at about 3 pm. It was a pretty quick ride to the top and over, and we were at the Geologists Cabin by 4:30 pm which was unoccupied so we set up camp. We were in a Tacoma, a 4Runner, an FJ80, and a Jeep Rubicon, all with small suspension lifts and larger tires. The rocky sections over the pass were fun to navigate, and you definitely had to be at full attention to keep from regretting your neglect later. I am quite sure all these vehicles at stock could handle the trail, but it could possibly be a little unnerving.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Started our day in Ballarat and after Pleasant Canyon and Goler Wash ended up in Butte Valley via Mengel Pass. A semi-technical trail with mild rock crawling that will keep you paying attention. Ran this as part of a longer trip through the backcountry of Death Valley with a GX470 and 5th gen 4Runner each with a small lift and 33s. Tagged the sliders a couple times but that was probably more to due with being impatient after a long day of bouncing around trails and seeing our destination so close. Doable with a stock Wrangler or 4Runner 4x4 type vehicle. Butte Valley provided a great place to camp for the night just watch out for all the wild burros.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fun, challenging trail. With a good spotter I got through the rocks section on a 3" lifted 4Runner with 33s without scraping anything. There's a few other spots too that will get your attention, but very little shelf road "if you mess up you die" places, which was nice.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Did this trail as part of an overlanding trip. I came in with a Jeep Sahara Stock JL on 33s and a Stock Tacoma TRD PRO. Let me say the trail was intermediate but towards the end there is a bunch of ICE. My Tacoma was leading and got high centered on one of the final drops into Bute Valley. Had to pull out it out with the Jeep but other than that it is doable! Fun trail and super beautiful away from the populated Southern California drunk driving trails!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Started this trail from the Panamint side going up Goler wash. My buddies and I got to the Mengel grave site at sunset, being able to see the area in all her desert glory. Hands down one of the most beautiful views I've seen in quite some time. Continued on before night fell. We set up camp at one of the cabins right at dark. Being tight on time and having Jeep issues we decided to go back the way we came going up Mengel pass saving the full journey for another time. I did this trail in my 4th Gen Ram 2500 leveled 2" on 35s (aired down), and Carli torsion style swaybar . Being a full size pickup it was extremely tight in a few places, but with a good spotter, patients, and stacking rocks I got outta there with only a few minor scrapes on my frame. As for my buddies Jeep Comanche he made look like a breeze.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was my first offroad experience. Fun trail, super scenic. Had a few sketchy sections but nothing that was too crazy for my stock 02 Tacoma TRD 4x4. We travelled from Ballarat down to Goler Wash and then east over Mengel Pass after stopping by Barker Ranch. Goler Wash did have a running waterfall step/obstacle very early on. The fact that it was wet with running water was the only thing that made it tricky. Some vehicles in our convoy had to try multiple times to get up and over. My TRD Tacoma walked up first try (with rear locker). On the way down (heading east) there is a steep twisty rocky section that requires a little concentration.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The trail is doable for a Ford Ranger 4x4 on 31" tires with no further lift. We went over the Thanksgiving Holiday and the trail was in good enough condition for us to make it over. Unfortunately this was my first time over so I cannot say whether the trail has improved or degraded. We were also lucky enough to capture a flyover by the Military during our visit.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Love this loop. I try and do it at least once every two years... Great times.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I visited in April 2017 and although the weather was nice and sunny, the wind was a force to be reckoned with. We pulled up to the Geologists' Cabin in the afternoon on Saturday and realized that the flag was not up. Therefore, we ran up the flag and scored a night in the lush cabin protected from the fierce winds that night. My buddy and I then drove up to the base of Striped Butte and hiked to the top.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Great trail, excellent condition, technical section on either side of the pass will require navigating over 12"-30" rocks or some serious time trail building. One of the most pleasant and enjoyable trails I have ever driven. We Started in Ballarat and drove East over Mengel Pass into Badwater.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Marc Nitz

Mapping Crew - California

Marc Nitz is a southern California native who loves exploring the outdoors. This is in large part due to his parents' love of summer road trips. Each summer the Nitz clan would venture out for at least one week driving and camping to assorted U.S. destinations west of the Rocky Mountains. Marc bought his first 4x4 at 17 years old and began seeking out more places off the beaten path. Now 30 years later, Marc explores the countryside with a family of his own. Some of Marc's favorite trails include California's Titus Canyon Road and the Pleasant Canyon Loop Trail, Colorado's Alpine Loop, and Utah's White Rim Trail. Most of all, Marc enjoys meeting fellow off-roaders and he is affiliated with a few 4X4 clubs in Southern California that has allowed him to do just that.
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