Mengel Pass

4.8/5 (20 reviews)
Ballarat, California (Inyo County)
Last Updated: 03/15/2019

Trail Information


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!

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.8/5 (20)
Rated 5/5
Visited: 04/04/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

This is a fun trail that with some great scenery. This trail is a step up in difficulty from Golar Wash or Warm Springs. Something like a stock Tacoma or Gladiator might want sliders for some insurance against body damage due to a couple of bigger rocks to go over. Something like a Subaru would be better off avoiding this trail unless you're not concerned about damage. There is a waterfall to climb not too far from the Baker Ranch turnoff but there is a bypass.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 02/19/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran Mengel in our 2021 JL Wrangler 6 speed manual with 2” lift on 35’s and hauled our Cedar Ridge Vega XT camper on 33’s. We spent some time making a couple of 4 point turns and put the sliders on the camper to use a couple of times but didn’t have any real trouble. That said, I wouldn’t recommend pulling an off road camper unless you are experienced and have a good spotter. We took the bypass to the left when we got to the steep v-notch rock climb.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 01/02/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

We ran this trail 1/1/2023. We last ran this trail 1/21/2022. The trail into Goler Canyon had many puddles. Once inside the canyon, we were hugged by narrow rock walls. Trailer not recommended. Barker Ranch deteriorated since we last visited Jan 2022. Mengel Pass have sections that is deeply rutted and eroded, possibly from recent rain. The hard line up the obstacle on the right side is no longer possible due to erosion. The only line to take is up the V-notch where the vehicle will be on all three tires with the front driver tire up in the air. It’s doable for most 4x4 rigs. Heading downhill past Carl Mengel monument are deeply rutted areas. Lifted 4x4 with AT is a must. Stock vehicles without sliders and lift have a higher chance of body damage. Subaru and RAV4 or similar are not recommended but encouraged if you don’t like or care about your rig.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 12/03/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

A fun section of trail for those who want a little bit more rocks than Goler Wash has to offer. The trail shouldn't give any capable rig/wheeler issues; mostly a matter of picking your line through the rocks. The hardest spot (5) has been filled in with rocks recently, so it isn't as challenging as in the past. Views from the top and down to Butte Valley are fantastic.
Visited: 10/22/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Fun trail! We took it from Goler Wash to Geologist Cabin. The road down Warm Springs Canyon was closed so we went back down the same way.

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