I had a lot on my plate in early 2022 as I was working, finishing up my graduate studies, and preparing to move out of Bishop. I promised myself I would make it out on at least one trip per month, and for April Matt and I penciled in the Lonesome Miner Trail, a beautiful short but taxing route up and over the Inyos. The LMT has five large climbs of 3-5,000′ all followed by equally massive descents. There is little information available about the trail online, but we found a few gpx tracks and pieced together more infomation as we went along. We were also treated to numerous ghost towns, mining ruins, as well as a few springs.
On a Friday night after work, I drove down 395 to Lone Pine, where I met Matt. We ate dinner while watching the sunset over Mt. Whitney and the southern portion of the Sierra Crest. I slept soundly in the back of my van and set off at first light to climb out of the Owens Valley before the heat of the day. The climb was somewhat familiar, as we had been down a similar route four years prior during our Lowest to Highest hike.
Upon reaching the top of the Inyos we were treated to panoramic views, feasting our eyes on both the Sierra Crest and the mazelike canyons and valleys of Death Valley National Park. We began a pleasant descent down an old mining road. This continued for quite some time, until we quickly reversed course and started climbing steeply out of the canyon towards a high ridge. Perhaps we did not look hard enough, but we did not see any water in the first canyon, so we had no choice but to proceed onwards up the climb in the heat of the day. I was feeling the effects of dehydration, so I was quite happy when we stumbled upon an old cabin midway up the climb which had a few gallons of water cached.
The cabin also contained lots of history on the Inyos and the Lonesome Miner Trail. After the cabin we got a bit lost. This happened to us a few times on the trail. We had a few different GPX tracks, and sometimes the trail wouldn’t follow either of them. Oh well, a small price to pay for not seeing any one else all three days. If this trail was well marked and maintained it would likely be a very popular hike and permits would be required.
Eventually we found the trail and headed down to beautiful Beveridge, camping in the cabin for the night. The next morning we climbed up and out the the stunning Beveridge Ridge cabin. Both of us agreed we had to come back out here for longer. The cabin offered panoramic views of Saline Valley and the canyons leading to it.
We traversed for a while and then made our way down to McElvoy Canyon. There is a fascinating history of a man that lived in Mcelvoy Canyon, the “Beekeeper”, you can read more about that here. We lost the trail for a bit in the canyon, but found it again on the climb out. Up and over one more ridge, and then down into the final canyon to sleep.
The next morning we climbed out of the final canyon. We lost the trail for a while, but then found it again on the ridge, following it up to get back on the Owens Valley side of the Inyos. On the Owens Valley side, the trail was quite good. We descended rapidly, and soon found ourselves on the valley floor. It quickly became apparent that we would not get a ride out of the trailhead and back to our car. We made quick work of the 10 mile road walk and soon we were eating calzones in Lone Pine.
Side note: We saw Sean O’Rourke and Kim G. in some of the registers a day before us. We would later find out that Kim G. set the FKT on this route in 17 hours, an incredible time given the conditions. It took us over 50 hours (although we did sleep twice).
Matt’s trip report: https://www.mattymorrison.com/lonesomeminer