Bishop, CA: Slims Peak

This 3-mile off-trail route leads to Slims Peak, a 7,000-foot summit with 360-degree views of the Mojave Desert and Sierra Nevada.
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This 3-mile off-trail route leads to Slims Peak, a 7,000-foot summit with 360-degree views of the Mojave Desert and Sierra Nevada.

This adventure really starts with the drive up Pleasant Canyon, which was home to two of the area’s largest mines--now, ghost towns. Park your car to begin an off-trail scramble to Slims Peak. Start by hiking south up the ridgeline past low-lying vegetation and sporadic Joshua Trees. In 1.1 miles, veer west and continue ascending, keeping close to the ridgeline to avoid the steep scree fields below. Reach Slim Peak Summit (7,265 ft.) and enjoy long sweeping views of the Sierra Nevada and Mojave Desert. Return the way you came.
Mapped by Justin Ennis

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 1.9

Waypoints

SL0001

Location: 36.0215569, -117.1248627

Ditch the car, grab your water bottle and peer southwest to Slims Peak, and the day's final destination. Checking out the peak, make sure to note the scree fields falling off the ridgeline. As you climb, the fields become steep and slippery, making it hard to ascend. Avoid this by staying high, hugging the ridgeline.

SL0002

Location: 36.0211334, -117.1239624

No trail here, just some low-lying vegetation and sparse Joshua Trees. Begin bushwhacking due south, heading directly up the ridge. As you hike, be on the lookout for rattle snakes sunning themselves, oblivious to the human population and ready to strike when confronted.

SL0003

Location: 36.0167313, -117.1237335

Turn west and trace the ridge to the summit. During March and April, desert flowers add a splash of color to the desertscape.

Note: Do not leave the ridgeline to avoid loose scree fields. Instead, climb over obstacles and stay high.

SLO004

Location: 36.0171738, -117.131218

At the top of the ridgeline, turn due west and tracing the ridge to the summit. During March and April, desert flowers add a splash of color and can provide a welcome mix to the otherwise desolate desertscape.

Note: Do not leave the ridgeline due to loose scree fields falling off on either side. Instead, climb over obstacles and stay high.

Ballarat Cemetary

Location: 36.0487022, -117.2218628

The cemetery at Ballarat is an odd assortment of handmade grave markers and individual sites, no two are the same.

Radcliffe Tramway

Location: 36.0320015, -117.1364441

Mining cables crisscross Pleasant Canyon.

Slims Peak

Location: 36.0171165, -117.131279

Claire Camp

Location: 36.0322647, -117.1377716

Claire Camp was owned by W.D. Claire who bought the old Radcliffe mine in 1930. This area was originally the site of a small town (population approx. 200)who worked in the mine.

Slims Peak Summit View

Location: 36.0157585, -117.1311188

The Sierra Nevada can be seen rising over the top of the Slate Range. See the town of Ballarat in the valley below.

World Beater Mine

Location: 36.0274773, -117.1209717

World Beater Mine: The other large mine in Pleasant Canyon, this mine was founded in 1896 and closed in 1905. The Radcliffe cable trams which ran ore from the cliffs down to the mill were also closed in 1905 as production ceased.

Four-Wheel Drive Required

Location: 36.0341072, -117.1823425

There is beautiful creek running through Pleasant Canyon, butit makes the road difficult to navigate at times.

Mining Equipment

Location: 36.0262146, -117.1209717

Old equipment from the World Beater Mine.

Mining Gear

Location: 36.032795, -117.1341171

This is the bottom wheel for a cable tram which was used to run ore buckets up to the mountains.

Claire Camp Cabin

Location: 36.0319939, -117.1380463

The insides of a cabin at Claire Camp

From the Parking Area

Location: 36.02145, -117.1249237

Note: Look at the shaded spots under the ridge to indicate the scree fields on Slims Peak.

Slims Peak Summit View 1

Location: 36.017807, -117.1311188

The view off of the summit of Slims Peak is impressive. The peak is 10 miles (and a few canyons) to the north of the Myers and Barker Ranches where the Manson Family hideouts were located and where Charles Manson was arrested.

Seldom Seen Slims Grave

Location: 36.0493355, -117.2224045

Seldom Seen Slim's gravesite: Slim, who's original name was Charles Ferge, is a local legend who lived and mined in the nearby Panamint Range form 1917 to 1968. He was considered to be the last of the lone prospectors who looked for gold in and around the Mojave Desert, Death Valley areas. Tradition calls for loose change to be thrown on his grave, hence the quarters and dimes splattered on the ground.

Greenery

Location: 36.0334396, -117.1793213

There is a large amount of vegetation surrounding the road up Pleasant Canyon. For roughly 10 miles, the canyon has hoses running alongside the road that supply water to the few people that still live in Ballarat.

Desert Flowers

Location: 36.0165482, -117.1243134

The peak of the desert wildflower season is usually from March to April.