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.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
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
- Distance: 1.9
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Location: 36.0320015, -117.1364441
Mining cables crisscross Pleasant Canyon.
Location: 36.0171165, -117.131279
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.
Location: 36.0262146, -117.1209717
Old equipment from the World Beater Mine.
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.
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.
Location: 36.0165482, -117.1243134
The peak of the desert wildflower season is usually from March to April.