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Ballarat, California, United States

Pleasant Canyon/South Park 4x4 Loop

Challenging route to Briggs Mine Adopt-a-Cabin

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Difficulty: Difficult
Length: 23 miles / 37 km
Duration: Full day
Overview: A scenic, high elevation trail. Many mines and structures along the way, especially at Clair Camp. Briggs Cabin is, by far, the most elaborate and best stocked of all the Adopt-a-Cabins. Briggs and Stone cabin are maintained by volunteers (Friends of Briggs). The cabins are on private land owned by C.R. Briggs Corporation which graciously allows you to use the cabins for free. Street-legal vehicles only inside Death Valley N. P. For information on this route and possible closures, contact the BLM in Barstow at (760) 252-6000. For park portion, contact Death Valley National Park at (760) 786-3200 or go to


Difficult. Most of this trail is easy to moderate; however, the steepest, narrowest sections of both Pleasant Canyon and South Park Canyon are susceptible to water damage and rock movement, sometimes creating difficult conditions. When we drove the trail, stock SUVs would have had difficulty negotiating these stretches. South Park Canyon is quite steep and is always difficult going up from west to east. A narrow wooden bridge above Briggs Cabin has a weight limit of 3 tons. Large vehicles loaded with gear can easily exceed this weight limit. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS THIS BRIDGE IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT YOUR LOADED VEHICLE WEIGHS MORE THAN 6,000 LBS. Some tight brush in places.

This trail is one of 100 trails from the book, Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails, by Charles Wells & Matt Peterson, and is available at

Tips: In February, we found snow on the road to Rogers Pass and elected to take the lower bypass route. This trail may close unexpectedly from rock slides and poor trail conditions. Repairs are usually made in due time. Best to call ahead and check. Very hot in the summer. Carry plenty of water and clothing for sun protection.

Trail conditions can change without notice. FunTreks, Inc. and its owner and employees are not responsible for injury, death, or vehicle damage as a result of using this guide. The content of this guide is the property of FunTreks, Inc. and is made available to the user pursuant to EveryTrail’s Terms of Service (

Points of Interest


Start Here

Start at the intersection of Ballarat Road and Wingate Road just southeast of the ghost town of Ballarat. Head northeast.

Jackpot Canyon to Left

Main trails goes right here up Pleasant Canyon. Left goes to shorter Jackpot Canyon.

Clair Camp

Pass through gate at Clair Camp. Much to see here so take some time and look around.

World Beater Mine

Road to right goes to World Beater Mine.


Water is piped into an old bathtub near the point where you enter Death Valley National Park. Roads go left to mines, so stay right. Trail is much easier.

Decision Point

Left here goes over 7,140-ft. Rogers Pass. We drove this trail at a time when snow blocked the higher route, so we took a lower and shorter route to the right. Stay right of an old cabin and climb over a saddle at 6,800 ft.

Middle Park

You'll pass through an area called Middle Park. We took a deadend side trip here to the right then came back to this point and continued south. Follow the tracklog carefully as roads branch here. The road from Rogers Pass also reconnects just ahead.

South Park

After going by some sheds at a mine, stay right as more roads converge. Head west from this point to go down South Park. This way has a difficult stretch that is sometimes washed out.

Leave National Park

You pass through and overgrown area called Colter Spring as you leave Death Valley National Park.

Narrow Section

You'll cross a very narrow and rocky shelf road followed by a wooden Bridge. Load limit on the bridge is posted at 6,000 lbs. Don't cross if your vehicle is heavier than this. Rollovers have occurred in this area so use great caution. Turn around if you don't think it is safe to proceed. Fallen rocks my block the trail or it may be partially washed away.

Briggs Cabin

Amazing Briggs Cabin. This is an Adopt-a-cabin and open on a first-come, first-serve basis. Stop and take a look or stay if not occupied.

Difficult Shortcut

West of Briggs Cabin the road twists and turns dramatically down a narrow canyon. Conditions vary considerably. It may be very difficult under worse-case conditions. At Point #12, stay right on main trail. A steeper, difficult shortcut is left.

Wingate Road

Reconnect with Wingate Road. Right takes you back to Ghost Town of Ballarat. Left goes to Goler Wash, also available as eGuide from FunTreks.
Pictures in this guide taken by: FunTreks, FunTreks, Inc.

Copyright 2011 FunTreks, Inc
the bridge in south park cyn has been CLOSED by the BLM for repairs to ALL fullsize vehicles since 2011
Visited on Oct 16, 2013

by mtnpks58 on Dec 28, 2013

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