Eastern Sierras-Entering Overland Nirvana

GPS N 37 7.37′  W118 4.60
Elevation7,000-9,500 ft
SeasonBest from April to November.
Terrain Rocky terrain with off camber sections
Required Vehicle4WD high clearance vehicle
Time2.5 hrs
Length18.4 miles from Independence (16.3 miles unpaved)
Eastern Sierras-Entering Pappoose flats
Entering Papoose Flats

Site Location and Description: The Eastern trailhead is located 10.8 miles from the northern end of Saline Valley Road in the Eastern Sierras. The western trailhead is located off the Mazourka Peak Trail. This is an excellent, moderately difficult  trail in the Eastern Sierra’s backcountry of the Inyo National Forest. The section from Badger Flats to Papoose is the most challenging and very scenic.

A rough and off camber trail traverses loose, ledgy and rutted terrain.  A stock vehicle with  high clearance 4×4 should be fine. Note: High clearance is needed for portions of this trail. There are several backcountry camp spots tucked into the trees.

Papoose Flats itself is a flat, treeless granite boulder strewn high desert area, with some excellent primitive camping opportunities.

Note: We do not recommend using an off-road trailer on this trail unless you are an experienced 4×4 driver.

History of Papoose Flats:  The Paiute Indians spent the summer and fall in the Inyo Mountains around Papoose and Badger flats gathering pinyon nuts and killing game for winter.

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Eastern Sierras-Top of Pappoose flats trail
Top of Papoose Flats trail

Papoose Flats-Pinyon Pine
Papoose Flats-Pinyon Pine

Looking West From Pappoose Flats
Looking west From Papoose Flats

Looking East Pappoose Flats
Looking East from Papoose Flats

Eastern Sierras Traveling Pappoose Flats Trail
Traveling Papoose Flats Trail

Eastern SeirresPappoose Flats Trail
Papoose Flats Trail

Eastern Sierras Rubi loves Pappoose Flats
Rubi loves Papoose Flats