mid point_silver_canyon_trail
GPSN37 25.16 W118 15.62
Elevation4100 ft. to 10,500 ft.
SeasonApril- November
TerrainRoughly graded, very steep descent, water crossings, loose rock sections on narrow switchbacks
DifficultyEasy to moderate
Required VehicleHigh clearance 4WD. Be sure your brakes are in good shape. Our Tacoma’s brakes smoked and went spongy on the descent.
Time1.5 hours
Lengthapproximately 10 miles.

Current Road Conditions:  Inyo National Forest, White Mountain Ranger District, Bishop CA:  760-873-2500
Directions:  This trail starts off of White Mountain road just 3 miles north of the Schulman Grove Visitor Center at 10,500 ft.

Upper trail head
Silver Canyon Trail Head

Site Location and Description: The trail head is well marked and warns of 4×4 high clearance requirements.This is a narrow, very steep, and graded trail that winds down into Silver Canyon and provides excellent views of the Sierra Nevada and Owen Valley.  Due to the steep decline, be sure to use your engine gearing to help slow the descent.  It is easy to overheat your brakes! This trail is not recommended in heavy rain or snowy conditions. Some of the switchbacks are located on a shelf road and are narrow. Passing places are limited, so you may need to back up for oncoming vehicles. This is not a trail for those of you who fear drop off exposure. There are multiple creek crossings once in the canyon that are very mellow in summer, but could be potentially challenging after heavy rainfall or during spring run-off.  We recommend calling for road conditions ahead of time.

Start of switchbacks
Start of the switchback descent.

History of Silver Canyon Trail: Laws Railroad Museum at the western end of Silver Canyon Trail, was a station for the Carson & Colorado Railroad that ran from Carson City to Keeler.  The settlement was named after R.J. Laws, the railroad’s assistant superintendent and had a post office up until the 1960’s.  Passenger service to Laws ended in 1932 and freight service to Nevada ended in 1943.  Service continued between Laws and Keeler until April 1960.  The Southern Pacific acquired the Carson & Colorado and Engine Number 9; the last engine to travel between Laws and Keeler, is kept in the museum today.  The site of the mining town of Ownsville is located a couple hundred yards from the museum.  Owensville had a post office from 1866-1869. The town’s office was moved to Bishop, formerly called Bishop Creek, in 1870. By 1871 Owensville faded away.

WELCOME RELIEF
Blue dog getting relief from the heat.

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New York born to SoCal via Puerto Rico and San Francisco, partner in crime and co-founder of The Adventure Portal, Lori has over 15 years experience in partaking of adventures in the American southwest, primitive camping, hiking and exploring in her Rubi. She welcomes new challenges and is always pushing the envelope of adventure in her Jeep.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Drove this trail last year. Great route but it sure told me how inadequate my brakes are on my fully loaded van!! Next time I’ll go up it instead….

  2. Same for us Brent. Our Taco is heavy and I lost my brakes going down. They were spongy and smoking! Very disconcerting as I was trying to not over shoot the switchback! Looking forward to hanging with you in Baja next weekend!

    • Y’all need to look at a complete EBC brake upgrade, use the Yellow Stuff pads. They are all I run on my rigs and race trucks. I have yet to kill them. lol happy trails.

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