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Thread: Cerro Gordo

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1

    Unhappy Cerro Gordo

    Went up to Cerro Gordo, CA last week. Drove from the coast and planned to camp and explore the town the next day. 4 of us were hoping to bring our wives next month and stay in the hotel. Alas, the entire mountain is covered with "no camping" signs. Every flat spot and turnout has a sign from Cerro Gordo Mining. We even drove down San Lucas canyon to Saline Valley to eventually camp. Most of the literature we read before the trip identified many camping spots, but that is no more. Needless to say we went on to other ghost towns all the way to Berlin/Ione and had a great trip! Just a heads up if you plan to camp anywhere near Cerro Gordo, you can't!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    North central Nevada
    Posts
    364

    Default

    Mike Patterson owns much of Cerro Gordo but not all. And he cannot stop you from driving through on the main road, which is an Inyo County maintained road.

    And you can camp on public lands around the town. There are some nice spots to camp on the 4x4 trail that runs north from Cerro Gordo, which is outlined on my site at:

    http://www.gbr.4wdtrips.net/4x4/swansea.html

    Mike is actually a graceous host, but would appreciate a bit of advance notice that one or more are coming. His website at:

    http://www.cerrogordo.us/

    ... can provide the contact info. However, since Mike lives alone and is the only one that lives up there, he may be out working on stabilizing the many numerous ruins that are about the townsite and cannot get to the phone.
    David A. Wright
    Quote: "Happy Trails To You, Until We Meet Again!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Posts
    550

    Default Cerro Gordo

    For a full telling of the history of Cerro Gordo, one needs to read From this Mountain--Cerro Gordo, by Robert C. Likes and Glenn R. Day. A former moderator from this site turned me on to this book a few years ago and it is an excellent read.

    I have been to Cerro Gordo. It is quite a place to visit. The owner has done much work to the area to preserve it and has suffered personal tragedy. He was kind to us when we visited.

    NJ
    "I got four things to live by: Don't say nothing that will hurt anybody. Don't give advice--nobody will take it anyway. Don't complain. Don't explain." Death Valley Scotty Walter Scott 1872-1954

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    443

    Default Cerro Gordo website

    The official website for Cerro Gordo has been down for at least a couple of weeks. I haven't been able to get anyone on the phone number that used to be listed there.

    Is it still open?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    North central Nevada
    Posts
    364

    Default

    I haven't a clue. I used to live nearby in the Owens Valley, but a year ago moved to north-central Nevada. So I've lost touch with Mike Patterson.

    By the way, it's nearly impossible to get Mike on the phone and he seldom answered my emails. So I would simply drop in.

    If you go up to Cerro Gordo again, look for a silver Dodge Ram 3/4 ton 4WD pickup with personalized plates indicating Cerro Gordo parked at or near the big house behind the old hotel. That's Mike's truck. Just spend time visiting with Mike. He's a friendly chap. I wouldn't go knocking on his door, as his dogs will be barking their fool heads off (they're within the fenced area), but he'll likely come out if he's aware someone is in town.

    Offer to buy a few Cerro Gordo root beers in the hotel and that will make him happier and you'll likely get a personalized tour.
    David A. Wright
    Quote: "Happy Trails To You, Until We Meet Again!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    443

    Default

    I plan on heading up there next month. I'll buy some root beer and take pictures. Google Earth shows a number of structures above the town and just on the eastern slope. I don't know if I'll have time to get to them this time, though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    South Central Orange County
    Posts
    443

    Default Web page up again

    The web page is back up at cerrogordo.us

    I hope this means I'll be welcome when I take my family there this month.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Costa Mesa, CA
    Posts
    550

    Default

    David, I went to your website and checked out that trip up to the salt tram. Man that looks interesting. I have been to Saline Valley a few times, from the north and Marble Canyon, from Eureka valley, and from the Darwin Plateau. I have hiked up one of the canyons next to the tram route out of Saline Valley. I have been to the Santa Rosa Mine and Cerro Gordo.

    Now I am very interested in doing a trip up from Swansea. How is the road now? I know you may not have been up recently, but a guess would be better than nothing. I will be probably in a 2007 Tundra 4wd stock with good tires. Maybe the '60 Willys wagon with posi-traction rear and open front and thirty-one inch All-terrains.

    I am a very experienced 4wd road driver and know my limits and am willing to always divert to a second destination rather than get stuck on the trail.

    NJ
    "I got four things to live by: Don't say nothing that will hurt anybody. Don't give advice--nobody will take it anyway. Don't complain. Don't explain." Death Valley Scotty Walter Scott 1872-1954

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    North central Nevada
    Posts
    364

    Default

    I'm in the finishing stages of a companion page to my Swansea-Cerro Gordo trail page; a photo essay of all my trips over the trail. On this page the images progress along the entire trail.

    I've driven the trail five complete times, plus two partial runs to check on flashflood damage in 2003 prior to expedition tours run by the Vargo's. All my trips were during 2003-2006. On my last trip over the trail, I lead a man with a late 1950s Willys pickup, basically stock except with a 350 Chevy V8 for motive power. He had no issues.

    I've always ran the trail north to south. If you ran Cerro Gordo to Swansea the only problem area I'd expect you to have is climbing out of Boiler Canyon, which climbs 1,500 feet elevation in 1.5 miles and is covered with loose shale.

    I should have the new page up in the next week, as it's all there and I'm in the process of programmnig the thumb images to open full size when clicking on them. After that is done, the page will go online.

    I don't live in the eastern Sierra Nevada any longer, I moved to Nevada after 34 years in Inyo and Mono Counties. But I've seen heavy flashflood damage to the trail and seen it quickly repaired, so I doubt you will have any issues. My Tacoma is stock, except it does have the TRD Off Road package and a rear locker. But it's not lifted and I run BFG All Terrain T/As. I've never had any issues on the trail. So I expect your Tundra to do fine.
    Last edited by David A. Wright; 08-05-2009 at 09:25 PM.
    David A. Wright
    Quote: "Happy Trails To You, Until We Meet Again!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Clovis, Ca
    Posts
    38

    Default Cerro Gordo

    I was up there a year ago and rode my Vstrom (motorcycle). I thought the area was awesome with quite a few structures intact. The elevation is around 9,000 ft or so. I would highly recommend checking it out!

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