The rugged backcountry of the Panamint Valley provides an exceptional setting for off-highway vehicle exploration and adventure. Located in the deep trough between the towering Panamint Range and the Argus Mountains, the Panamint Valley sits at an elevation of around 1,000 feet above sea level. From the valley floor, the OHV enthusiast can follow 4-wheel drive roads up narrow canyons to some of the region's legendary mines and mill sites The 4-wheel drive routes in Goler and Pleasant Canyons can lead you into destinations within Death Valley National Park.
Part of the lure of venturing into the Panamint Valley are the challenges you may encounter in this remote desert valley. Once you venture off the paved roads out here you are on your own. Your vehicle needs to be a high clearance 4-wheel drive, and equipped with adequate safety and desert survival equipment.
Where to Drive
The Panamint Valley is divided into two general motorized vehicle use classes: Limited or Closed to off-highway vehicles.
- Limited Use Areas - Existing Routes of Travel: Within most of the valley, motorized vehicle travel is allowed on the existing road and trail network and all cross country travel is prohibited. An existing route is any road or trail that is at least 24 inches in width and shows some previous use. Desert washes and canyon bottoms are also considered to be existing routes even if flash floods have erased all evidence of their previous use.
On BLM managed lands all off-highway vehicles must display a current "Green Sticker"/California OHV registration or be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles as a street legal vehicle. Within Death Valley National Park, only street legal vehicles are permitted on the road and trail network. "Green Sticker" registered vehicles are not permitted in the National Park.
- Closed Areas: Within the Argus Mountains and the Panamint Range are several areas that have been designated as Wilderness and are closed to all motorized and mechanized vehicle use. The boundaries of these Closed Areas are well signed.
These areas are: Surprise Canyon Wilderness Manly Peak Wilderness Darwin Falls Wilderness Argus Range Wilderness
The surface of the South Panamint Dry Lake is closed to motorized vehicles from the Ballast Road north to the Indian Ranch Road. The lakebed is often soft and muddy and is closed to protect wetlands in the Warm Sulphur Springs area.
Things to see in Panamint Valley
Off Road Trails in Panamit Valley
- Defense Mine/ Cummings Cutoff
- Goler Wash
- Isham Canyon
- Jackpot Canyon
- Jail Canyon
- Lookout City
- Pleasant Canyon
- South Park Canyon
- Stone Canyon - CLOSED
- Surprise Canyon - CLOSED
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Maps and GPS Coordinates
Panamint Valley Coordinates: 35.683800° -117.069700°