Steel Pass Drive Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"Just getting to either the northern starting point, at massive Eureka Dunes, or the southern starting point, in isolated Saline Valley, is a motoring adventure through spectacular basin-and-range topography. Your day will begin with long serpentine ascents and descents through mountains whose heights are likely to be snowy in spring, followed by plunging descents into pale desert valleys. When you arrive at the route’s north end in Eureka Valley, you’ll be at the foot of ever-changing Eureka Dunes, which rise nearly 700 feet from the valley floor (itself almost 2,900 feet), making them California’s highest dunes. Some visitors climb to the dunes’ shifting crest. At times, sand avalanching down the steep faces of the highest dunes will generate a low hum. Far higher on the decibel scale is the roar of fighter jets that often fly low over Saline Valley. Narrow, high-walled Dedeckera Canyon provides a minor four-wheeling challenge at a short rocky stretch. The route’s traverse of the sloped valley between the Saline and Last Chance ranges provides both expansive scenery and a genuine sense of remoteness. At the south end, expect to be greeted by friendly— and naked—devotees of Saline Valley’s palm-shaded, user-developed warm springs, a busy destination on springtime weekends. The views of the mountains, especially the escarpment Inyo Mountains flanking Saline Valley, are inspiring indeed. Finally, you will end up in Saline Valley, where you can link up with the famous 4WD Lippencott Road and continue to Racetrack and Hidden valleys."