Follow an old road to the site of a mining town and a view.
|Total Distance: 4.8 miles out & back||Elevation Gain: 705ft. (3,146ft. to 3,811ft.)|
|Difficulty: Moderate||0-5 Mile Difficulty: Strenuous|
|View Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 stars||Author’s Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0 stars|
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|Pets: No||Horses: Yes|
|Best Seasons: November-April||Special Permits: None|
|Water Availability: None||Overnight Options: Free-range camping permitted|
|Trailhead Amenities: None||Crowd Factor: Solitude|
|Trailhead Access: 2.0|
Mile-by-Mile: Schwab Townsite
0.0 Road to Schwab Town Site on the left (north) side of the Echo Canyon Road (3,146ft.). The old road is closed, but you can walk the old road as it wanders northeast up the side wash. At times, the road may be vague or washed out by floods in the wash. (36.497130°, -116.732554°)
0.8 Approximate site of Schwab (3,334ft.). There isn’t much left of the town that once sat on the left (west) side of the wash – it was a tent city, and when everyone left, they took the tents, too. From here you can retrace your steps to your vehicle or try and pick up the old railroad grade that goes east down a side-wash and connects to the Lees Camp Road not far from the Inyo Mine. This guide continues to follow the old road up the main wash. If the road disappears, just keep hiking north up the wash. Stay in the main (left) wash as you hike. (36.504758°, -116.723320°)
1.75 Wash split (3,571ft.). Take the left wash to walk north and then west. The old road seems to hug the left (southwest) bank. (36.517788°, -116.721480°)
1.9 Leave wash (3,602ft.). The road leaves the wash to head northwest up the hillside. (36.519548°, -116.723350°)
2.4 More or less end of road (3,811ft.). Enjoy the views before returning to the Echo Canyon Road. By walking up to the ridgeline, you get some great views down on the Furnace Creek Wash. (36.523999°, -116.728462°)
History & More
The town of Schwab was named for its owner and developer, the famous steel baron Charles Schwab. The nearby claim was called “Stray Horse” by its founders, but Mr. Schwab named his mining company Skibo, after a castle belonging to Andrew Carnegie. Five boxcars of tents and other supplies were brought in to make a town of about 200 people. A telephone line was run in from Rhyolite, and a daily stagecoach traveled between the two towns.
Charles Schwab was known for bringing in females to run his mining camps, and Schwab was no exception. The ladies decided the town needed a bit of cleanup and more than a little morality, and set about a do-good checklist. Whether because of these women’s efforts or because of the draw of other claims, Schwab was abandoned. Very little remains today, as no permanent structures were ever built.
The old road may be obvious, or nearly invisible in the desert. Be prepared for wayfinding if it’s difficult to spot.
Download Trail Map
Take CA-190 to the Echo Canyon Road. Drive up the Echo Canyon Road 7.75 miles. Park out of the way of traffic and locate the beginning of the old road (or just start hiking northeast up the side wash).
Camping in a canyon is discouraged due to the danger of flash floods.
Remember, it may be easier to climb up dryfalls than down them (or vice versa). Be sure you can climb in the other direction before climbing up or down a dryfall.
Camping is not allowed within one mile of a paved road, developed area, or dirt road that is closed to camping.
Camping is not permitted within 100 feet of a flowing stream, spring, or other natural body of open water.
No camping is permitted on the floor of Death Valley, within one mile of Darwin Falls and Greenwater Canyon, on the active/shifting sand dunes, and certain other canyons and backcountry areas.
Camping is also prohibited within one mile of the Ubehebe Lead Mine, Leadfield Mines, Keane Wonder Mill, and Skidoo Mill.
Camping is limited to 30 days per calendar year within the park.
Fires are permitted in NPS-provided fire grates or grills ONLY.
Leave No Trace Principles are enforced
Drones and model aircrafts are prohibited
Camping is permitted only in designated sites or in areas open to dispersed backcountry camping
All park rules and regulations
12 Month Pass: $55/Death Valley Annual Pass (valid at Death Valley National Park). $80/America the Beautiful Annual Pass (valid at all national park and federal fee areas). $20/Annual Senior Pass (62 years or older US citizens; valid at all national park and federal fee areas). Free/4th Grade Pass (Valid Sept. 1-August 31 of the child’s 4th Grade school year). Free/Military Pass (valid for all active military personel and their dependents with a CAC Card or DD Form 1173).
Lifetime Pass: $80/Lifetime Senior Pass (62 years or older US citizens; valid at all national park and federal fee areas). Free/Access Pass (available to all US citizens with perminent disabilities). Free/Access for Veterans and Gold Star Families Pass (valid for all military and veterans with a CAC card, Veteran HJealth Identification Card, Veteran ID Card, or veteran’s designation on state-issued drivers license or identification card.)