PDF Guide


DRIVE/ROUTE A: From US Highway 395 at Big Pine, CA., turn right (E) on paved State Route 168 heading for Westgard Pass. At a fork in 2.2 miles bear right on the narrow, paved Waucoba-Saline Valley Road and go 11.1 miles to where you'll turn right onto a fair dirt road. (If you miss this turnoff, continue driving another 1.9 miles to the intersection of the Waucoba-Saline Valley and Saline Valley roads, turn around and backtrack the 1.9 miles). Bear left at a fork in 0.2 miles near a water guzzler and drive 3.4 miles on a steadily deteriorating road to a saddle at 8582 feet elevation. Dropping over this saddle, go 0.6 miles to a fork and bear left (Bearing right here will get you to the Squaw Flats parking area in 3.6 miles, but en route you'll have to negotiate a horribly steep downhill stretch of 4WD road that is sloped in the direction of a potential roll of 200 feet if you're not careful. Not a recommended route.). At a faint fork in 0.2 miles bear left and start a downhill drive (possibly 4WD here) eastward into a canyon, reaching the remains of two cabins at a place called "The Narrows" in 1.9 miles. Reaching its lowest point here, the road now climbs upward and SW, staying in the wash for a considerable distance before eventually emerging at a junction in Squaw Flats 2.2 miles from "The Narrows" cabins. Turn left here and drive 1.1 miles to a fork. Bear left and go 0.8 miles to the starting point of the hike, a concrete water trough on your left. Parking is available for 3 to 4 cars on the S side of the trough. The Inyo Mountains Wilderness Area boundary is located just E of this parking spot.

CLIMB/ROUTE A: The majority of the hike is visible from the water trough at a bearing of 105 degrees and includes prominent landmarks such as the saddle between points 8829 and 9143 and the relatively barren ridge seen behind this saddle which leads toward the top of Waucoba. The summit is not visible from the water trough. Start hiking SE across nearly flat terrain toward the mouth of the wash that separates points 8829 and 9143. Follow the wash up to the saddle between the two points, avoiding the dry waterfalls you'll encounter by climbing around their right sides. From the saddle head SE across easy terrain to the abovementioned ridge. Between 9,800 and 10,200 feet elevation on the ridge the brush starts getting thick. Stay below the crest of the ridge on its left (N) side and pick your way up as best you can. Above this obstacle the walking is easier through a pine forest to a 10,600 foot saddle at UTM 097977 and then up to the large, flat summit of Waucoba.

ROUND TRIP STATS: 3200 feet elevation gain, 5.5 miles, 5 hours

DRIVE/ROUTE B: From US Highway 395 at Big Pine, CA., turn right (E) on paved State Route 168 heading for Westgard Pass. At a fork in 2.2 miles bear right on the narrow, paved Waucoba-Saline Valley Road and go 13 miles to its junction with the signed, excellent dirt Saline Valley Road. Turn right (S), following the Saline Valley Road for 12.5 miles; approximately 0.2 miles before it reaches its high point at 7228 feet elevation. Park alongside the road at its junction with a poor dirt road heading W toward Waucoba Mountain. This parking spot is located within the boundary of Death Valley National Park, so all Park rules and regulations apply at this location.

CLIMB/ROUTE B: See Map. Hike W up the poor dirt road 0.8 miles to its end, then SW a short distance through a pinyon pine forest to the base of the NE ridge. This ridge is to the left of the seasonal stream shown on the map and is recognized by a bare talus slope at about the 8,400 foot level. Climb directly up this ridge to the summit.

ROUND TRIP STATS/ROUTE B: 4200 feet elevation gain, 6.5 miles, 6 hours.

DRIVE/ROUTE C: Follow driving directions for B, but stop at roughly 7,020 ft of elevation at another 4WD road. Turn right and drive another quarter mile or so. There are good camping spots found here.

CLIMB/ROUTE C: See Map. Head generally SW towards the mountain, and at 8,000 ft ascend the right-hand ridge to a bench at 10,560 ft. Turn left and head up easy slopes to the summit. Return by retracing your steps, or descend the ridge described in the B route until approximately 8,000 ft of elevation, and bear left to intersect your outbound track.

ROUND TRIP STATS/ROUTE C: 4200' of elevation gain, 7.5 miles, 7 hours


  1. Waucoba Mountain is the high point of the Inyo Range. From its summit there are spectacular views across the Owens Valley to the Palisad es area of the Sierra Nevada as well as eastward into the depths of the Saline Valley and beyond to the Death Valley ranges.
  2. Waucoba Mountain is located within the boundaries of the Inyo Mountains Wilderness Area. This new wilderness area was created as a part of the California Desert Protection Act of 1994, Public Law 103-433, Section 102 (28). The Inyo Mountains Wilderness Area encompasses approximately 205,020 acres of land and is managed by the United States Forest Service in its northern part and the Bureau of Land Management in its central and southern parts.
  3. Primitive camp spots may be found at any of the trailheads mentioned above. Remember to bring all the water, etc., you may need. There are no facilities of any kind found at these trail heads.