A Drive to the Top of Black Mountain, California
Looking at my California Benchmark Atlas, I noticed a back road leading up to the top of Black Mountain just a few miles north of where I am camped on Ogilby Road. Being yet another 70 degree dry desert day, I decide to load up the camera gear and Sam and see if it was a road I could handle in my no clearance Prius.
The first three miles of the seven mile road is a fairly wide, slightly washboarded gravel road along fairly level desert terrain. The Atlas had indicated that the last four miles were paved … and this turned out to be the case. Only problem was that it probably was paved fifty years ago and has never been patched or repaired since.
It is a narrow, potholed bumpy ride up the mountain and there are many small culvert crossings that look like small mountain ranges crossing the road. I had to be really careful crawling over these ridges to avoid bottoming out the Prius. Between them and avoiding the large potholes that would have swallowed my car, it was a slow climb on a very gentle grade, to get to the top of the mountain.
But well worth the effort!
Definitely an alien landscape up here, almost looked like the Mars Rover could appear at any time.
All these shots are looking to the east from the top of the mountain. The blue sky earlier in the day was unfortunately being lost to the gathering haze moving in from the west, but still the view from up here is breathtaking and very interesting.
Most of the land seen in these images is actually designated wilderness area, meaning no motor vehicles and very limited use.
The view to the west is a little more stark and bland as the desert flattens out.
And here you can see the reason for the road to the top of Black Mountain. If you are ever in this area and are looking for a spot with some interesting views, I would recommend taking this drive. If I could make it in the Prius, I am reasonably certain everybody could make it up the mountain, just go slow and keep your eyes on what’s left of the road.
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