Registered: 1266000795 Posts: 27
We came in today, South Pass, in a 2WD high clearance stretched Vanagon. No problem (other than two more broken shocks). Mostly dry, just a few puddles, no chains would be required either direction.
I would not suggest it for a low clearance vehicle, but that said I'm told a Toyota Sienna came in yesterday. Thanks for all the updates along the way!
Registered: 1264818129 Posts: 353
Here's a URL for the Owens Valley Dust Cam, which can give some indication of what's going on in the neighborhood of the south pass:
Registered: 1267305562 Posts: 12
I think it is a myth that AAA does not go on dirt roads. I just got my AAA Traveler yesterday which included Guidelines for Roadside Assistance: "Services Not Included: Vehicles that have been driven into an area which is not maintained as a road." Clearly, the Saline Valley road is a maintained county road, the whole loop. (What is not a maintained road is the road to the springs from the SV road.) When there is a county Road Closed sign, obviously, AAA won't have any interest or responsibility.) Also note that the AAA Plus and Premier will cover for free up to 100 or 200 miles of towing. Imagine that. Further, I usually rent from Dollar. They also don't have an asphalt only policy. Their contract refers to use only on a "regularly maintained hard surface road" (such as the SV road). (But the road to the springs is probably not "hard surface" and clearly not "regularly maintained.") Finally, I do recall a tow out of the Saline Valley, near the middle even, in the early or mid-70's. It was free from AAA out of the Chevron in Bishop. A Toyota Corona broke down. I drove my VW bus out to Big Pine and rode back with the tow truck. Those were the days. I'm not saying to count on AAA again. I'm just saying they came through 35 years ago and, at least on paper, their guidelines suggest they should come through again. Not sure I want to test this in 2010 however!
Registered: 1269365114 Posts: 26
According to google 17 miles in is roughly in the middle of the canyon just past Hunter Mtn road turnoff. No pavement there. I know AAA has the "no pavement, no tow" policy (I've had to deal with that myself, once) so the tow truck driver must have been in a really really good mood that night. She has told us it was only a $650 bill total. (she is calling it her $650 3 day camping trip)
I know she is heading up to Independence today to get her car, so maybe we'll know more after today.
Registered: 1265344405 Posts: 5
i've set my trip odometer to 0 a few times coming in and out of Saline.. from the lower springs to the pavement (South Pass) it is just about 60 miles... give or take a mile or two.
My friend and I just returned from a weekend at the springs. It was out first time, and we went in a Chevy Impala (2WD sedan - not terrible ground clearance, but still it's a sedan). We made it in and out of the South Pass without any problem. It is also worth noting that several people at the springs were saying that the South Pass was in relatively bad shape lately. But like I said, we did it without incident. We went VERY slowly and carefully, and like someone said earlier on this thread, no one ever broke down by going too slowly. So yes it is possible. That said, I was pretty white-knuckled the whole time (coming out was less stressful because I knew the car could handle it). I kept thinking that we were going to run into problems, etc. If you have access to a 4WD, high clearance vehicle you should go with it if for no other reason than being able to drive with confidence that you won't run into a terrible problem. If not, go for it in the 2WD but budget 5 hours for the 40ish miles of Saline Valley Road and go nice and slow (as in human-walking-pace slow at times). I am living proof that it is possible!
Registered: 1270157546 Posts: 1
My girlfriend an I were planning on trying to make it up South Pass next Wednesday. All we've got is her little vw gulf though... We've got a full spare, chains, tire repair kit, etc, but normal low car clearance and 2wd. Is this a completely dumb idea or worth a shot if we take slow?
Would we be better off trying to hitch a ride? Thanks in advance =)
Registered: 1265082866 Posts: 92
For a 7 day forecast for SV, I use
this site. Very useful.
Registered: 1264818129 Posts: 353
Please post any up to date information on the south pass in this thread. Anything older than 30 days will generally be deleted as we go along.