Laurel Mountain


Laurel Mountain

February 3-4-5, 2023

Distances subject to last minute adjustments for weather.

We have always had a soft spot in our hearts for the trails around the El Paso Mountains. We used most of these trails in the days when the Death Valley Encounter started with two days here and then moved to Trona.  The trail will touch the spectacular geography of Red Rock Canyon and has been modified in that area to go over the Bonanza Trail, past several old miners cabins and an old time post office.

There is plenty of camping room in the gravel pit that is immune to weather problems.  There is a motel and restaurant 7 miles north in Inyokern as well as numerous facilities in Ridgecrest.

Registration will start at 3:00 on Thursday. The vet check will start at 6:00 if the vet shows up on time. There will be a ride meeting around 7:00 each evening. Contrary to what is on some internet information, the 25 will start after the start of the fifty on most, if not all days. The fifty mile rides usually start at 7:00 and the 25’s will probably start at 8:00. On the first day the 50’s head south into the Goler wash area then back up to a lunch near the Golf Ball. On the second day the 50’s route winds through the flats and rolling hills of the high Mojave Desert and then climbs to the summit of the golf ball pass, then drops into the Garlock area and back through Mormon Flat to a lunch in camp. The 25’s will take a few shortcuts and will have a lunch stop along with the 50’s near the Golf Ball on the first day. Lunch will be back in camp for all riders on the second and third days. The third day heads toward Red Rock Canyon and the Bonanza Mining District. Much of the footing is all weather decomposed granite and desert two track with some rocky sections and sand washes thrown in. The trail is easy to moderately difficult but can be easily completed on new horses ridden with care by good horsemen.

A General Description of this ride is a no frills, low budget, relaxed training ride that will offer riders an opportunity to camp out with friends and ride around the eastern Sierras.

Ride Rules are generally the same as AERC rules as interpreted by the ride manager and her advisors. However, be aware this ride has completion requirements that differ from AERC in that the control judges can and will pull horses that do not recover to their satisfaction. The XP Club Rides will offer less strenuous distances and less formalities for those wanting to just have fun. We offer the Club Rides in lieu of the AERC intro rides.  We tailor the Club Rides to the needs and wants of those who are at the ride. 


Travelers from all directions should take US Hwy 395 to the junction of South China Lake Blvd and Brown Road. This is the location of the vet check on the Twenty Mule Team Ride. Instead of turning towards Ridgecrest, go west on Brown Road for 4 miles. Turn left on EP26 (Wiknich Rd), an old paved road, for 1 mile to the ride camp. 

From the San Fernando Valley area: Take Hwy 14 to CA 178. Turn right to the town of Inyokern. Turn right on Brown Road at the gas station/convenience store and follow Brown Road to EP26 (Wiknich Rd).

Basic Ride Info: We have combined the trails north of the Garlock Road between Hwy 395 and CA 14. This year we have expanded the ride to a three day Pioneer Ride and have added a WDRA ride each day for those wanting to ride more than an LD but less than an AERC 50.  The camp is easy accessible on a good road and features a good base even when wet. The camp has no amenities other than the water and portable toilets supplied by ride management.  The first day trail starts near Sheep Springs and heads out towards Laurel Mountain then down into the Garlock Valley before climbing back through Goler Gulch onto Mormon Flat and back to the camp. The second day returns to Mormon Flat, then turns west into the Last Chance area and the upper Red Canyon drainage then back to camp via the west side of Black Mountain. Most of the trail is excellent desert footing with spectacular desert scenery, hopefully with green grass and early flowers if El Nino delivers as promised. A motel and the best Mexican restaurant in Kern County is located in Inyokern just 6 miles to the north.  More choices for accommodations and culinary options are available 8-10 miles away in Ridgecrest.

Destination information for health certificates: Health certificates are required for horses coming into California from other states. They are not required for horses coming from within the state. The requirements for health papers vary depending on conditions both in California and other states. Your local veterinarian will be able to counsel you on current requirements. The destination address is EP26 and Brown Road, Inyokern, CA 93527.

Meals: Annie will not be doing dinners in ride camp as there are a multitude of restaurants in Ridgecrest, as well as a fine Mexican Restaurant in Inyokern. Annie’s free lunches are available at all XP Rides including Laurel Mtn.

You can pay at the ride after determining how many days you end up riding. Unfortunately we have reluctantly been forced to once again raise entry fees. The final straw for the California rides has been the increase in the drug fees from $8.00 to $14.00 for the California Department of Agriculture.  This mandatory fee/tax, along with the insane inflation of fuel, awards, groceries, etc leaves us with no choice.

Phone 907 209 8881 or e-mail