Discover California's Hidden Gem: The Challenging Drive to Barcroft Field Station on White Mountain Road

Barcroft Field Station is a weather station at an elevation of 3.800m (12,470ft) above the sea level, located in Mono County, in the US state of California It's one of the highest roads of California.

Barcroft Field Station

Can you drive to Barcroft Field Station in California?

Situated within the boundaries of Inyo National Forest, the route to the apex follows the winding, dirt path known as White Mountain Road. While the terrain is rough and strewn with rocks, careful navigation allows even 2-wheel drive vehicles to make the journey. The ascent begins from the paved CA-168 road and stretches over a distance of 28.3 miles (45.5km). Constructed in 1951, the alpine laboratory facility stands as a testament to scientific endeavor at high altitudes. At the summit, you can find a modest hut that provides a semblance of human presence in this remote location. The astronomy dome, a salient feature of the station, is conspicuously perched atop the peak. Beyond the main station, a less-traveled gravel road beckons the more adventurous. It leads to the White Mountain Research Station Summit Laboratory, sitting at an impressive elevation of 4,347m (14,261ft) above sea level, at the crest of White Mountain Peak.

Is the road to Barcroft Field Station in California open?

Set high in the White Mountains of California, the road to the summit is open from about June 1 - October 31 (weather and snow permitting). Access is restricted by a locked gate about 2 miles before the station. Winters are extremely severe, with the peak receiving upwards of 13 feet (400 cm) of snow annually.

Is the road to Barcroft Field Station in California challenging?

Tucked away in the eastern central portion of California, near the Nevada border, this section of trail, set in breathtaking landscapes, is not for the faint hearted – it is steep, and there are spots where a slip or fall could cause serious injury.
Pic: Scott Kennedy