White Mountain Road is a very scenic mountainous road located in the White Mountains in Inyo County in the east central portion of the U.S. state of California. It’s one of the highest mountain roads of California.
Located in the Inyo National Forest, the road is 28.3 miles (45.5km) long. It’s half unpaved. Starting from CA-168 road, the first 10.2 miles are paved. The rest of the journey is on a gravel surface. The road climbs up several mountain passes. It runs entirely over 3.000m above the sea level. The road is very steep. The average gradient is 6.02%. Open to all motorized vehicles, however, strongly recommended for 4-wheel drive vehicles.
The road ends at the Barcroft Field Station at 3.800 m (12,470') above the sea level. Acccess is restricted by a locked gate about 2 miles before the station. This trail is not for the faint hearted – it is steep, and there are spots where a slip or fall could cause serious injury. This is a truly spectacular piece of road, unique for its high altitude, unmatched views of the Eastern Sierra, and proximity to the oldest living things on earth. The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is home to the oldest trees in the world, bristlecone pines.
Do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable. It’s generally open from mid-May through the end of November, weather permitting. Winters are extremely severe, with the peak receiving upwards of 13 feet (400 cm) of snow annually.
Pic: Will Conkwright