Garlock, California: Hand-Dug Tunnel To Nowhere

Starting in 1906, Prospector Bill "Burro" Schmidt spent 32 years digging a half-mile-long tunnel through a desert hill for no apparent reason -- but there's a nice view at the far end. Bring a flashlight, extra batteries, plenty of water, and a spare tire.
Address:
Burro Schmidt Tunnel Rd, Garlock, CA
Directions:
Turnoff to the tunnel is on the east side of Hwy 14, north of Red Rock Canyon State Park. It's about 14 miles north of the intersection of Redrock-Randsburg Rd, or about 7.5 miles south of the intersection of Hwy 178. A small wood sign marks the turn heading north; no such luck heading south. From the turnoff, drive east on a bumpy dirt road for about 6.5 miles, then turn left for the last three miles to the tunnel. Be careful of washouts.
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Burro Schmidt's Tunnel

Toni passed away a couple of years ago and efforts have been made to preserve the site, but vandals have been at work. Be sure to take a GPS, water, map from BLM...roads are tricky...4-wheel drive is recommended in these mountains. Try not to take heavy vehicles or trailers.

[Cynthia, 08/11/2007]
Burro Schmidt's Tunnel

Burro Schmidt's Tunnel is a tunnel that was dug through the El Paso Mountains in the Mojave Desert of Southern California. Originally Mr. Schmidt planned to use the tunnel as a way of getting ore from his mine to the railroad depot at Garlock, but he continued to dig the tunnel, completely using hand tools, even after his mines played out.

The tunnel is now owned by a lady known simply as "Toni" who will tell the story of the tunnel and allow a person to walk through it for a small donation. She even gives a lantern to use on the journey! The tunnel is nearly a mile long and offers a nice constant cool temperature on a hot summers day!

[Geoff Schroder, 02/10/2002]

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