Hiking in the dark
The Burro Schmidt Tunnel is located in the El Paso Mountains in the Mojave Desert, near the ghost town Garlock, CA. The tunnel was single handedly built by William Henry "Burro" Schmidt and took 38 years to complete. The tunnel is a half mile long.
Schmidt was rumored to have said that that he would not haul his or from his mine through the back route to Mojave and that was his motivation for building the tunnel. However, it would have been difficult for him to make a short climb over the mountain to figure out that the tunnel would exit the other side of the mountain high above a very steep slope. More likely, Schmidt found an ore vein and followed it into the mountain. Thus began a 38 year obsession.
Traveling through the tunnel requires a light. The tunnel has two 90 degree bends in it making for a very dark trip. It’s also only about 6 feet tall, meaning that tall people like me have to duck down a little to avoid hitting the ceiling.
Both ends of the tunnel afford good high desert views. On the north side is Burro Schmidt’s cabin. There are views of the surrounding mountains, the desert near Robber’s Roost, the infamous hideout of Pancho Villa and the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The southern end of the tunnel rests about 2,000 feet above the desert below, with distant views of the San Gabriel Mountains, Mojave and California City.