Isham Canyon Area Map
The main sites of interest
in this area are:
- Stockwell Mine
- Isham Canyon
- Manly Pass
- Fish Canyon
A dirt road passes through the Slate Range from Searles Valley to Panamint Valley
in this area. On the Panamint Valley side it travels through Fish Canyon and
on the Searles Valley side it travels through Goff Canyon. Alternately a
dirt road (requiring rock-crawling skills and equipment) connects to this
road via Isham Canyon.
I found the Fish Canyon story and the Escape Trail markers kind of
surprising the first time I visited Fish Canyon back in the mid-1990s.
The signs tell the story of
Father Fish, Reverend Brier, and the Bennett and Arcane party. The Escape
Trail markers trace the route which the Bennett-Arcane party took on their
escape from Death Valley and their search for water. Fish Canyon leads up to
Manly Pass which leads to Isham Canyon and Searles Valley.
Chess Canyon is located near Fish Canyon on the Panamint Valley side of the
Slate Range. Fish Canyon can be accessed via rough dirt road from Panamint
Valley or from Searles Valley. Chess Canyon must be accessed by foot. There
is a foot trail which starts in the Slate Range and continues down to the
floor of Panamint Valley.
The Stockwell Mine is a highly developed collection of tunnels and shafts
which are spread out over an area about a half mile long and a quarter mile
wide. There are two main areas to mine - the upper area which appears to be
older and the lower area which includes three main tunnels. Across the
canyon from the upper workings (to the west) are several prospects and
This shaft is located just west of the Stockwell Mine. Actually it's just
over the hill from the Stockwell and up a side canyon from the road that
leads to Fish Canyon.
On February 7, 2006, a 4-month-old puppy was rescued from this mine. It was
trapped approximately 38 feet down the shaft for 12 hours. The dog's name
was Connor. It was rescued by Trona Fire Department Station 127 and PETA
even issued its "Compassionate Lifesaver" Award to the station manager for
the efforts of the rescue workers.
There is a road going up Isham Canyon, but the last half mile of it is more
like an obstacle course than an actual road. It would take a rock-crawler to
get through this section of the canyon and tire tracks and broken brake
lights indicate that some people do test their rigs here.
Isham Canyon ends at Manly
Pass. It is also possible to get to Manly Pass via a sideroad from the road
leading to Fish Canyon.