Harry Wade Exit Route
This is the pathway that gold seeker Harry Wade is believed to have taken in his escape from Death Valley. Inscribed on a concrete and steel placard at Highway 127 commemorating this event, are these words:
“Harry Wade Exit Route – Some 100 wagons found themselves in Salt Lake City too late to cross the Sierra Nevada. They banded together under the name of Sand Walking Co. and started for the gold fields in California over the Old Spanish Trail. After being in Death Valley with the ill-fated 1849 caravan, Harry Wade found this exit route for his ox-drawn wagon, thereby saving his life and those of his wife and children. At this point the Wade party came upon the known Spanish Trail to Cajon Pass.”
This is a historic landmark, numbered 622, and was provided by the descendants of Harry Wade in 1957. The new placard now in place was erected in 1999.
Harry Wade was one of those first gold-seekers who tried a shortcut through Death Valley in 1849, and led his small group into life-threatening problems. But he successfully led his followers out through the southern end of Death Valley, although there still remains debate regarding the exact route. Some historians say it was in this valley through which the road now lies, while others claim it was through Wingate Wash to the northwest.
This road is usually dry, and drivable by most any vehicle including sedans, but such is not always the case. Sometimes the Amargosa River, which this road crosses, is running above ground, and passage can be dicey unless in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Always consult with rangers prior to attempting this drive.
Harry Wade road basically is the connecting conduit from Highway 127 north of Baker, California to Ashford Junction near Shoreline Butte, and is 32 miles of dirt that is mostly graded and non-problematic in dry weather. It would be best to stay off this road in threatening or wet weather, however.