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Trona Pinnacles, Trona

4.7
#11 of 27 in Parks in California Desert
Wildlife Area Nature / Park
The Trona Pinnacles are an unusual geological feature in the California Desert National Conservation Area. The unusual landscape consists of more than 500 tufa spires (porous rock formed as a deposit when springs interact with other bodies of water), some as high as 140ft, rising from the bed of the Searles Lake (dry) basin. The pinnacles vary in size and shape from short and squat to tall and thin, and are composed primarily of calcium carbonate (tufa). They now sit isolated and slowly crumbling away near the south end of the valley, surrounded by many square miles of flat, dried mud and with stark mountain ranges at either side.The Pinnacles are recognizable in more than a dozen hit movies. Over thirty film projects a year are shot among the tufa pinnacles, including backdrops for car commercials and sci-fi movies and television series such as Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Disney's Dinosaur, The Gate II, Lost in Space, and Planet of the Apes.In recent literature, the Trona Pinnacles are at the crux of Gods Without Men by Hari Kunzru.GeographyThe Trona Pinnacles, at an elevation of 1800ft above sea level, are located approximately 10.0mi south of Trona, California. Access to the site is from a BLM dirt road (RM143) that leaves State Highway 178, about 7.7mi east of the intersection of State Highway 178 and the Trona-Red Mountain Road. The 5.0mi long dirt road from State Highway 178 to the Pinnacles is usually accessible to 2-wheel drive vehicles, however, the road may be closed during the winter months after a heavy rain.
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66 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We saw a show on TV and were astonished that should be something great near Trona. This place is stayed, us as a bleak industrial wilderness in memory. Therefore, we decided to make a detour to the pinnacles. It was worth. The directions of a mile on the dirt road can be reached with each car and also the Dirtroad around the front rock towers is feasible. More remote areas are very sandy/steep and rather only with 4WD to drive on. The up to 140 m-high volcanic Tuff rock formations are a world apart; It's like on a different planet.
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  • While staying at the Navy base in Ridgecrest on our way north on 395 we ventured to the Pinnacles and it is well worth the trip. FYI, it's 5 miles one way off of 178 on a dirt road which can be affect...  more »
  • The Trona Pinnacles are a geologic formation called Tufas, very similar to those in Mona Lake without the lake. The nearby town of Trona is a sparsely populated mining town. The Pinnacles themselves a...  more »

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