Trona Pinnacles, Trona

4.7
#7 of 8 in Wildlife in California Desert
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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Trona Pinnacles Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
76 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • VERY Pretty.....rough rough dirt road from the highway..but that's why you have a rental, right ? Supposedly the TV show West World has some scenes shot here  more »
  • What a wonderful place! Driving on the washboard road, one thinks it's closer than it is to the tufa spires. Quiet and full of surprises. Just plain cool.  more »
  • Other worldly and special. Star Trek and other films have been here. Ubiquitous in car commercials. Just a unique place. Out of the way. Worth the journey.  more »
Google
  • Awesome geological site. But you need more of an off road vehicle.
  • What a place!! Get past the dirt track and you have a magical night in store. Amazing!!
  • Very cool place to visit.
  • If you like the desert then this is the place to be. I went in late fall and had the most perfect weather you could imagine. These pinnacles are amazing and are stretched for miles around. I stayed at the most popular spot which has been used for several science fiction movie shoots and once you see this out of this world landscape you will see why. Camping is basically where you park but please be respectful and do not set up camp right in the groups so others can enjoy them and not be distracted by your camp. I parked about 100 yards with a nice view and for the 2 nights I was there only about 5 other cars came to view them but none stayed the night. There is nothing here but some public toilets which I am pretty sure do not get regular maintenance so it is completely dry camping and if you need anything you need to get it in Ridgecrest which is about 23 miles away.
  • It is beautiful in a rustic sort of way. Very hot in July too.

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