Trona Pinnacles

San Bernardino County, California

4.6/5
based on 7 reviews

Description

Added by Sal Cavazos

For an "other-worldly" experience, Trona Pinnacles is a must-see. It's no wonder this place has been used to film many Sci-Fi movies. Giant tufas surround you in this eerie yet peaceful location where they turn into towering silhouettes draped in a background of billions of stars.

The Trona Pinnacles in the California Desert National Conservation has a very unusual-looking landscape, which consists of hundreds of tufa spires reaching about 140 feet, all with varying shapes and sizes.

From the drive-in to the drive-out, bone-chilling and awe-inspiring landscape as far as the eye can see. Caterpillars, spiders and the "company providing" sound of an owl will help you feel right at home in an otherwise "other-worldly" location. The terrain is rough as these giants were formed from calcium and alkaline thousands of years ago. Four-wheel drive is suggested but not required. Dress appropriate for the seasons. Beware of summer days as it can reach 115-120 degrees.

GETTING THERE:
The Trona Pinnacles can be accessed through a 5-mile BLM dirt road (RM143), from State Highway 178. Vehicles that have 2-wheel drive are okay to enter, but be aware that after heavy rains it's not safe to pass, because you may get stuck in the mud. Also, if you do not have a 4-wheel drive, stay out of the sand washes.

Continue along the road until you start to see the pinnacles, it's very hard to miss. Park anywhere along the side, and start exploring.

CAMPING:

  • Camping here is free and easy as it is BLM land
  • There is no water or developed facilities aside from a single vault toilet 
  • Please pack out all of your trash as there are no trash services. Even food and other natural items can take years to decompose in this environment
  • Only travel on existing roads and trails. Vegetation can take decades to recover when crushed by off-road driving or parking

OTHER NOTES:

  • Temperatures reach 115 degrees in the summer months, so plan to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon during this season.
  • Fun Fact: The Trona Pinnacles is a popular film location, used in movies such as Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, Disney's Dinosaur, and Planet of the Apes.
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Hiking
Dog Friendly
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Trona Pinnacles Reviews

Explorer

01/23/19

One of the most drop-dead alien and surreal landscapes I have ever visited. A total delight to explore and camp at!

We only spent a couple of hours here but I would definitely come back to camp over night and stargaze. The roc formations are amazing and all the little nooks and crannies you could explore is kind of overwhelming. Never the less this is somewhere everyone should check out at least once

Spent a few hours at the pinnacle this week. We had the place to ourselves mid-week. October seems to be a great time to visit (mid-October, in particular) as the weather was great. It really did feel like we were on another planet. Recommend an SUV or AWD vehicle-probably would have been fine in a "regular" car, but nice not to have to worry. I hear that in the beginning of the month the "Trona smell" is stronger because the factory up the road is in full swing...

4 stars for the scenery and lighting. So I decided to take the girlfriend and the dogs out here this last weekend for a weekend trip. We arrived about an hour before sunset. It was amazing. The colors were unreal. It is May 22nd right now and I regret the timing more than anything. I'm a very experienced camper and figured the hot weather would be no problem at all. It wasn't a problem. The wind however was on another level. We suffered through the night and packed up right after sunrise (of course wasn't NOT going to get the photographs of the unbelievable sunrise!). HIGHLY recommend this place as a day trip arrive early in the morning or at sunset and then take off.

It was definitely other-worldly. I recommend coming in a car that can handle rough terrain, driving around some of the rough roads is fun, and on a dirt bike or ATV it looked really fun, though I didn't get to do it, others looked like they were enjoying it!

It was a cool hike, directions were easy to follow. Definitely want water and I made the mistake of going in the noon of the day so it was warm. Better to go when it's not the height of the sun.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Trona Pinnacles OHV Route

Night Photography on the Road to Trona

Five Fingers Trail

Off-Road to McIver's Cabin

Eastern Sierra Scenic Byway

Walker Pass Campground Trail