|Distance||0.5 miles roundtrip|
|Best Seasons||Spring, Fall, Winter|
- View otherworldly rock formations filmed in many movies and TV shows
- Sweeping vistas of the surrounding desert
You've probably seen the iconic Trona Pinnacles before, whether in a car commercial, sci-fi movie, or most recently in Lady Gaga's video for Stupid Love. Located on U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land, this site isn't developed in any sense of the word, save for one pit toilet. Braving the empty desert is worth it to see this amazing collection of tufa spires -- columns of calcium carbonate formed as a calcium-rich underground spring leaked into the alkaline ancient lake that flooded this valley. If you're planning a trip to Death Valley from Los Angeles, this is a minor detour that will greatly amplify your desert experience.
Most of the adventure takes place on the drive here as you navigate desolate desert highways to a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. You'll know you're on the right track when you see the unmistakable pinnacles rise above the barren plain in the distance, as shown in the pictures below.
The Trona Pinnacles are located on Bureau of Land Management Land (BLM), so there aren't many rules here. You can have your dog roam free, off-leash if you so desire. You can even camp right next to the pinnacles. Stopping here is a good way to punctuate the long drive to Death Valley, and the lack of regulations and amazing scenery makes this a great place to let your kids roam free for a while. It goes without saying, but avoid visiting during the scorching summers. Depending on the day of the week, you might run into someone else here, but most don't stay very long -- wait a bit if you want solitude.
From Los Angeles, take Interstate 5 north to California Highway 14 towards Palmdale. After passing through Mojave, watch for a green sign pointing to Garlock and Johannesburg, then turn right onto Redrock Randsburg Road (this turn is not well marked, so pay close attention). Turn left onto U.S. Highway 395. Watch for a green sign pointing to Trona, then turn right onto Searles Station Road. Turn left onto Trona Road, then turn right onto California Highway 178. Once on Highway 178, look for a trapezoidal BLM sign pointing to Trona Pinnacles, then turn right onto Pinnacles Road. This dirt road continues 5 miles until you reach the pinnacles and is smooth enough for any car when conditions are dry (which is almost always).
Google Maps Directions
Parking, Fees, and Facilities
Parking is free! There is a pit toilet here.