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2018 - Trip Report - Trona Pinnacles

Trip Report: Trona Pinnacles

By Jerry Dupree

We were having such a great time at the Rendezvous that it was difficult to choose between all of the trips in the area. Dolly and I had volunteered to lead a tour to the Trona Pinnacles. Since we had never been there we researched it online and were given information from Bob Jacoby, which had a lot of useful information.

The Trona Pinnacles are located about 20 miles from Ridgecrest and about 20 miles from Trona. The area is an ancient dry lake bed and there are wave marks along the original shore line indicating that the lake was at least 60 feet deep. The pinnacles are made of calcium carbide formed underwater from steam vents under the lake bottom. The pinnacles vary in height to about 40 feet. There is nothing around them, so they are visible for miles and look like something one would imagine the surface of another planet to look like. The pinnacles have been the scenery and background for several movies and television commercials.

Of course we took the wrong turn from the road and wound up traveling quite a distance along the wrong side of a railroad track. I didn't realize how easily our four wheel drive vehicles could drive over the tracks and had visualized someone getting stuck on the tracks while a train would be coming. It was easier than I had thought.

We drove to the pinnacles and there was a welcome site of a restroom. There were no supplies available but we had toilet paper and hand sanitizer with us to share. "Don't leave home without it." I noticed a void of animal life because the area was so desolate of water and vegetation. No tracks or droppings in the area. There also was no shade to stop and have lunch. We improvised and sat in the shade of our vehicles.

The pinnacles were beautiful and some of us hiked up as far as possible, however the higher we climbed the more wind and blowing dust and sand, which was especially unpleasant for those wearing contacts.

Using a GPS, we were following a route to the nearest road back and some of us broke off to visit the Trona museum on the way back. We needed to pick up some supplies for the catered dinner, therefore we missed the Trona museum. It is our habit to visit museums everywhere we travel and we call it "museum hopping" which is also the least expensive thing to do on trips.

We were very glad to see the Trona Pinnacles and every other adventure as members of the Desert Explorers.  ~ Jerry

Photos: Jerry Dupree

and Jay Lawrence