There are so many amazing places you can take a road trip to in California. If you’re looking for a fantastic weekend getaway, we’ve found just the thing. You can walk through massive 140-foot-tall spires on an ancient lake at the Trona Pinnacles.

You’ll find these geological wonders deep within the desert, 25 miles east of Ridgecrest. 

They’re free to visit and open year-round. Due to extreme heat, it’s best to visit during the fall, winter, and early spring.

During the summer, temperatures soar to 110+ degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to fill your car with gas, bring plenty of water, and plan accordingly.

 The Trona Pinnacles are more than 500 massive spires of tufa - aka super-cool looking calcium carbonate rock. These spires were formed between 10,000 to 100,000 years ago! You’ll feel like an ant walking among giants. 

To get there, you will head south on Pinnacle Road from Trona, California, east of Ridgecrest. The road ends at the Pinnacles. You can find full directions here

Bring a good pair of hiking shoes. The dirt and gravel road are accessible using passenger vehicles, but after a rain, it could get washed out.

Just like the crazy-looking Alabama Hills (also in California), it’s hard to do these natural wonders justice with photos. We guess you’ll have to check them out yourself.

In 1968, it was designated a national landmark by the Department of the Interior. It’s easy to see why.

Do you recognize them? This was the filming location for several famous Hollywood movies, including 2001’s Planet of the Apes and Star Trek.

The Trona Pinnacles are such a unique place to explore. You can even go camping there if you want.

Since this is backcountry camping, there are no facilities in the area. Make sure to clean up after yourself and leave no trace.

Trona Pinnacles

Price: Free to visit

Hours: Open 24 hours daily

Location: 10 miles south of Trona, California 

Why You Should Go: You can walk on an ancient lake bed and explore a land of massive 140-foot-tall spires in the California desert.


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.

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