Trona Pinnacles are a series of spires that rise above a dry lake bed in the northeastern part of California’s Mojave Desert near the town of Ridgecrest. It was only 48 hours prior to my visit to the pinnacles that I first learned about them by reading the material that I found in the vacation rental house where we were staying in Inyokern, California. Originally, I had wanted to climb Dome Mountain but I had become so fascinated by the pinnacles that I had a sudden change of plans.
Left the vacation rental house near Inyokern, CA around 7 a.m. going on Route 178 heading east. It was 32 degrees F. East of the town of Ridgecrest, the road went into a small “canyon” and went down in elevation until it reached a white colored plain surrounded by desert mountains. I then turned south onto a dirt road that traveled over the surface of what looked like a dry lake bed (Lake Searles). As I went south, pinnacles began to come to view to the southeast in the glare of the rising sun.
After about 5 miles, I found myself very close to the pinnacles. The dirt road and other driven paths seemed to go all around and in between the pinnacles. A few people had camped among the pinnacles. I decided to leave the car there and hike the rest of the way.
Started my hike at 7:45 a.m. going toward the closest pinnacles. A sign said how the pinnacles were formed by springs bringing mineral rich water to the bottom of the lake thousands of years ago when there was an actual lake there. Many sci-fi movies and TV series were apparently filmed there including Planet of the Apes.
Among the Pinnacles
In the distance, I saw a truck camper with two loose dogs. I am capable of defending myself against two aggressive dogs but I did not want to deal with the irate owner. I changed hiking direction avoiding the dogs.
I then realized that I was seeing Death Valley’s Telescope Peak to the northeast.
Argus Peak to the northwest.
I then reached a spot where no more pinnacles could be seen to the south. I turned around and began to go back.
I noted that to go back to my car, I had no choice but to go right through where the loose dogs were and of course I soon saw two mad barking dogs running toward me. I was upset and frustrated thinking here we go again. Fortunately the owners ran after the dogs calling them and ultimately leashing them.
I was then back at the car. I saw two ATVs racing among the pinnacles making a lot of noise and sending much dust in the air. This was a pretty place but too bad it turned out to be an ATV and loose dog type of a place. It was only 9:30 a.m. and I had hiked 3.3 miles.
Went back to the rental house where I got to sit on the deck enjoying the great view of Owens Peak and the southern Sierras. It went up to 65 degrees F. Not a flake of snow on the mountains. Must have been the drought but I was happy that the weather was so great.