We departed Laughlin, Nevada and headed to Trona, California. We drove the Joshua Tree Highway 164 to I-15. The Joshua Tree highway has a forest of Joshua Trees along the road with more trees than Joshua Tree National Park. Just beautiful! As we got closer to I-15 the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility became visible shining its very powerful light across the desert floor. No wonder so many birds die around there.
Trona Pinnacles is a National Natural Landmark and managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It is located east of Ridgecrest, California nestled between two locations of China Lake Naval Air Weapons Stations. The pinnacles are a geological formation on a dry lake bed consisting of tufa spires (porous rocks) rising out of the ground some up to 140 feet tall.
The dirt road into the BLM area is about 5 miles long, a bit rough in places, and can potentially flood during the rainy season so make sure you check the weather, which we did constantly before arriving. The drive each way took us about 30-45 minutes as we went slow due to the bumps but it is fairly level, wide, and washboards here and there.
Campground: Trona Pinnacles BLM
Location: Trona, California (10 miles south)
Services: dry camping
Comments: A lovely place to park for a night or two and enjoy the views and take some hikes. Check the weather first to ensure there is no rain in the forecast as the road into/out of the area can flood and become impassable.
And, yes, we constantly checked the weather ahead of our planned visit and there was no rain or showers forecasted for over a week. WE ARE GOOD TO GO!! Then, what happens? After one night, the next morning, the rain clouds appeared and we quickly packed up and moved out!