Skip to Main Content

Trona Pinnacles.

Trona Pinnacles

Field review by the editors.

Trona, California

About 200 odd rock spires are grouped on a flat desert expanse, like a seasonal refuge for extraterrestrial snowbirds. It's the Trona Pinnacles, strange geologic formations convenient enough to LA to be the shooting location for over 30 commercials, TV shows and sci-fi film projects each year.

The pinnacles were formed from tufa that grew into the formations while underwater in a giant inland sea during the Pleistocene Ice Ages. There are three distinct groupings of pinnacles, with the northernmost cluster easiest to reach by car.

The alien nubbins of Trona have become all too familiar props as planetscapes: planet Shakari in cheesy Star Trek V, a crash site in Lost in Space, a more spectacular crash site in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes. Apparently there's nothing preventing adding your own otherworldly adventure to the list.

Official signs advise not to try visiting during or after heavy rains, and that some of the clusters are only accessible with rugged 4-wheel drive vehicles. The tufa is fragile, and visitors should exercise caution.

Trona Pinnacles

Pinnacle Rd, Trona, CA
From Ridgecrest, travel 20 miles east on State Highway 178 to its intersection with Trona-Red Mountain Road. Continue east on Highway 178 for 7.7 miles, and access the site by a dirt road leading off Highway 178 to the south -- drive several more miles south until you see the pinnacles.
Daylight, and when it's dry. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Fish RocksFish Rocks, Salt Wells Canyon, CA - 4 mi.
Living Ghost TownLiving Ghost Town, Randsburg, CA - 24 mi.
Ghost Town with Infamous TruckGhost Town with Infamous Truck, Ballarat, CA - 31 mi.
In the region:
Route 66 Motel, Barstow, CA - 53 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in California

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in California.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

California Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, Woodland Park, Colorado (Apr 15-21, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings