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  • Writer's pictureOpen Road 4Two

Out of This World

There are some destinations that make you truly question, are we still on earth?

Finally making it to our desired destination, using Gaia GPS, Open Road 4Two had an amazing adventure at Trona Pinnacles. We had never heard of Trona Pinnacles until we started Overlanding and venturing off-road. The area is an unusual geological feature in the California Desert National Conservation Area. This place is out of this world, it is as if you stepped onto another planet as the landscape is dotted with more than 500 tufa spires. According to Wikipedia, the strange shapes formed underwater 10,000 to 100,000 years ago. The pinnacles did not all form at the same time. They are divided by age and elevation into three groups. The groups are dubbed the northern, middle, and southern groups because they formed during three ice ages.

Our Tacoma with the Trona Pinnacles in the distance
On Another World

To reach the actual pinnacles you will drive approximately 5 miles on a combination of smooth dirt, washboard, and loose rocky roads. We had no trouble navigating the road in our Tacoma; however, there were plenty of compact cars, sedans, and mini vans exploring the area.

This place has such a surreal energy and we were just in awe of its beauty. It is a place that no photo or video will ever do it justice. It is the kind of location that has to be visited in-person in order to connect with and see its natural raw beauty.

We found a nice location to set up our day camp and Randy busted out our Blackstone Griddle to whip up some lunch before we ventured off to explore. Lunch was an easy mix of chopped up onions, mushrooms, and some iItalian seasoned chicken sausage with egg. It was nice not having a set itinerary so we could just relax and enjoy our lunch with an awesome view of the tufas.

After a nice meal, we made our way up to the top of the middle pinnacle cluster. It was as if we were seated in the center of a giant crown and the views below were just amazing. You could see the ranging sizes of tufas spread out over a 14 square mile area. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is the federal agency that manages the area, classifies the pinnacles into four general shapes; towers, tombstones, ridges, and cones.

Landscape of the Trona Pinnacles and Tufas
Trona Pinnacles

Since the area is managed by the BLM, there is plenty of dispersed camping to be found. It is strongly recommended to utilize an already established designated campsite, rather than creating a new one. Also, please be sure to practice the philosophy of "leave no trace" and pack out what you pack in. This will ensure that these beautiful places stay open for all to enjoy with the benefits of free camping.

With so many trails to explore, each path takes you to a new area with a completely different view. We were lucky to have a painted sky day with the clouds casting a dancing light on the tufas and painting the mountains in the distance with a purple shadow.

After leaving this magical place to head back on the road home, we noticed on the Gaia GPS a location called Fish Head Rocks, well you know us...we had to check it out. It turned out to be a fun roadside attraction, where an artist painted some faces on a rock formation to look like fish heads. If you get the chance, stop by and take a fun photo!

Check out our full day-trip at Trona Pinnacles on our YouTube channel linked below. Be sure to subscribe to our channel so you can follow all of our future adventures. In this video we sit down and share our why. Why we decided to start a YouTube channel to accompany our adventure blog and why we adopted this all things exploring lifestyle.

Until next time, we will see you On the Open Road!

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