The Trona Pinnacles is one of the most unusual geological features in the California Desert Conservation Area. The unusual landscape consists of more than 500 tufa spires, some as high as 140 feet, rising from the bed of the Searles Lake. The pinnacles vary in size and shape from short and squat to tall and thin, and are composed primarily of calcium carbonate (tufa) that formed underwater. They now sit isolated and slowly crumbling away near the south end of the valley, surrounded by many square miles of flat, dried mud and with stark mountain ranges at either side.
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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
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Exploring the El Paso Mountains

 

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Area Description:

The roads and trails of the El Paso Mountains will lead you into a region known for its dazzling multi-hued canyons, historic mining areas and primitive desert landscapes. This area is managed as a Limited Use Area by the Bureau of Land Management and is open to motorized vehicle use on existing routes and trails (unless posted closed). The El Pasos offer great opportunities for exploring with a sport utility vehicle, dual sport motorcycle, mountain bike, on horseback or on foot.

Access: To start with you will need a copy of the BLM Desert Access Guides for Cuddeback Lake and Ridgecrest. A high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle equipped with desert survival gear is essential.

From the southwest, use SR 14 to the Red Rock-Inyokern Road approximately 3 miles north of the Red Rock State Park. Follow this graded dirt road north to Hart Road, and continue into the heart of the El Pasos by traveling east. This is a great way to get to Last Chance Canyon and experience some of the signed depression era mining sites.

From the south try the Mesquite Canyon Road (EP 100). To reach this road, turn right from SR 14 onto the Red Rock-Randsburg Road/Garlock Road which is located approximately 10-11 miles east, turn left on to EP 100 or Mesquite Canyon Road.

From the north travel west from the intersection of US 395 and "Old 395" approximately 3.5 miles to EP 18, a paved road leading to a large sand and gravel pit. At approximately 1.5 miles, this road turns into a rough dirt road and is popular with mountain bikers, jeepers and equestrians.

This area also includes the El Paso Wilderness Area. Please obey the signs and do not travel by mechanized or motorized vehicles into the wilderness.

Services: Food and fuel are available in Ridgecrest. The nearest medical facilities are located in Ridgecrest at the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, Telephone 760-446-3551. BLM Rangers also frequently patrol the area to offer assistance and information.

Additional Information: The BLM encourages all recreationists and travelers exploring public lands, not only within southern California but throughout the west to use a propylene glycol based antifreeze/coolant in their touring and recreation vehicles. Proven safer, it will have minimal impacts on both the wildlife and the environment should a lead occur. Please help BLM protect our desert wildlife. . . and their fragile desert environment!

The El Paso Mountains is a popular upland gamebird area and during the established hunting seasons, the BLM is encouraging all hunters and recreational shooters to use lead free non-toxic shot and bullets. Proven safer, nontoxic shot significantly reduces the risks of accidental lead poisoning of wildlife and will have minimal impacts on the environment.

Camping is permitted, limited to 14 days. After 14 days, campers must relocate at least 25 miles from previous site. Also, the BLM encourages you to set-up camp or park your vehicles in previously disturbed sites.

The El Paso Mountains are home to the desert tortoise, collecting tortoises is prohibited. Please avoid handling or disturbing these desert creatures.

There are many historic and prehistoric features and artifacts in the area, which are protected by law. Do not collect or otherwise damage these relics of our heritage.