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.
Wild Burros ridgecrest 85 A field of California Poppies and other widflowers Desert Tortoise Wild Horses
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Ridgecrest Field office

Indian Wells Canyon

AREA DESCRIPTION: The area is bounded by the Owens Peak Wilderness, and located at the southern portion of the wilderness. Vegetation at lower levels is creosote desert community. Joshua trees, pinyon-juniper woodland with sagebrush and digger/grey pine at the upper elevations. This canyon provides access to the Pacific Crest Trail, and also to Owens Peak. The area offers a variety of wildflowers in the spring. A 4-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance is recommended as there are a couple of streams to cross. The streams provide a nice area to take a break. The visitor to this area can travel to the end of the canyon to a parking area to hike to Owens Peak or Pacific Crest Trail.

WHAT TO DO: Hiking, camping, photography, backpacking, observation of wildlife can be enjoyed by the visitor.

GETTING THERE: The Indian Wells Canyon is located in Kern County about 15.0 miles northwest of Ridgecrest, California. Access from the west is via SR 178 to SR 14 then north, turn left to SE152. From the north, US 395 to SR 14, turn right to SE152. Proceed to SE164 and stay south of the wash. The visitors need to remain on designated routes.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: This area along with being bounded by the Owens Peak Wilderness, is located near Sacatar Trail Wilderness to the north, Chimney Peak Wilderness to the northwest, Domeland Wilderness to the west, and Kiavah Wilderness to the west southwest.

The BLM encourages all desert 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 leas occur.

The signs indicating "Wilderness" and "Closed Road" or "Closed Route" are placed at various intervals. Vehicles can be parked outside the wilderness boundary; however, the boundary is set back 30 feet on unmaintained dirt roads and 300 feet on paved roads.

Mechanized or motorized vehicles are NOT PERMITTED in a wilderness.

Hunting, fishing, and non-commercial trapping are allowed under state and local laws. However, during the established hunting seasons, the BLM encourages allhunters and recreational shooters to use lead free non-toxic shot and bullets. Proven safer, non-toxic shot significantly reduces the risks of accidental lead poisoning of wildlife and will have minimal impacts on the environment.

Pets are allowed, but please keep your pets under control at all times.

Horses are permitted, however, you may be required to carry feed.

Removal, disturbance, or attempting to remove archaeological materials is a felony. Selling, receiving, purchasing, transporting, exchanging, or offering to do so is prohibited by law.

Private lands may lie within the wilderness area. Pleas respect the owner and do not use these lands without permission.

CAMPING: Camping is permitted, limited to 14 days. After 14 days, campers must relocate at least 25 miles from previous site.

In addition, please park your vehicle or set up camp in previously disturbed sites.

Gathering wood for campfires, when permitted, is limited to dead and down materials. Live vegetation can not be cut.

Practice Leave No Trace principles:

Plan Ahead and Prepare Camp and Travel on Durable Surfaces Pack It In Pack It Out Properly Dispose of What You Can't Pack Out Leave What You Find Minimize Use and Impact of Fires

MAP INFORMATION: Ridgecrest Desert Access Guide