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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Rademacher Hills Trail

AREA DESCRIPTION: The Rademacher Hills Trail is a 8.5-mile trail which extends through desert terrain on the south side of Ridgecrest. This trail is open to hiking, jogging, horseback riding and mountain biking. Most of the trail is closed to vehicles to avoid conflicts with non-vehicular users and nearby residents. This area is within the Ridgecrest city limits, and is closed to all shooting by city ordinance.

The Rademacher Hills Trail is located on BLM managed public land to the north of Cerro Coso College. The trail extends from Gateway Road on the east, to South Downs Avenue on the west and Javis Avenue on the north. As shown on the Rademacher Hills Trail map, there are 11 trailheads at various points along the trail. These trailheads have parking areas where users can access the trail system and kiosks with trail information.

The Rademacher Hills Trail system is comprised of trail segments which pass through a variety of desert terrain. These segments provide differing degrees of trail difficulty -- ranging from open, flat desert to steep, rocky ridges. The trail system is designed to offer the opportunity for both loop trips or point-to-point trips. The Ron Henry Interpretive Site has been established at a trail intersection site on the ridgeline between the Gateway and Sunland Trailheads. Work is being done at the interpretive site to install small interpretive signs with information about the area's natural resource features, cultural history and geographic points of interest.

SOUTH RIDGECREST VIEWSHED: The large basin on the south side of Ridgecrest is formed along the uplifted northern flank of the Rademacher Hills. This creates a "viewshed" expanse of desert which is highly visible from Ridgecrest. This South Ridgecrest Viewshed is an area where the BLM, recreational users, and interest groups are actively working to protect and enhance the scenic, ecological and recreational values. There are dirt roads and off-highway routes in this area which are open for vehicles and off-highway vehicles. Some redundant roads and steep hill climbing routes have been closed in this area to enhance scenic values, reduce surface erosion and protect ecological values. Work continues on restoring five steep hillsides which were damaged by past use. These damaged hillsides were creating a visual distraction, and surface erosion which is now being restored to a natural condition. There are several routes between Javis Road on the east side to South Downs Avenue on the west side, which continue to provide vehicular access through the Rademacher Hills Viewshed to the Spangler Hills Off-Highway Vehicle Area located south of the crest. There are also a variety of motorcycle and 4-wheel drive routes open for recreational riding inside the Rademacher Hills Viewshed.

A BLM VOLUNTEER PROGRAM -- COOPERATIVE PROJECT:The Rademacher Hills Trail and South Ridgecrest Viewshed project began as a community Earth Day volunteer project in 1991. Since then, BLM personnel along with the Boy Scouts, Gear Grinders, HDMUC, PACT, Sierra Club, Mesquite High School and community volunteers have continued to complete a variety projects in this area each year. These volunteer projects have been done to protect and enhance the ecological, recreational and scenic values in the South Ridgecrest Viewshed. The volunteer work has included establishing and maintaining the 8.5-mile Rademacher Hills Trail, establishing 11 trailheads with kiosks, restoring five damaged hillsides, fencing four mine shafts, reopening the Belle Vista Road east from College Heights Blvd., removing graffiti, closing 3.5 miles of redundant trails and roads, cleaning up two old dump sites, placing waterbars to prevent trail erosion and cleaning up litter throughout the area.

DIRECTIONS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The centrally located Sunland Trailhead is the primary trailhead for accessing the Rademacher Hills Trail system. The Sunland Trailhead is reached by driving south on China Lake Blvd. for 3.5 miles, turn left on College Heights Blvd., and then east from College Heights Blvd. for .5 miles on Belle Vista Road. The turn east off College Heights Blvd. is marked by a BLM Sunland Trailhead directional side. The other 10 trailheads shown on the map can also be used to access the trail system at other points along its 8.5-mile route.