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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Argus Range Wilderness


Desert Mountains
Argus Range Wilderness

Location:  Inyo County; 5 miles east of Darwin, California and 25 miles northeast of Ridgecrest, California (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet) Argus Range location 

Area Description: 65,726 acres. This wilderness contains a 28 mile stretch of the Argus range, a long and narrow mountain chain along the west side of Panamint Valley.

Elevations range from 2,800 feet on the east side to more than 7,500 feet on the west side of the wilderness, which is adjacent to the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station. Steep mountain slopes and highly dissected canyons characterize the Argus Range. Several springs are located within this dry desert mountain range, providing water for a small population of desert bighorn sheep. Remains of historic mining activity and a few prehistoric sites are scattered throughout the area. Vegetation types include creosote scrub plant community on the lower slopes, scattered pinyon-juniper plant communities on the high slopes and relatively little vegetation on the steep mountain slopes and canyon walls.

Getting There: Access this wilderness via State Highways 190 or 178 to Panamint Valley Road through Panamint Valley. Numerous four wheel drive routes turn off Nadeau Trail providing access to canyons on the east side. On the south side, access is via Homewood Canyon off State Highway 178. 

Surrounding Areas:  Darwin Falls Wilderness is located to the northwest.  Death Valley National Park is located to the north and east. The west boundary is the China Lake Naval Weapons Station. The wilderness areas to the east are Surprise Canyon and Manly Peak.

Nonfederal Lands: Private lands may lie within the wilderness area. Please respect the owner and do not use these lands without permission.


Argus Range Wilderness

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Bureau of Land Management
Ridgecrest Field Office
300 S. Richmond Rd.
Ridgecrest, CA 93555
Phone: (760) 384-5400
Fax: (760) 384-5499
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., M-F
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