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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Coso Range Wilderness

Legal Description
7.5 Topo Map 1, 2, 3, 4



Size: 49,296 acres. Coso Range

Location: Inyo County; 12 miles west of Darwin, California and 6 miles northeast of Olancha, California (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)

Area Description : This wilderness encompasses the northern section of the Coso Mountain Range, an area of extensive erosion revealing outstanding volcanic displays and numerous valleys and washes. From high points within the wilderness, most notably Joshua Flat, one can obtain outstanding views of the Owens Valley and the eastern Sierra Nevadas. Creosote, low desert shrubs, annuals, cactus and large stands of Joshua trees are the primary vegetation in the area. Vermillion Canyon and Joshua Flat are two especially scenic areas within this wilderness. Cactus Flat and McCloud Flat are two areas of historic mining activity.

Getting There : Access to this wilderness on the north and east is via State Highway 190, east of Olancha, and then along four-wheel drive routes SE9, SE10, or Centennial Canyon. Access on the west side is via U.S. Highway 395 east of Olancha and along Cactus Flat Road and numerous other four-wheel drive routes.

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

Additional Information :

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 from 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.

Pet 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 archaelogical materials is a felony.  Selling, receiving, purchasing, transporting, exchanging or offering to do so is prohibited by law.

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

Help BLM preserve California's fragile deserts.  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.  Do not cut live vegetation.

The BLM encourages all desert recreationists and travelers exploring public lands, not only within southern California but through the west, to use propylene glycol based antifreeze/coolant in their touring and recreation vehicles.  Proven safer, it will have minimal impacts on the wildlife and the environment should a leak occur.


  • Desert Access Guide:
    • Darwin Hills 
  • USGS 7.5 Quadrangle Maps:
    • Centennial Canyon
    • Haiwee Reservoirs
    • Upper Centennial Flat
    • Vermillion Canyon

    [Back]Go to BLM Wilderness List


  • 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
    Contact us by Email