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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Blooms across the Golden Valley Wilderness Area

Golden Valley Wilderness

Legal Description
7.5 Topo Map 1, 2, 3, 4
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Size: 36,536 acres. Golden Valley

Location: San Bernardino County; 10 miles southeast of Ridgecrest, California (Note: Boundary setbacks from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)

Area Description : The Golden Valley, for which this wilderness is named, is surrounded on either side by two distinct mountain ranges. The Lava Mountains stretch across the northwestern portion of the area, crowned by Dome Mountain at nearly 5,000 feet. This range is cut by several steep walled canyons that reveal bands of multi-colored sedimentary rocks. The Almond Mountains, rising to an elevation of 4,500 feet, enclose the valley on the southeast. Golden Valley, which is known for its spectacular spring floral displays, lies between the two ranges. The ruggedness of these mountains have helped shelter the valley from human intrusion. The wilderness provides nesting and foraging habitat for raptors and habitat for the desert tortoise and Mojave ground squirrel. Vegetation consists primarily of a creosote bush scrub community with Joshua trees and numerous annuals.

Getting There : Access this wilderness via U.S. Highway 395 and along the Red Mountain-Trona Road 1 mile north of Red Mountain to Steam Well Road (RM1444) on the south or Savoy Road
on the north.

Nonfederal Lands: Private lands may lie within the wilderness area. Please respect the land 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:
    • Cuddeback Lake
  • USGS 7.5 Quadrangle Maps:
    • Cuddeback Lake
    • Klinker Mountain
    • Red Mountain
    • West of Black Hills

[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