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

Piper Mountain Wilderness

Top view of Piper Mountains and its vast sandy area.
Piper Mountains Wilderness (Photo by Bob Wick, BLM)

Location:  Inyo County; 15 miles east of Bishop, California (Note: Boundary set backs from roads or trails are 30 to 300 feet)Piper Mountain location

Area Description: 72,192 acres. Portions of the Inyo, Sylvania, and Piper Mountains, for which this wilderness takes its name, can be found within this area of the California Desert. Alluvial fans cover large portions of the eastern side of the wilderness, with plains and hills also part of the landscape. Desert bighorn sheep habitat can be found in three areas within this wilderness. Sagebrush and juniper-pinyon woodland are the common vegetation, with conifer trees on the higher elevations. At the base of the Inyo Mountains, can be found one of the northernmost stands of Joshua trees.

Getting There:  Access this wilderness via State Highway 168, approximately 20 miles north and east from Big Pine or via Big Pine-Death Valley Road, approximately 18 miles east and south of Big Pine. Check road conditions before driving.

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.

Piper Mountain 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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