[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
97°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
August 3
1975 - Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital opens with 100 beds [story]
HMNMH


Commentary by Linda Castro
| Thursday, Jan 19, 2017
Photo credit: Bob Wick

More than two million people visit Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park each year. While there are many beautiful and interesting places to visit in each of those parks, there are many desert treasures that can be found outside of those national parks. One of those treasures, Trona Pinnacles, is located about 28 miles east of Ridgecrest in the Mojave Desert.

When you visit Trona Pinnacles, you cannot help but feel like you are on the moon or on another planet. Trona Pinnacles are some of the most unique geological features in California’s desert. The unusual landscape is made up of more than 500 spires, some as high as 140 feet, rising from the bed of the Searles Dry Lake basin. The pinnacles vary in size and shape from short and wide to tall and thin, and are composed primarily of calcium carbonate (tufa), like those found in Mono Lake. The pinnacles were formed underwater from 10,000 to 100,000 years ago when Searles

Lake was one of a chain of interconnected Pleistocene lakes stretching from Mono Lake to Death Valley.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is the federal agency that is tasked with managing this area, classifies the pinnacles into four general shapes – towers, tombstones, ridges, and cones:

Towers are taller than they are wide and rise 30 to 40 feet and have pointed, rounded, or flat summits;

Tombstones are stubby and squat and rise 20 to 30 feet;

Ridges are massive, toothy, and tufa runs.

Trona Pinnacles has three ridges, one of which is 80 feet long, 500 feet wide and 140 feet tall;

and Cones are less than 10 feet tall and are dumpy and mounded cone shapes that lay scattered throughout the Trona Pinnacles.

In 2016, the BLM designated Trona Pinnacles as part of the California Desert National Conservation Lands due to the area’s nationally significant scientific and ecological values; this means that the area will be managed to protect those values and will be permanently protected from development. Prior to that, the BLM designated the area a National Natural Landmark in 1968 and an Area of Critical Environmental Concern in 2013, due to the area’s geologic importance, but neither of those prior designations provided the area with permanent protection from development.

Trona Pinnacles have been featured in many commercials, films, and television shows such as Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Lost in Space, and Planet of the Apes.

A short hiking trail (1/2 mile) leads from the parking area into the middle of the pinnacles, which gives visitors a close-up view of the pinnacles and the surrounding desert. Although the hiking trail is short, it is easy to spend hours looking at and exploring the pinnacles. The best times of day to visit are at sunrise and sunset, when the pinnacles can look like they are glowing. It is well worth the trip.

Trona Pinnacles is about a two-and-a half-hour drive from the Santa Clarita area. You can get there by traveling on Highway 14 north and taking the exit for Highway 178 to Inyokern and Ridgecrest. Continue traveling about 28 miles east on Highway 178 (passing the intersection with Trona-Red Mountain Road) and turn south (right) onto BLM Route RM143. You will see a BLM sign for Trona Pinnacles where you turn off of Highway 178. Travel the dirt/gravel road for about 5 miles to the site.

You can visit Trona Pinnacles for free. It is open year-round, but due to the extreme heat in the late spring and summer months (110+ degrees), the best times to visit are in the fall, winter, and early spring. Visitors should wear hiking boots or good walking shoes. The dirt/gravel road is generally accessible to passenger vehicles (if you are willing to drive on washboard conditions for 5 miles), but after a rain, the road may be impassable, even to four-wheel drive vehicles.

Photo credit: Linda Castro

Photo credit: Bob Wick

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Melissa says:

    Thank you for your always informative articles. I have never heard of many of the places you write about and will not ever be able to see them ‘up close and personal,’ so I appreciate reading about them and looking at the pictures.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, Aug 3, 2020
In his August message, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth urges residents to prepare for and help prevent dangerous brushfires.
Friday, Jul 17, 2020
We must change our paradigm and the way we think. It’s not enough for us to avoid being racists. We must become warriors against racism and combat it wherever it rears its ugly head.
Saturday, Jul 11, 2020
Gray hair allows a triage doctor to withhold medical care at their discretion, should they feel your life expectancy might not be longer than 5 years. It’s called Crisis Standards of Care, and the physician is absolved of liability. Look it up.
Thursday, Jul 2, 2020
It seems like many things in our lives have been flipped upside down in the past few months. However, work continues, as planned, on the two major projects within our Santa Clarita 2020 Strategic Plan. Throughout the Safer at Home order, construction projects continued to progress.
Wednesday, Jul 1, 2020
July is filled with warm, sunny days and one of the city of Santa Clarita’s favorite holidays - the Fourth of July.
Tuesday, Jun 30, 2020
Attempting to care for mental health problems, homelessness, and other social ills should not be placed in the realm of law enforcement.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Los Angeles County firefighters are battling a brushfire, dubbed the Elsmere Fire, that broke out near Newhall Avenue and Highway 14 in Newhall early Monday afternoon.
‘Elsmere Fire’ Breaks Out Near Newhall Avenue and Highway 14
The 2020 Santa Clarita Marathon, presented by Parkway Motorcars, has been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related public health concerns for runners, spectators, volunteers, staff and event partners.
Santa Clarita Marathon Canceled for 2020 Due to COVID-19
Single-use plastics do not break down and contribute to a large portion of the waste found in landfills and in our rivers and oceans.
How to Reduce Waste from Single-Use Plastics
In his August message, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth urges residents to prepare for and help prevent dangerous brushfires.
Mayor Smyth’s August Message: Help Prevent Dangerous Brushfires
Recently, Santa Clarita business partners came across something new and useful in the fight against COVID-19: a nano copper film, which provides an extra layer of protection from bacteria and viruses on high-touched surfaces.
Nano Copper Film: A New Weapon in Battle Against COVID-19
A fast-moving brush fire dubbed the Post Fire scorched more than 100 acres in Gorman Sunday night, while parts of northbound Interstate 5 and Highway 138 remained closed Monday morning.
Post Fire Held at 120 Acres, Continues to Slow Traffic on Interstate 5
California’s plan to address a backlog of about 1 million unemployment benefit claims could take two months to clear.
SCV Lawmakers Respond to Newsom’s Plan to Clear Backlog of Unemployment Claims
A fast-moving, 170-acre brush fire near Castaic Lake dubbed the Castaic Fire reached 50% containment by Sunday morning, according to Angeles National Forest officials.
Castaic Fire Burns Nearly 180 Acres, 50% Contained
1975 - Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital opens with 100 beds [story]
HMNMH
1935 - Newhall deputy Archie Carter sentenced to 1 year in jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor after his wife fatally shot his 20-year-old mistress (the age of majority was 21). [story]
Archie Carter
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Saturday 50 new deaths and 2,303 new cases of COVID-19, as Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported two additional COVID-related deaths to date, bringing SCV’s total to 48.
Saturday COVID-19 Roundup: 2 Additional Deaths at Henry Mayo; California Surpasses 500,000 Cases
Fast-Moving Castaic Fire Erupts to 160 Acres
Fast-Moving Castaic Fire Erupts to 160 Acres
The first shutdown in March was tough for longtime hairdresser Mona Huckaby but the second and current one is worse, she said Saturday.
SCV Salon Workers Hold Reopening Rally
1963 - Leona Cox Community School breaks ground in Canyon Country [story]
Leona Cox
California State University, Northridge administrators informed educators, students and staff Friday that they may have all been affected by a massive security breach suffered this spring by Blackbaud, CSUN's third-party technology provider.
CSUN, Others Possibly Affected by Massive Hack of Tech Provider Blackbaud
Throughout the pandemic, healthcare workers, such as doctors and nurses, on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight have been dubbed heroes.
Henry Mayo’s Darby Kyhl: Frontline Hero of a Different Kind
L.A. County Public Health officials on Friday confirmed 69 new deaths and 2,652 new cases of COVID-19, with 4,380 cases confirmed to date in the Santa Clarita Valley, including 2,152 in the city of Santa Clarita, as California marked the first death of a teen COVID patient.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Total 4,380; California Marks First Teen COVID Death
The Santa Clarita Public Library invites city residents of all ages to join the “Imagine Your Story” Photo Contest, with entries due by Monday, August 24.
Santa Clarita Public Library Hosts ‘Imagine Your Story’ Photo Contest
Santa Clarita city mascot Sammy Clarita is excited to participate in the city’s Recycle Hero campaign to break down recycling misconceptions and encourage residents to help the city win the fight to recycle right.
Sammy Clarita is Santa Clarita’s Newest Recycle Hero
A new charter school, Eagle Collegiate Academy, is coming to Acton after the state Board of Education approved the school's petition earlier this month against the recommendation of local, county and state education officials.
Eagle Collegiate Academy Approved as New SCV Charter School
Detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau have started an investigation after the body of a man was found at William S. Hart Park Friday morning.
Man’s Body Found in Restroom at Hart Park; Detectives Investigating
The California High-Speed Rail Authority on Friday extended the public review period for the Burbank to Los Angeles Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement an additional 31 days to Aug. 31, 2020, bringing the total comment period to 94 days.
High-Speed Rail Extends EIR Review Period for Burbank-L.A. Section to Aug. 31
Those working with the Santa Clarita Valley’s homeless population fear the county’s annual count of people in need of housing is once again lower than the actual figure, despite having 30% more people helping in the count.
LAHSA Continues to Struggle with L.A. County Homeless Population Count
A 39-year-old Encino woman was arrested Thursday in Newhall on suspicion of stealing a Budget rental moving truck — the kind of crime that local law enforcement officials say is on the rise amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Woman Arrested on Suspicion of Grand Theft of Budget Rental Truck
%d bloggers like this: