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Communities - Searles Valley

Trona, California

Trona, California, is a small, unincorporated community in San Bernardino County, California. It is situated in the Searles Valley, a desert region in the southwestern part of the state. Trona is known for its rich deposits of a mineral that produces soda ash.

The history of Trona dates back to the late 19th century when mineral deposits were discovered in the area. The mining of trona soon began and attracted settlers to the region. Over the years, the town grew as mining operations expanded.

Trona is characterized by its unique landscape, featuring vast salt flats and dry lake beds. The Slate Range surrounds the town to the east and the Argus Range to the west. It offers stunning views of the desert and the nearby mountains.

Despite its remote location, Trona is home to a close-knit community that values its natural surroundings and simple way of life. The town has essential amenities, including a school, a library, and a few local businesses that cater to the needs of the residents.

Trona is also known for its outdoor recreational opportunities. The nearby Searles Lake is a popular destination for off-roading, birdwatching, and photography. The lake is known for its unique ecosystem, supporting diverse wildlife and bird species.

Trona has faced some challenges in recent years, including economic downturns and natural disasters. However, the resilient community has come together to rebuild and support each other in need.

In conclusion, Trona, California, is a small desert town with a rich mining history and a unique natural landscape. Despite its challenges, it remains a place of natural beauty and a close-knit community. Whether you are interested in the history of mining or enjoy outdoor activities in a scenic environment, Trona has something to offer.

The town is located in the Searles Valley between the Argus and Slate Ranges. Population is not quite 2,000.

The same forces which created the Searles Valley where Trona sits, also created Searles Lake (dry), a natural resource containing rich deposits of chemicals, including 98 of the 104 known naturally-occurring chemical elements.


Starting in the late 1870s John Searles set up around Searles Dry Lake to mine borax.

Trona was officially established in 1913, as a self-contained company town, wholly-operated by its resident mining company to house employees. Employees were paid in company scrip, instead of real money. The mining company also built a library, a scrip-accepting for-profit grocery store, a school, basic housing, and minimal recreation facilities.

Economic booms and busts followed. Its most notable boom occurred during WW I, when Trona was the only reliable American source of potash, an important element used in the production of gunpowder.

Searles Lake Non-Metallic Minerals

This mineral treasure chest was not recognized as such by the emigrants who camped on its shore and tasted of its brackish waters while escaping from Death Valley ...

Argus-Slate Ranges

John and Dennis Searles came from New York in the 1849 California gold rush and settled near Oroville. In the spring of 1860, ...

Trona Weather

Trona Pinnacles

Searles Lake

John Searles



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