Trona lies between the salt flats of Searles Lake and the Argus Mountains. The bright white surface of the dry lake is barren of vegetation, giving way to saltbush and creosote in the surrounding valley and on the mountain slopes. Athel trees grow all around the city of Trona, giving it a light green color even in winter. Gravel and sand make up the soil.
Established as a mining town in the late 1800s, Trona used to be a company town, with the company providing lodging and other services to employees. Minerals deposited in the lake bed have provided a rich chemical store and mining operations are are still going strong today. The several, large processing facilities can be seen along the road. Unfortunately, social and economic changes have not been kind to Trona and there has been an outflux of the residents, with many of them locating in Ridgecrest. Settling of the bed of the lake has caused problems with the foundations of many structures in the town.
Included in the limits of Trona are Pioneer Point and Argus, communities spaced a couple miles north and south of the main part of Trona. The Inyo County line is just beyond Pioneer Point.
California Highway 178 serves Trona, connecting it to Ridgecrest to the southwest. Death Valley National Park is a short distance to the northeast from Trona.