January 22, 2020

California Road Trip 2019 - Red Rock Canyon State Park (Part I)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Playa Del Rey to Cantil, CA
Red Rock Canyon State Park
Site #39
Route: I-405 to I-5 to Hwy. 14
Distance: 132 miles
Duration: 1 night
Cost: $23 (senior price)
Weather: HOT! 94 degrees
Cell Service: None

We had an easy drive through L.A. thanks to the slow traffic. We stopped for groceries at Trader Joe's on Sepulveda, got gas (and lunch) at Costco in Santa Clarita, and filled our propane tank in Mohave. It felt like the beginning of our big adventure!

We arrived at Red Rock Canyon State Park without reservations and didn't have any problem finding a site nestled up against the rocks.
Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converge with the El Paso Range. Each tributary canyon is unique, with dramatic shapes and vivid colors.
Historically, the area was once home to the Kawaiisu Indians, who left petroglyphs in the El Paso mountains and other evidence of their inhabitation. The spectacular gash situated at the western edge of the El Paso mountain range was on the Native American trade route for thousands of years. During the early 1870s, the colorful rock formations in the park served as landmarks for 20-mule team freight wagons that stopped for water. About 1850, it was used by the footsore survivors of the famous Death Valley trek including members of the Arcane and Bennett families along with some of the Illinois Jayhawkers. The park now protects significant paleontology sites and the remains of 1890s-era mining operations, and has been the site for a number of movies.
After wet winters, the park's floral displays are stunning. The beauty of the desert, combined with the geologic features make this park a camper's favorite destination. Wildlife you may encounter includes roadrunners, hawks, lizards, mice and squirrels.
There was nobody else in the park. Not even a ranger! The Visitor Center was closed, so I dropped our check in the payment box (this is a first-come, first-served park) and continued to ride my bike, checking out the other sites. The campground has 50 sites, all of which are primitive (no RV hookups or showers), but there are public restrooms and potable water. Our site had a picnic table and fire ring, but it was far too hot to enjoy a campfire. 

The rock formations look so pretty against the brilliant blue sky and the entire park was silent. We didn't see any animals and only a wren or two. Three other campers arrived in the late afternoon, but it remained very still and quiet. The stars were amazing and once again, I wished for a better camera to capture the night sky. 

Definitely not L.A.!

A Dr. Seuss band!

The sky was gorgeous!

With no neighbors close by, we had a very peaceful night.


  1. What gorgeous scenery!

    1. Thanks, Kathy. If it weren't so hot, we probably would have stayed a few more days and gone on a hike or two.

  2. A Dr. Seuss band, LOL!! We've never been to Red Rock Canyon SP, but it's on our list. However, I think we'll try for cooler weather. It looks hot, even from your photos!

    1. Laurel, you guys would love this park. It was too hot to venture out on any hikes so we just sat and enjoyed the peace and quiet.


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