Red Rock Canyon State Park, CA
It’s my opinion that all the western states have a Red Rock Canyon State Park. California is among those states. Although, the California park is much less known than the others, even to the people who live in the area. The park is 120 miles from Los Angeles and has been used as the background for many movies. The park is filled with multiple canyons, each unique to the other. One drawback is that majority of the roads in the park are hard dirt roads with many accessible by four wheel drive vehicles only. This is most likely the reason why it is less visited and less known. I didn’t let that stop me from visiting. Actually, the two most beautiful parts of the park are just off Highway 14 and don’t require paying the entrance fee to the park.
The park is known for its vivid cliffs and unique hoodoos that are accessible to everyone, no long hard hike required. I made my first stop at the park’s iconic red cliffs at the Red Rock Cliffs Campground. I parked directly in front of the beautiful cliffs but I wanted to do more than just view the cliffs. I took the Red Cliffs Nature Trail, it’s about a 2 mile hike. I didn’t complete the whole trail as I was drawn to a much smaller cliff where I was able to climb and stand atop the hoodoos.
I even walked to the opposite side of the cliffs where the rock formations were of different shapes. I had this canyon to myself as majority of the visitors stay at the campground and miss this amazing rock formation. Before I knew it, I had spent an hour in the red cliffs area so I got back in the car and drove a quarter mile to my next stop. I made a left on to Abbott Drive, the same road that takes you to the park’s visitors center.
Parking for Hagen Canyon is right at the intersection of Abbott Drive and Highway 14. This is the second location you can experience the unique rock formations and it is the most vivid of the two. It’s also a much larger area of hoodoos and amazing cliffs. The trail is about two miles, up and back, with most people stay in the parking lot area to get their selfie fix. I highly recommend doing the whole trail and to get up close and personal with the cliffs for the complete experience. I even followed a dried creek which had a totally different look to it than the rest of the area. I spent about two hours discovering and enjoying Hagen Canyon.
Mother Nature did a spectacular job in creating these rock formations and I wanted to make sure I took in as much as I could. It was now after 1 p.m. so I had lunch at the visitor’s center parking lot. I had a roast beef sandwich packed in my cooler and it really hit the spot. There are no restaurants in the area so pack your lunch when you visit. I also spent a little time in the visitor’s center learning about the history of the park.
Red Rock Canyon State Park is a testament to the beauty of California’s desert. It took three million years to create this arid masterpiece and I recommend a visit to this park. It takes approximately two hours if you are coming from the Los Angeles area. If you like camping or enjoy taking your four wheel drive vehicle off road for an adventure, then you’ll enjoy it even more. If you want to do some short hikes, or just take photos, then visit Hagen Canyon and Red Cliffs Nature Center as I did. Come out and enjoy one of Mother Nature’s masterpiece.
Watch the video for a more complete account of my visit.