Red Rock Canyon State Park
Guide

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Introduction

If you are looking for a park that offers visitors a great place to relax and enjoy nature at its greatest, Red Rock Canyon State Park is the right place to be. It's a wonderland of a natural environment. Red Rock Canyon State Park is a place that only a small number of state residents are aware of, and an even smaller number have visited. It is a small park and occasionally crowded, but it is definitely home to some of the most thrilling scenery in southern California.

The area was once home to the Kawalisu Indians, who left petroglyphs in the El Paso Mountains and other evidence of their occupancy. The pass located at the western edge of the El Paso mountain range was on the Native American trade route for thousands of years. The canyon was also a much-loved resting area for weary California Trail forerunners. Here the western bound pilgrims relaxed in the shade of the red canyon walls, fed their horses and livestock and made wagon repairs. Moreover, paleontologists have searched the layers of these walls and successfully found massive evidence of ancient mammalian life among the layers of these walls.

Red walls rise 60 to 80 feet over the canyon floor. Famous for its unique fall foliage and rare Caddo maple trees, the dazzling red wall will definitely astound its visitors any time of the year. Hollywood loves the scenic sight of the historical red walls, and you will too. The most common things to do at Red Rock Canyon are hiking, stargazing and picnicking, to mention a few. That is of course in addition to enjoying the beautiful scenery that is awaiting you at the Red Rock Canyon State Park.

RV Rentals in Red Rock Canyon State Park

Transportation in Red Rock Canyon State Park

Driving

The park is 25 miles northeast of Mojave on Highway 14, near Cantil. Go west 1/4 mile on Abbott Drive. Signage indicating the turnoff is clearly visible on Highway 14.

Red Rock Canyon is approximately 1.5 hours’ drive from Los Angeles. It is past the town of Mojave. That is if you are on the Eastern Sierras, Mammoth Mountain or Death Valley. The park is 25 miles northeast of Mojave on High way 14, near Cantil.

Go west ¼ mile on Abbott Drive. You'll see signs for the turnoff on Highway 14. More specifically, the park is 120 miles North of Los Angeles, through interstate 5 and Highway 14.

The park is intersected by a south-flowing tributary of Sugar Creek, which in turn streams south-southeast into the Washita River. The entrance road has a couple of sheer and curved sections where you may need to go unhurried and lookout for approaching traffic. The sites are well marked, properly level and are not right on top of each other. The site doesn’t have sewer but there are more than a few easily reachable dump stations.

Parking

Vehicles (including OHV) must be parked within the rock lined areas provided at each campsite.

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in Red Rock Canyon State Park

Campsites in Red Rock Canyon State Park

Reservations camping

First-come first-served

Ricardo Developed Campground

The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area contains a single developed campground which was opened in 1998 to take the place of the Old Oak Creek Campground which was known as the 13-Mile Campground.

Camping is available in the developed sites only in the Ricardo Campground. The campground is lodged against the base of dramatic desert cliffs. It has 50 primitive campsites with a fire pit and picnic table each.

The campgrounds get packed during spring and fall seasons and especially on the weekends. Since the sites are not available for reservation, sites are first come, first serve basis.

The campgrounds doesn't have any hookups, so you will have to be self sufficient and manage your own needs of water and electricity. The generator quiet hours are from 8:00pm to 10:00am.

There is also no sewer hookup or dump station in the park. However, you can visit nearby dump stations outside the park when in need.

The campsites have considerable amount of shades and spaces between each campsite, however, the campsites are not very private.

There are no showers in the campground and the toilets are pit toilets, though the campground has many water faucets for drinking.

Free WIFI is now available in the campground with "ParksWIFI"

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Red Rock Canyon State Park

In-Season

Swimming Pool

In the hot summer at the canyon, when hiking is a less appealing option, you will find yourself enjoying a cool-off at the local swimming pool. You can gather friends and family and play water volleyball, challenge each other to diving contests or simply swim in peace. Either way, you will have a blast by the pool!

Fishing

Despite how the canyon has a desert-like feel to it, you can still fish in the Red Rock Canyon state park! There is a small river that runs along certain trails in the canyon, but you can also fish at a small pond that is found in the campground area.

Although the pond can be a bit mossy, you can still catch a good variety of fish such as bass, bluegill and cat fish. You are expected to bring your fishing equipment along. Moreover, you need to be over 16 and have a valid Oklahoma fishing licence in order to be able to be able to fish in Red Rock Canyon state park.

Star Gazing

Because the closest town to the canyon is a small town, the canyon is away from the cities, skyscrapers, artificial lights and sky pollutants. The night sky at the canyon is the dream of every passionate star gazer. In fact, during meteor showers or expected solar events, you will find the campgrounds studded with telescopes to capture the magic in the sky, far far away.

Off-Season

Photography

The Red canyon, with its artistic blend of fiery colors is a major attraction for people around the world. Several Hollywood productions involved majestic shots of the canyon. There is no doubt that you will capture wonderful shots of the wall, the canyon, the scenic view and the unique habitat of the canyon. Grab your camera and let your creativity loose!

Rappelling

Looking for an adrenaline surge or a friendly challenge? Grab your gear and get rappelling up the canyon! It is free to climb the rock canyon park, though you have to have your own equipment, set it up by yourself and fill out some forms.

You can feel the adrenaline coursing in your vein and your pupils dilating at the scenic view from above. However, while you are having fun and breathing the high altitude fresh air, don't forget your safety should be your number one priority!

Bird Watching

If you would like to observe a unique variety of birds in their natural habitat, you can find tours and organized talks that guide you through the process of spotting out the various birds in the area, their unique sounds and their common nesting grounds.

Hiking

Perhaps the most remarkable attraction for the Red Rock Canyon state park is hiking along the scenic trails and the canyon. Most people make a spontaneous stop by the park after being attracted to the beauty of the canyon.But the scenic splendor far exceeds what is apparent in the pictures. It is a completely different sensation when you experience it yourself.

There are actually plenty of hiking trails, guided nature walks and variety of options for you to explore during your stay at the park.

It is best to hike during the mild temperatures of the fall and spring as the summer gets extremely hot, especially during the day and noon. Winter can be cold and unpredictable and requires durable clothing and extra caution. So the best time to enjoy your hike, the nature and perhaps view some tortoises in their natural habitat is to hike during the fall and spring.

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