A Day at Red Rock Canyon State Park in California

“Red Rock” is such a common name for a geographical park that you gotta be careful planning your trip lest you end up in a state over. California has its own Red Rock Canyon State Park that’s about 120 miles north of Los Angeles. I don’t know if it’s worth the drive unless it’s on the way to somewhere else or you’ve already seen every other nearby state park, but it’s an interesting place nonetheless.

If you do go, you might be tempted to run straight to the red hills, but you’d be missing out on one of the most enjoyable aspects of the park: climbing the cliffs that tower over the Ricardo Campground. These jagged, non-red mountains have a lot of fun crevasses to explore.

Standing in front of the mountains at Ricardo Campground

If you ask the ranger at the visitor center what the highlight of the park is, though, he/she will point you to the Hagen Canyon Trail near the highway entrance. This is one of very few established trails in the park, but the same ranger will most likely tell you that you’re free to go off road as much as you’d like. While the Hagen Canyon Trail itself is only a mile-long loop, you’ll see a lot of cool mountains along the way that warrant a closer look and some impromptu boulder scrambling.

View from the Hagen Canyon Trail

The most picturesque part of the park, however, is on the other side of the highway. The Red Cliffs Natural Area has the tallest and most pronounced red cliffs. The best views are actually from the parking lot, but don’t be afraid to get closer to truly appreciate the giant slots in the mountain!

The mountains at the Red Cliffs Natural Area

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