Published on January 31st, 2018 | by Courtney Gilmore0
Hike Your Own Hike: Vasquez Rocks
10700 West Escondido Canyon Rd, Agua Dulce, CA 91350 8am-5pm
Trailhead: N 34° 29.266 W 118° 19.289
E parking lot: N 34° 29.087 W 118° 18.778
An entire day can be spent wandering the loop of trails, climbing over red rocks resembling something from Mars. A hotspot for rock climbing, hiking, camping, and 1850’s horse theft, geologically this area has a storied past. The rocks were pushed up over millions of years volcanic and oceanic activity along the San Andreas Fault, causing their strange shape and striations. Panoramic and 360 degree views of the Santa Clarita Valley’s enormous rock formations are visible from every direction.
There are many different trails here that intersect and lead through canyons, under ledges, and along ridges. Occasionally coming over a hill, riders on horseback climbing along the rocks on the horse trails pass by parallel to the hiking trails.
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a long distance trail extending the entire length of the West Coast. It runs through portions of Vasquez Rocks on it’s way up north to Canada. Signs mark this trail throughout the park, as well as the “Geology Trail” and the “Nature Trail,” all are easily accessible from the main parking lot. Different trees, bushes, and native California grasses are labeled with trail markers along the way.
Due to the intersections and rock formations, a 2.9 mile loop can become a 5 mile trek very easily. Make sure you have extra batteries for a GPS, your phone may lose service.
“Orit Haj,” an outdoor art installation created by artist team Didier Hess, can be interacted with at the entrance of the Interpretive Center, west of the main parking lot. The concrete and soil bench is designed to slowly erode over 150 years exposing artifacts and sculptures, allowing generations to have a distinct experience on each visit. Didier Hess LA County Arts
Vasquez Rocks is a Star Trek fan’s dream backdrop, as it is the exact site where Captain Kirk heroically grappled with the terrifying monster, Gorn in 1966’s Season 1 episode “Arena” of the original Star Trek television series. Only an hour outside of Los Angeles, filming on location here is much easier than building anything resembling these rocks on a sound stage. Bonanza, Blazing Saddles, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and The Flintstones are only a few of the productions filmed here.
There are 31 Geocaches in the area, four of which keep in the Star Trek theme. Most of these are active, I managed to find 10 of them in one day, but will have to return for the rest as it got dark very quickly.
Bring more water than you think you will need, a snack, sunscreen, and a hat is recommended. Summer can get over 100 degrees by 11am, during fall and winter it remains very warm. Once the sun goes down, it gets chilly fast. Head for the parking lot before it gets dark as the rocks could easily throw you off the beaten path. There is no entrance fee, with plenty of parking for all vehicle types, horse trailers included.
Written and Photos by: Courtney Gilmore @ogofcbd