Over the weekend, I headed to Red Rock Canyon State Park in Kern County. Located in the Tehachapi District of the California State Park System, it’s only about 45 minutes away from me, which at this point is close. It’s also about 80 miles East of Bakersfield and 25 miles north of Mojave. Getting there is fairly easy, and you can park right off the highway.
It’s actually the oldest state park in California and features cliffs, buttes, and rock formations. Since it’s only about 100 miles from LA, it’s been used to film several movies, including Jurassic Park.
There are several types of wildlife, including roadrunners, hawks, lizards, mice, and squirrels. I didn’t see too much when I was there, which was fine by me. Red Rock Canyon State Park provides a gorgeous view and backdrop of the desert.
What can you do at the Red Rock Canyon State Park?
- horseback riding
- running and hiking
Red Rock Canyon State Park History:
The area was home to the Kawaiisu people. You can even find petroglyphs and pictographs in the El Paso Mountains. They represent ritual sites from the ancestors of the Coso people. They created carvings in rock within the El Paso and neighboring mountains of Red Rock Canyon.
The rock formations also served as landmarks during the 1870s for the 20-mule team freight wagons. They would stop for water. Red Rock Canyon State Park actually protects significant paleontology sites and the remains of 1890s-era mining operations.
Due to the proximity to LA, Red Rock Canyon State Park has been used for several motion pictures, television series, advertisements, and music videos.
A few movies include: The Outlaw, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, The Mummy, Jurassic Park; I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Westworld, Lost in Space, and my dad’s personal favorite: The Twilight Zone. It was even used in Cater 2 U by Destiny’s Child.
My Experience at Red Rock Canyon State Park:
I was itching to get out of the house, so we decided to head up that way. I wanted something easy enough to walk around but scenic. Since my back is still bothering me, I didn’t want to do anything too strenuous. We settled on the short walk to the Jurassic Park Filming location. I appreciated there was a large dirt parking lot, and they even had a restroom at the trailhead. When we arrived there were only two other cars there, I was fairly surprised because I thought it would be extremely busy. I don’t really know why; it’s in the middle of nowhere.
The trail at Red Rock Canyon State Park is well parked. There are rocks along the trail to guide you. Plus, like most areas in the desert, you can see for miles, so it’s hard to get lost. Keep in mind it’s fairly sandy with some slight elevation. We walked roughly 2 miles and had about 200 feet of elevation. Along the way, we saw many different Joshua trees, a few lizards, but not much else. Even on a Sunday afternoon, Red Rock Canyon State Park wasn’t crowded at all.
I was surprised that once we got to the Jurassic Park Filming location that nothing was marked. We were just kind of there. We hung out for about 20 minutes and headed back. Even with hanging out, the entire hike took about 1 hour, and we weren’t going that fast.
In all, it is a gorgeous spot, and I’m looking forward to exploring more and checking out more sights. According to Alltrails, there are several different trails, so I’m looking forward to running and hiking more when I’m healthy. It looks like it goes back quite a ways. If you are looking to really get out in the middle of nowhere in the desert, it’s a fun park to check out. I’m sure it’s gorgeous for camping because you are truly in the middle of nature.
You can see more hikes and trail runs here.
Questions for you:
Have you been to Red Rock Canyon State Park?
Have you ever been somewhere where a movie was filmed?