Photo by Steve using his iPhone 6
Vasquez Rocks Park is a fantastic day trip for anyone and everyone in Southern California. Located only about an hour northeast of Los Angeles, an outing here is easy to get to, fun to roam around and it gives you ample opportunity to capture some amazing photographs!
To get there, you’ll need to head out the 14 Freeway as if you’re driving to Lancaster/Palmdale. Pass through Canyon Country, and you’re almost there. This park is deceiving because if you were driving northbound, you’d barely get a glimpse of it from your car. The southbound route doesn’t provide much more visual from the freeway but trust me, you’ve seen this iconic landscape in countless car commercials, old Western movies and more. The angular/tilted rock formations are instantly recognizable.
Because it’s so close to the city, this park is usually buzzing with people, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find solitude. Quite the opposite. The parking areas abut the large rocky outcroppings, but there are miles of pathways and trails that take you further into the park – all ripe for exploration.
The rocks are beautiful, big, and oh so amazing. You’ll want to start here and take the time to roam around. The sandstone surface grips your shoes so push yourself to climb high! Once you’re actually up on the rocks, they’re not as steep as they look, but they’re still awesome.
you’ve seen this iconic landscape in countless car commercials, old Western movies and more.
But don’t be satisfied with what’s just within your eyeshot. This park is pretty big – and the many trails that snake through the park, up and over the rocks, well, they’re all pretty amazing. It can get hot out here – you’re in the desert! So no matter the time of year, be sure to pack in water, and it’s a wise idea to bring a hat.
Depending on the season you visit, there may or may not be water in the park. We went in February, so there were still some pockets of water – either spring fed ponds or runoff from local mountains. A word to the wise – not all trails lead home! We ended up on a great path that led us down some beautiful canyons past large boulders and ponds, but we dead-ended out by the freeway. Oops!
After the rain, water fills the park
Photo by Steve ~ iPhone 6
Fantasy-like caves dot the park
Photo by Gabe ~ Fuji X-E2
Rather than taking the same trail back, we gambled, scurried up to the top of a hill and caught eyesight of the parking area not too far ahead. Probably saved us an hour of traversing back the main trail, and it put us back at the trailhead at the golden hour in time for us to capture the perfect selfie.
Whether it’s for a few hours or a whole day, a trip out to Vasquez Rocks is something that you’ll remember for a long time to come.
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