The Vasquez Rocks Natural Area is a 932 acre park located in northern Los Angeles County. The park is famous for it’s stunning rock formations that have been featured in countless movies, tv shows, and commercials (see all). The most famous is “Kirk’s Rock” which was showcased in several Star Trek episodes. There are many ways to enjoy a visit to Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, but in this guide, I’m going to detail a 2-mile loop hike that passes many of the park’s best sites.
Vasquez Rocks gets its name from Tiburcio Vasquez, a notorious California bandit that used these rocks to evade law enforcement in 1874.
Directions And GPS Tracks:
- Vasquez Rocks Natural Area is located north of Los Angeles, between the cities of Santa Clarita and Agua Dulce. Head From HWY 14, exit Agua Dulce Canyon Rd. Follow Agua Dulce Canyon Rd until it turns right and becomes Escondido Canyon Rd. You will see the park on your right hand side. 10700 Escondido Canyon Rd, Agua Dulce, CA 91350
- Download GPX
- See track on Strava
- Distance: 2.0 miles
- Elevation Gain: 328 ft
- Minimum Elevation: 2497 ft
- Maximum Elevation: 2563 ft
- Time: 1 hours
- Difficulty: (1/5)
- Dog Friendly: Yes
- Permit Required: No
- Parking: Free parking located in at the Vasquez Rocks Interpretive Center
- Park Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m March to November, and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m November to March.
- Interpretive Center Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 8:00am to 4:00 pm, closed Monday
- Weather: This is the desert and it can be extremely hot and dry. Be extremely vigilant for flash floods as well.
- Trail Condition: Wide, smooth, and sandy
- Cell Phone Reception: Pretty good
Make sure to hike with the right gear. See my current hiking gear list.
Hike Map And Elevation Profile:
Fun Facts about Vasquez Rocks:
- The iconic uplifted formations of Vasquez Rocks were created some 25 million years ago by rapid erosion activity along the San Andreas Fault.
- Before the Spanish arrived to California, Tatavian and Shoshone peoples inhabited the area.
- In 1972, Vasquez rocks was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
- The Pacific Crest Trail passes just to the east of Vasquez Rocks, and continues through the parking lot and near the visitor center.
0.0 Miles- This hike will begin at the Vasquez Rocks Vasquez Rocks Interpretive Center. There is a lot to see and do here, so make sure to spend some time before or after this hike.
As you can see in the photo below, you can pick up the trail just behind the visitor center, or follow along the dirt road leading from the parking lot. The dirt road leads directly to the Main Rocks area, but the trail in this guide will take you on the Nature Heritage Trail on your way to the main rocks.
The Nature Heritage Trail begins by passing through the group campground, before arriving at a few historically important sites.
0.2 Miles- My favorite site along the Nature Heritage Trail is the Tatavium Archeological Site, where you can see petroglyph pictographs and grinding bowls.
Continuing on the Nature Heritage Trail, you’ll see views of the Main Rocks area.
0.3 Miles- When you see the Main Rocks area, you’ll have a few options to explore the formations in view. For many visitors to the park, this is their final destination. For those wanting to complete a loop hike, catch and follow the dirt road on the northeast side of the Main Rocks.
0.6 Miles- The dirt road near the main rocks ends when you see a dirt parking lot. From this point on, you’ll be on unmarked trails that can be a challenge to follow. From the dirt lot, find the use trail that heads southwest.
As you can see using the map and GPS track provided above, this next stretch of trail crosses some of the most dramatic rock formations in the park. The best part about it is that there are very few people here.
The formations here at Vasquez Rocks just begs for hikers to leave the trail for more exploration. This short hike can easily last a half day if you’re one that likes to climb.
1.2 Miles- The trail starts to look a little more developed here, and you can follow it along the rock formations. You’ll have a short uphill climb that returns you into the main section of the park.
1.5 Miles- You’ve completed the lollipop loop hike and are now back to the Nature Heritage Trail just before the Main Rocks area. You can take a left and head back to the parking lot, or spend more time at the Main Rocks formation.