The park is open from sunrise to sunset for day use. The campground is open 24 hours.
Red Rock Canyon State Park
Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converge with the El Paso Range. Each tributary canyon is unique, with dramatic shapes and vivid colors.
Historically, the area was once home to the Kawaiisu Indians, who left petroglyphs in the El Paso mountains and other evidence of their inhabitation. The spectacular gash situated at the western edge of the El Paso mountain range was on the Native American trade route for thousands of years. During the early 1870s, the colorful rock formations in the park served as landmarks for 20-mule team freight wagons that stopped for water. About 1850, it was used by the footsore survivors of the famous Death Valley trek including members of the Arcane and Bennett families along with some of the Illinois Jayhawkers. The park now protects significant paleontology sites and the remains of 1890s-era mining operations, and has been the site for a number of movies.
After wet winters, the park's floral displays are stunning. The beauty of the desert, combined with the geologic features make this park a camper's favorite destination. Wildlife you may encounter includes roadrunners, hawks, lizards, mice and squirrels.
Camping in developed sites only in Ricardo Campground. The campground is tucked up against the base of dramatic desert cliffs, with 50 primitive campsites, potable water, pit toilets, fire rings, and tables. Bring your own firewood, or purchase it at the visitor center. There are no RV hook-ups or showers. A maximum of 8 people is allowed per site (there are no group sites).
Camping is first-come, first served; there is no reservation system. The campground can fill up on weekends in the spring and fall, especially if the weather is nice or on holiday weekends, so arriving on a Thursday evening or Friday morning is recommended.
Camping is $25 per night per site, which includes parking for one vehicle per site, or $23 per night with seniors (62 years old or older). Additional vehicles are $6 each. There is a 30 foot maximum on RVs. Self-registration/payment is required before setting up camp or parking. Vehicles (including OHV) must be parked within the rock lined areas provided at each campsite. No horses or livestock allowed in the campground. Quiet hours are 10 pm to 6 am; generators must be off from 8 pm to 10 am.
Overnight parking in the day-use lot is not permitted.
Miles of trails meander through the dramatic landscape of the park, and hiking is an intimate way to experience the desert. Use desert safety precautions- bring twice as much water as you think you need, and layered clothing for sudden fluctuations in temperature.
Shaded picnic tables are available first-come, first served in the day-use area adjacent to the Visitor Center. The day-use parking lot and picnic area, open sunrise to sunset, is $6 per vehicle per day.
Horses are allowed on all roads in the park, with the exception of seasonally closed areas (see side bar). Horses are not allowed in the campgrounds, however equestrian day use out from the Red Cliffs parking area is still allowed, but no overnight camping.
Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation
All licensed vehicles (street legal and OHV with green stickers) may travel on the primitive (dirt) road system within the park. All drivers of vehicles (street legal and OHVs) within the park must be licensed. Please watch for Closed Route signs and check maps for open routes (please do not create new routes). Drinking and driving laws apply both on the paved and primitive dirt roads.
Please note Nightmare Gulch Temporary Closure.
The park is 25 miles northeast of Mojave on Highway 14, near Cantil. Go west 1/4 mile on Abbott Drive. Signage indicating the turnoff is clearly visible on Highway 14.
The park is 120 miles north of Los Angeles, via Interstate 5 and Highway 14.
Red Rock Canyon General Plan Revision
The Preliminary General Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report for Red Rock Canyon State Park is available for public review and comment.
PUBLIC REVIEW PERIOD: OCTOBER 17, 2022, TO DECEMBER 16, 2022
The Red Rock Canyon State Park Preliminary General Plan and Draft EIR are being circulated for public review and comment. The review period has been extended to December 16, 2022.
California State Parks, Strategic Planning and Recreation Services Division*
715 P Street, 14th Floor Lobby
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001
M-F 8:00 PM to 5:00 PM
* Please check in with the security desk first and ask them to call 916-902-8595 to have a person escort you to the 14th Floor Lobby.
Red Rock Canyon State Park Visitor Center
37749 Abbott Dr, Cantil, CA 93519
Saturdays and Sundays,
Great Basin District Office
15101 Lancaster Road
Lancaster CA 93536
M-F 8:00 PM to 5:00 PM
STATE PARK AND RECREATION COMMISSION HEARING
This project will be considered before the State Park and Recreation Commission in a public hearing to be held at a local venue after the public comments are received, State Parks’ responses are developed, and a Final EIR is prepared. Notice of the hearing will be mailed to all agencies, organizations, and individuals that have expressed interest.
HOW TO SUBMIT COMMENTS:
Written comments germane to the environmental review will be considered and responded to in the Final EIR. Written comments should be submitted with a contact name and mailing address for the public record. Your views and comments on this project are welcomed. Written comments should be submitted no later than December 16, 2022, to:
California State Parks
Strategic Planning and Recreation Services Division
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001
ATTN: Katie Metraux
Or email: Planning@parks.ca.gov (subject line RRCSP GP/DEIR Comments)
The Preliminary General Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Report can be downloaded at www.RedRockCanyonGP.com.
Why a General Plan is Important
A General Plan is a broad-based policy document that establishes a long-range vision, goals, and guidelines for park management. A General Plan also provides direction on future recreation opportunities, resource management, visitor facilities, park improvements, services, and programs. An Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will prepared as part of this planning process as required by the California Environmental Quality Act. The EIR will evaluate potential environmental effects associated with implementation of the General Plan proposals.
In January 1982, a General Plan was approved for Red Rock Canyon State Park. The unit consisted of 3,015 acres, with the Department negotiating for an additional 6,400 acres of adjacent land from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The general plan proposed a number of improvements for the park, as well as policies to protect the scenic resources. Through subsequent land acquisitions and agreements, the Park has grown to about 27,000 acres.
In 1994, the California Desert Protection Act (CDPA) was signed into law. The law provides for certain lands within the California Desert Conservation Area to be transferred to the State of California and incorporated with the existing Red Rock Canyon State Park. The intent of this action as defined by the CDPA, is to provide maximum protection of the region’s outstanding scenic and scientific values.
Following the CDPA, the BLM began the process of transferring 20,500 acres (Last Chance Canyon Addition) to California State Parks. The result of which effectively tripled the size of the Park. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was developed between the two agencies so that land not yet conveyed, or not able to be immediately conveyed due to encumbrance of unpatented mining claims, might be properly managed. The MOU gives the Department management responsibility for all 20,500 acres, regardless of the status of conveyance, with the exception of the mining claims.
The purpose of this planning effort is to revise/update the current general plan to include the new properties added since 1982, and establish clear goals and guidelines for future management, development, access, and use of Park properties in their relationship with adjacent public lands and appropriate uses.