Red Rock Canyon State Park

Update (Dec. 7, 2020): California has issued a Regional Stay at Home Order to stop the surge of COVID-19 cases and prevent a strain on the health care system. This action will help protect critical care for patients. While the order includes the closure of campground sites in impacted regions, the state also recognizes that mental health is physical health. As such, day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public will remain open. Members of the same household are encouraged to stay local and recreate responsibly in the outdoors. Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit. Here are some guidelines for people visiting Red Rock Canyon SP:

What is open now?
  • Red Rock Canyon SP day-use areas.
  • Hiking trails throughout.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?

At this park:
  • Ricardo Campground.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.
Statewide:
  • Many campgrounds across the state remain closed until further notice. Some campgrounds have started to reopen with modifications. For more information, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?

Yes, State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
  • Stay Local –Stay close to home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Do not travel if you or someone in your household is sick.
  • Plan Ahead – The COVID-19 pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. As such, information on this webpage may change. Prior to visiting us, please check this webpage again right before you visit the park to find out if new guidelines are in place.
  • Stay Safer at 6 feet – No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings, picnics or parties. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean – Be prepared. Not all restrooms are open to the public. in some cases, restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.  
  • Stay Covered – The state requires you wear a face covering when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Statewide, California State Parks continues to work with locals on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. The need for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors remains critical.

For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(661) 946-6092

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: 30 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: 30 Feet

Park Hours

The park is open from sunrise to sunset for day use. The campground is open 24 hours.

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Dogs allowed only in picnic area, campground, and primitive roads. Dogs not allowed on trails.

Driving Directions to Red Rock Canyon SP

The park is 25 miles northeast of Mojave on Highway 14.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
En route Campsites
Family Campsites
Primitive Camping
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Picnic Areas
Env. Learning/Visitor Center
Exhibits and Programs
Guided Tours
Interpretive Exhibits
Off-Highway Vehicles
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms
Drinking Water Available

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
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.

Day Use
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.

Equestrian Use
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.

Location/Directions
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 State Park
The colorful badlands, cliffs and canyons of Red Rock Canyon State Park provide more than pretty scenery and a backdrop for movies. Hidden behind the scenes in the layers of rock is what amounts to paleontologists as a treasure trove. For almost a century, paleontologists have been combing through these layers and making important discoveries about the history of mammalian life in these parts.

Red Rock Canyon State Park
(Photograph by Will Harris)

The full Geo Gems report  |  Geological Gems of State Parks

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