California’s Red Rock Canyon State Park sits in Kern County, about 80 miles from Bakersfield, 25 miles from Mojave, and maybe 150 miles from Los Angeles. For me, these details indicate the park is a local attraction. But one I rarely visit. The last time was about 20 years ago. I am so glad I corrected that mistake this spring.
But Red Rock Canyon is impressive. It was established as a state park in 1968 and covers nearly 27,000 square acres. It is a lovely little place with first-come-first-serve camping sites and a range of hiking trails. The 300-foot cliffs are marked with rust staining caused by the iron oxide in the sandstone. The cliffs and buttes at the entrance off Highway 14 are breath-taking! That little mushroom-shaped outcrop is about 25 feet tall.
The vistas once inside Red Rock Canyon are also impressive.
Desert Dandelions carpeted the floor of Red Rock Canyon.
There were several other wildflowers bursting forth as well.
Joshua Trees were abundant, dotting the landscape in all directions. Some were starting to bud.
I returned the next week to see if the Joshua Tree buds were in bloom or other flowers had made an appearance. Very little luck. The flowers we had seen were waning, and no impressive Joshua Tree blooms were evident.
The Indigo Bush was more apparent, and some little white and purple flowers were starting to bloom. Dozens of Painted Ladies were flying around—although they were very camera shy.
Leaving the park after the first visit, we headed north. In about 25 miles, Highway 14 becomes U. S. Scenic Route 395—and we were moving on to see what we could see. En route, these Globe Mallow caught our eye and the Desert Dandelions were still carpeting the desert floor. I love the vibrant colors!
If you have not visited Red Rock Canyon, put it on your list.