Red Rock Canyon State Park’s visitor center is currently open Fridays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Saturdays 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. The modern visitor center features colorful displays and dioramas illustrating Red Rock’s unique geology, fossils, Kawaiisu Indian culture, early settler history, flora and fauna, and Hollywood connection. The gift shop offers books, toys and souvenirs. Red Rock Canyon State Park: 37749 Abbott Drive, Cantil (22 miles north of Mojave on Hwy 14, near California City).
Please note: Programs are subject to cancellation without notice. Check www.Facebook.com/RedRockCanyonStatePark for latest updates.
Sat., Dec 14: Park Staff led nature walk of the “Ricardo Nature Trail.” Learn about various plants and their flowers along with small animals and how they adapted to the harsh desert environment. Meet at the Ricardo Trailhead across from the visitor center at 10:00 am.
Sat., Dec 14: “Reading Stories in Stone.” Discover the geological make up of Red Rock Canyon. Learn how the park was formed with the amazing colors you see today. Meet in the multipurpose room in visitor center at 7:00 p.m.
Sat., Dec 21: Docent led nature walk of the “Ricardo Nature Trail.” Learn about various plants and their flowers along with small animals and how they adapted to the harsh desert environment. Meet at the Ricardo Trailhead across from the visitor center at 9:00 am.
Sat., Dec 21: Come and hear an historic presentation of the former “Red Rock Railroad”. This is a slide presentation about the temporary spur railroad built through Red Rock Canyon during the construction of the LA Aqueduct. Meet in the multipurpose room located in the visitor center at 7:00 p.m.
Kick-Off the New Year with First Day Hikes at Saddleback Butte and Red Rock Canyon State Parks
Rejuvenate by taking a family friendly trek through a state park close to home
Make a New Year’s resolution to your health and happiness by kicking off 2020 with an invigorating First Day Hike at Saddleback Butte State Park or Red Rock Canyon State Park on January 1st, as part of America’s State Parks’ First Day Hikes initiative in all 50 states.
America’s State Parks First Day Hikes offer individuals and families an opportunity to begin the New Year rejuvenating and connecting with the outdoors by taking a healthy hike at a state park. First Day Hikes offer a great way to get outside, exercise, enjoy nature and welcome the New Year with friends and family.
“What better way to start out the New Year than by connecting with family and friends in nature?” said California State Parks Director Lisa Mangat. “With iconic landscapes, beautiful views and fresh air, hiking in our state parks is a perfect way to absorb the wonders of the outdoors and learn about California’s natural and cultural resources.”
At Saddleback Butte State Park, staff and volunteers will lead three hikes, which vary from an easy half-mile stroll to a strenuous five-mile hike up the butte. Check-in for all hikes is at the park Visitor Center, 17102 East Avenue J, Lancaster (corner of 170th St E and East Avenue J, near Lake Los Angeles). Bring a lunch to enjoy in the park’s Picnic Area after returning from the hikes! Kids are welcome, but dogs are not allowed on trails in California State Parks (with the exception of trained service animals/no comfort animals). Visit www.Facebook.com/SaddlebackButte for more information and updates.
9:00 a.m. – Hike to top of Saddleback Butte
Moderately strenuous. Five miles and about three hours roundtrip; 1000 ft of elevation gain to an incredible view across the Mojave Desert. Bring water and wear good hiking shoes and layered clothing; it can be very windy at the top.
10:00 a.m. – Loop Hike across the park
Easy to moderate. 3.3 miles with little elevation gain; about 1 ¾ hours. Dress for the weather; bring water and hat, walking sticks are optional. Enjoy the beautiful high desert views over the Antelope Valley; this is a great winter’s hike.
11:00 a.m. – Dowen Nature Trail
Easy. Ranger-lead interpretive tour along the nature trail. Learn about the unique natural and cultural history of the local area. 1/2 mile loop with mild elevation gain, about 1 hour; wheelchair/stroller accessible.
A 9-mile, all-day hike will also be led at Red Rock Canyon State Park, 22 miles north of Mojave on Highway 14:
Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the dirt lot on the east side of Hwy 14, ¾ mile north of Abbot Road for a hike into Nightmare Gulch with a side trip into the well-hidden “Secret Silent City”. The strenuous route begins with a scramble over three ridges to enjoy the fabulous views, with an elevation gain/loss of approximately 3000’. This hike is not for beginners, and dogs are not allowed on this guided hike; no exceptions. Wear layered clothing and bring plenty of water and snacks/lunch; hikers are responsible for their own health and safety. Participants will be back by approximately 4pm; only heavy rain will cancel. Visit www.Facebook.com/RedRockCanyonStatePark for more information and updates.
Nation-wide information about First Day Hikes offered, their difficulty and length, and tips can be found at www.StateParks.org. America’s State Parks is committed to promoting outdoor recreation in state parks as a way to address obesity, especially among children. Getting kids outside and unplugged from video games and other electronic media creates a unique connection with nature that promotes physical and mental well-being and encourages creativity and stewardship of our shared resources. Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes.
Christmas Bird Count at Red Rock Canyon State Park
Come to Red Rock Canyon State Park on Friday, January 3rd to help look for birds as part of the Audubon Society’s 120th Christmas Bird Count. The annual count is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world. Since the first count in 1900, the Christmas Bird Count has provided critical data on population trends.
Prior to the turn of the century, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas “Side Hunt”; they would choose sides and go afield with their gun, and whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won. Around the turn of the 20th century, observers and scientists were just beginning to become concerned about declining bird populations so ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition- a “Christmas Bird Census”- that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them.
Beginner to expert birders are all welcome; please pre-register by emailing Jean.Rhyne@parks.ca.gov. Bring bird books if you have them, layered clothing, binoculars, shoes that can get muddy, water and snacks. 4-wheel drive vehicles are appreciated for carpooling to remote sites, and there will also be nearby count areas accessible to anyone. Meet at the Visitor Center on Abbot Rd off Hwy 14 on Friday, January 3rd at 8 a.m. for registration and orientation; count areas will be determined at check-in. “Early birds” can also meet at 7 a.m. for birding at Red Rooster (email to RSVP). For more information about the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, visitwww.ChristmasBirdCount.org.
When: Friday, January 3rd, 8 a.m.
Where: Red Rock Canyon State Park Visitor Center, 37749 Abbott Drive, Cantil (22 miles north of Mojave on Hwy 14, near California City)
Poppy Reserve Volunteer Training for 2020 Wildflower Season
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve’s two-day volunteer training for the 2020 spring wildflower season will be held on Saturdays February 1st and 8th. Learn about the wildflowers, wildlife, history and volunteer duties at the training, and then meet people from around the world that have come to see our beautiful wildflowers! Volunteer opportunities include staffing the visitor center and gift shop, walking the trails, and/or leading tours.
Volunteers may range in age from student to senior citizen, and no experience or prior knowledge is required. Volunteers must be interested in learning, and have a positive, friendly attitude. New volunteers must attend both training days and pass a background check. The active season is from March 1-May 10 (Mother’s Day), and a minimum average of 8 hours per month is required (scheduling is flexible). Call (661) 946-6900 or email Jean.Rhyne@parks.ca.gov for more information or to sign up for the training.
When: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 1 and 8 (new volunteers must attend both days)
Where: Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, 15101 Lancaster Road, Lancaster.
Directions: From Hwy 14, go west off the Avenue I exit and continue 15 miles. Avenue I turns into Lancaster Road; the reserve is on the right.
From Hwy 138, go south on 170th Street West and left on Lancaster Road. The reserve is on the left.
Volunteer Training for Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park
Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park in Tehachapi needs volunteers! California State Parks is offering a training for volunteers to assist with any of the following activities: leading tours, promoting the park at festival booths, presenting school group programs, archaeological site monitoring, assisting at special events, and other duties. Learn about the culture and life ways of the Kawaiisu Indians, wildflowers of the Tehachapi Mountains, wildlife, the region’s colorful history, and volunteer duties at the 2-day training.
No experience or prior knowledge is necessary, and all ages are welcome. Volunteers must be interested in learning, and have a positive, friendly attitude. Activities and schedules are flexible, based on abilities and interests. Applicants must complete the training and a background check before beginning volunteer work. Call (661) 946-6900 or email Jean.Rhyne@parks.ca.gov for more information, or to sign up for the training.
When: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Saturdays April 4 and 11 (must attend both training dates)
Where: Training sessions will be held at Tehachapi Community Congregational Church’s Friendship Hall, 100 East E Street, Tehachapi (park in lot on the east side of the building)