The drive up to Red Rock Canyon State Park (CA) is breathtaking. Nestled off the 14 freeway in between the southernmost section of the Sierras and the northernmost section of the Mojave Desert; you get the best of both worlds as desert and mountains converge into one unbelievable area. As you crawl down the highway, you start to see rock formations in red, orange and brown. The air is dry and dusty and the sun shines high in the sky without much cover. My homie Tyler and his dog came with me as we cruised into the campground area seeking a spot to sleep. Each campsite was unique but we chose one with a rock structure at our backs. By sticking close to the formations, they gave us some amount of shade as we established camp and got ready to explore. The campsites were situated away from the main hiking area so we had to drive back to the trailhead.
Hagen Canyon Nature Trail
- length: 1.2 miles
- terrain: rocky, desert style trail; well-maintained
- payoff: gorgeous desert and canyon views
Hagen Canyon Nature Trail is an easy and lowkey hike with possibilities to see more. At only 1.2 miles, a swift walker could do this trail in 20 minutes or less. There is little to no elevation and the trail is smooth throughout the entire loop making it a nice walk. However, it very boring to do it this way. The best parts of this trail are found off of it. Obviously, supreme caution must be paid when going off-trail but the reward is huge…
The trail winds through open desert around the canyons, cliffs and rock formations at the base of the mountains. It’s very hot so hikers should always be prepared with appropriate covering and plenty of water. Along the way, you start to see some of the rock structures that make this hike famous…
As you hike deeper into the canyon, the walls begin to close around you on either side. The trail is still visible and wide open but this is when you start to see the caves and openings in the rock on either side of you. Walking through this corridor gave me the feeling of walking an Old Western trail. I could almost see where outlaws were hiding, lying in wait for unsuspecting travelers. As we continued to trudge the trail, the canyon opened up to a wide plain surrounded by high rock walls…
…Climbing up the rocky cliff was exhilarating. My feet slipped and slid almost the whole way but the views were breathtaking once we reached the top. The formations were huge and towered over Tyler and I like skyscrapers. The folds in the stone made it look like the rock structures were huge sand sculptures you’d find on a Southern California beach. I’m not sure how that phenomenon happens, but it was really cool to see in person.
All in all, I was very pleased with Red Rock Canyon State Park. The campsite was big and clean and also secluded. Despite the isolation it also had amenities like a toilet and running water; which came in handy. The Hagen Canyon Nature trail is a nice little hike but the coolest surprise was waiting for us in the morning at our campsite…
I woke up in the morning and the world was grey and cold. I was bundled up in my tent and sleeping bag but I felt constrained, I needed to move. So I climbed out of my tent and sought a secluded place to relieve myself. I was groggy and sleepy (not recommended for climbing BTW) and just kept going up and up until I came to this opening:
The caves went deep into the rock wall behind us and ended in a rock room without a ceiling. Someone had obviously found it before us as the remnants of a fire were in there but regardless, the find was exciting. We ended up chilling and drinking our tea in the little rock room before departing, looking up through the canyon walls at the blue sky above us…
9 thoughts on “Trails to Trudge: Red Rock Canyon State Park”
I love your Header photo and the landscape here is phenomenal 🙂 🙂 Came upon you semi-accidentally in my Reader and decided to hop over and say hello. I run a Monday walks feature and I’d like to include you tomorrow, if you don’t mind?
Thank you very much! I appreciate the kinds words. And yes, of course you can include the post. I look forward to checking it out.
Saw your link in Jo’s Monday Walk. I haven’t yet been to the Red Rock Park, but it is very similar to Valley of Fire State Park where we visited last week! Wonderful images!
Thank you very much! I appreciate you taking the time to look at my post. I haven’t been to Valley of Fire yet but I’ve heard it’s gorgeous. It’s on my list for next time I make it out that way.