Vasquez Rocks History
As you drive the Antelope Valley Freeway from Santa Clarita Valley, north of LA the other-worldly Vasquez Rocks loom suddenly out of the landscape. The angles at which these mammoth rocks were forced up and out of the earth show the power that lies beneath the San Andreas Fault. You can see how in the mid-1800s the notorious California bandit Tiburcio Vásquez (for whom the rocks were named) was able to hide our among the rocks to elude his pursuers.
Vasquez Rocks Get Famous
The area around Vasquez Rocks has some great hiking/climbing and beautiful views. We spent a few hours clambering around some of the 932 acres of spectacular rock formations and shooting fun pictures of ourselves against the bright, blue sky. There are also Tataviam Indian sites here picnicking areas and, seasonally, a stream. The shapes of the rocks have drawn people here for ages, and it’s easy to see why. Vasquez Rocks became even more well-known as the place where Captain Kirk met the reptilian Gorn in an episode of Star Trek (among later episodes) and as the spot where the Power Chamber from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was located. TV shows like 24, CSI, and The Outer Limits, and films from Blazing Saddles to Austin Powers to The Flintstones all used the area and shot scenes here. Click HERE for a full list! There’s also a great collection of photos from Vasquez Rocks’ appearance in film and TV put together by the folks at WebEcoist.
Fauna at Vasquez Rocks
As always, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for snakes in areas like these. We ran into the big guy below when we visited, and have been trying to figure out what species he (or she) was. Our best guess is the non-poisonous Red Racer (the fastest snake in the desert; gets up to 6 feet!) They say the Southern Pacific rattlesnake is about the only venomous snake around Santa Clarita Valley, but more recently the Green Mojave has been spotted. Most common critters around Vasquez Rocks are coyotes, gophers, jack rabbits, lizards and snakes.