Camping LOVE at Red Rock Canyon State Park

Kids + Camping = LOVE

Red Rock Canyon State Park located right off of Highway 14 in the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is the perfect fall, winter, or spring desert get-away. Red Rock is loaded with unique canyons with dramatic shapes, geologic features, and vivid colors. A perfect location to explore, hike, climb, and camp.

Our overnight camp-out included: hiking Hagen Canyon Nature Trail, exploration at the Red Cliffs Day Use area, and walking through the self-guided Desert View Nature Trail .

Hagen Canyon Nature Trail is about a mile loop, starting from a spacious parking spot at the south end of Abbott Drive. There are several side canyons on the loop that you can check out along the way. Don’t miss the window, camel, and amazing red, green, and pink colors.

Checking out rules and regulations
Checking out rules and regulations – Hagen Canyon Nature Trail
Window at Hagen Canyon Nature Trail
One of the Windows – Hagen Canyon Nature Trail
Fun Opportunities to Climb
Fun Opportunities to Climb
The Camel - Hagen Canyon Nature Trail
The Camel – Hagen Canyon Nature Trail

The Red Cliffs Day Use Area is located across Highway 14 from the entrance to the park. Be sure to allow extra time to explore the unusual formations, bright red cliffs and caves. Birds of prey build their nests in the dramatic red cliffs.

Cave at Red Cliffs Day Use Area
Cave at Red Cliffs Day Use Area

The Ricardo Campground is tucked beneath dramatic White Cliffs and has lots of rocks, caves, and mounds of sand for kids to climb, jump, hop, dig, and slide.

This is the Life - Shrimp Pasta for Dinner
This is the Life – Shrimp Pasta for Dinner
S'Mores for Dessert
S’Mores for Dessert
Kids + Headlamps=Awesomeness
Kids + Headlamps = Awesomeness

The next morning we headed to Desert View Nature Trail that starts at the campground road just beyond campsite 46. It is an easy loop on a well-marked trail. At marker 12, you can follow a trail south, up the ridge to a bench that overlooks the Mojave Desert and the Fremont Valley. The top of this trail is the perfect location for enjoying gorgeous sunrise and sunsets.

Desert View Nature Trail
Desert View Nature Trail
Walking with friends - Monkey and Otter
Walking with friends – Monkey and Otter
Overlooking Hagen Canyon
Overlooking Hagen Canyon
White Cliffs
White Cliffs
Exploring White Cliffs
Exploring White Cliffs
Red Rock Hiking Trails on Google Maps
Red Rock Canyon Hiking Trails on Google Maps

Desert View Nature Trail Guide

Photos on Flickr
Visit Nightmare Gulch for more hiking in Red Rock


  1. I camped at Red Rock Canyon State Park a few years ago, but I was with a geology class and we were on a tight time crunch, so I didn’t get time to explore. It hadn’t really crossed my mind to go back until I passed it on my way home from Death Valley a few weeks ago. Now it’s on my list! Thank you for sharing this trip. You are awesome!

    • That is so great! There is so much open terrain to explore on foot. I would recommend checking out the Nightmare GuIch loop at: I have so wanted to go on a geology field trip in this area. They are offered every once in awhile. Thank you for sharing and reminding me.

      • No, thank YOU for sharing and reminding me! I’ve read about Nightmare Gulch before – it looks really cool!

        BTW I’m really looking forward to reading about your experiences on the CDT this summer. Hiking a long trail has always been a dream of mine. Maybe when I’m done with grad school I’ll be able to! You and the rest of the bloggers give me hope.

  2. The grandkids will always remember these special trips with you and your husband. And I love that they journal. 🙂

    • I know. Right? What is just the best is every once in awhile they both just plop down on the trail and whip out their journals and record away. I think this just might be a strategy I need to consider. 🙂

  3. Kids and headlamps — PRICELESS! Made me smile and made my day. A nice lift considering what’s been happening here in Boston today. Thanks Rockin’!

    • I am so saddened by today’s events in Boston. My heart and deepest sympathy go out to the families of the victims of this tragedy. I posted this before knowing about this shocking news. It is so important to appreciate the little things in everyday life. Thank you for sharing.

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