If you're ever driving California State Route 14 (Antelope Valley Freeway) on your way to the high desert, you'll probably notice amazing rock foundations north of the freeway in Agua Dulce and freeway signs that indicate Vasquez Rocks.
The 932 acre Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, owned and managed by the County of Los Angeles, contains ancient rock sculptures created by 20 to 25 million years of earthquake movement along the Elkhorn Fault, an offshoot of the San Andreas Fault.
The ancient rock layers have slowly been compressed, folded and tilted while erosion has gradually stripped away the soil around the rocks, leaving spectacular jetting slabs. The large rock outcroppings are sandstone beds with areas of shale, basalt and reddish brown layering, sitting at angles of as much as 50 degrees, sweeping up to a peak of nearly 150 feet high.
Although habitation of the area goes back to the Tataviam Indians from 2000 B.C. to the late 1700s, the land has been named after a bandit named Tiburcio Vasquez, who used the rocks to escape from sheriff's posses. Vasquez Rocks may well be the only park in the world named after a notorious bandit who was ultimately caught and hanged.
The park is a popular hiking, picnicking and equestrian area and has been used in many hit movies, television shows and commercials. A sampling of productions filmed at Vasquez Rocks include The Flintsones (movie), Planet of the Apes, Dracula (1931), Blazing Saddles, Austin Powers, Little Miss Sunshine, Power Rangers, Star Trek and many more.
Located at 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Road in Agua Dulce. Take the Agua Dulce Canyon Road exit from the 14 and follow the signs. When you pull into the park, there will be an Interpretative Center with educational displays and a small gift shop on the right. Turn left on the dirt road to get to parking near the rock formations. The Interpretive Center is open Tuesday – Sunday 8:00am to 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays, except holidays.
Visit parks.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/dpr/Parks/Vasquez_Rocks_Natural_Area or call 661.268.0840 for more information. Vasquez Rocks is about an hour drive from Thousand Oaks and 35 to 40 minute drive from the eastern end of Simi Valley.