How to Hike in the Red Rock Mountains

How to Hike in the Red Rock MountainsIf someone invites you to hike on Red Rock Mountain, remember that there are peaks of that name in both Pennsylvania and California. Both are good for hiking and climbing. However, given that they are on opposite sides of the country, what any hiker needs to do to prepare for one Red Rock trip is somewhat different from what someone needs to do for the other.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:
  • Topographical Map (both, optional)
  • Compass or GPS receiver (both, optional)
  • Broad-rimmed hat (CA)
  • Sunblock (CA)
  • Warm, lightweight jacket (CA)
Step 1
Find a place to stay. Unless you live close enough Luzerne County to make a day trip of it, you will need to find a place to spend the night. You may opt for the campground in the vicinity (see Resources). The nearest town is Cambra.
Step 2
Decide what trail to hike. The mountain has four established trails between two and eight miles long. Remember to bring some water on the longer trails.
Step 3
Consider whether you want to hike to the summit of Red Rock Mountain. It means going off-trail, and you will need a topographical map and a GPS receiver. The summit is only 2,449 feet and requires no significant climbing skills or equipment, but some basic orientation training will be necessary.


Step 1
Find a place to stay if you don't live nearby. Red Rock Mountain is in Red Canyon State Park, in Kern County. The only campground in the vicinity is Ricardo Campground, and the nearest town is Los Alamos.
Step 2
Bring more than the normal amount of water for a hike. While Red Rock Canyon is arid, it is not blisteringly hot. Even during the height of summer, daytime maximum temperatures rarely exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it is dry and there will be no supplemental sources of water if you are far from the park's facilities. The usual rule about double the regular amount of water is extreme; plus 1/4 or 1/2 the normal amount should do.
Step 3
Be prepared for sudden temperature changes. It is normal for the weather to change dramatically in the desert. At the least, have a jacket tied around your waist and ready to go.
Step 4
Prepare for lots of sun. Wear a broad-rimmed hat and bring sunblock.
Step 5
Pick one or more trails to hike. There are several trails in the park, ranging between half a mile and five miles.
Step 6
Get a topographical map if you want to hike the 1,965-foot summit of Red Rock Mountain. None of the trails go there, so you'll need that map plus a compass or GPS receiver. Basic climbing and orienting skills will get you buy on some routes. However, others require climbing a sheer cliff face, and you'll need substantial climbing skills and equipment. You must plan before attempting to go to the summit, and be prepared to backtrack if things on the ground do not turn out as you expected.

Tips & Warnings

Red Rock Canyon extends into Nevada, so the area can also be approached from that side of the state line. The terrain is the same, so the instructions for using the Nevada side of the region are similar.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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