Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park   4 comments

Tiburcio Vasquez

25 million years ago, California was struck by an earthquake that sent the North American and Pacific Plates on a collision course.  The resultant uplift, due to the Elkhorn fault, has weathered away from the top, revealing a unique sandstone formation.

The Gorn could not defeat Captain Kirk.

The Rocks were named for a desperado that used them as one of his hideouts back in the 1850s, Tiburcio Vasquez.  He was a Californio bandit popular in the Mexican-American community, and styled himself a defendant of immigrants rights. He was caught by a sheriff’s posse near Newhall, CA and put in jail for horse rustling.  After his release he continued to prey on travelers up and down California, and was finally of convicted of murder in 1875. He was hung in San Jose at age 39.

After law and order was restored, the geological formation has been a favorite of photographers.  Given its location in LA County, it’s been featured in the movies since a 1905 Rudolph Valentino film was shot there. It’s been the setting of innumerable westerns and science fiction sets, from Bonanza to Wild, Wild West to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure to The Flintstones.  Star Trek shot there many times, including the episode that included perhaps the worst fight scene ever shot, with Captain Kirk conquering the Gorn.

My family has toured the Rocks many times; we’ve had Cub & Boy Scout camp outs there, and Michael’s Eagle Scout service project was there.  My eldest, Christopher, met his bride there; they both frequently worked babysitting the film crews that did everything from commercials for Taco Bell and Budweiser to films to television series to music videos. I love Vasquez Rocks!

If you’re in LA, visit the Rocks.  You’ll realize that you have seen them many, many times before!

The Rocks rise at a 45 degree angle from the desert.

You can follow the erosion in the seams of the sediment to climb to the top of the Rocks. Yes, you can get to the tip … but be careful! Search & Rescue teams are not infrequent visitors to the Rocks.

The 900-acre park has many smaller uplifts and other interesting formations.

Cool Links

Fun Blog post on the Rocks: Geek with Curves

Santa Clarita History: Vasquez Rocks

Wikipedia: Vasquez Rocks

4 responses to “Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park

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  1. Indeed he did 😉

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