Zen Zones: Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park


Kaitlyn Lavo

A father offers to carry his son the rest of the way while other families make their way back from climbing the beautiful natural structures in Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021.

Kaitlyn Lavo, Staff Photographer

As people take in the smoothly sculpted landscape that makes up Vasquez Rocks, their eyes light up their masked faces.

For Los Angeles residents looking to escape from their daily quarantine routines, they might choose to flock to a local hotspot for people of all ages – Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park.

The entrance to the Vazquez Rocks Natural Area Park in Agua Dulce, Calif., on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. (Kaitlyn Lavo)
The Lehr family from Pasedena take a break while making their way back to their car from hiking up the rocks on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. (Kaitlyn Lavo)

Children run wild as they experience the park, which might seem like a completely different planet to them. As they pretend to be space creatures, the children chase their friends and siblings around small caves found in the mountains of rocks. Meanwhile, the parents supervise and take in the fresh air. Others choose to get their blood pumping as they scale the side of these massive rock formations.

Rock climbers make their way to the top of Vasquez Rocks in Agua Dulce, Calif., on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. (Kaitlyn Lavo)

This famous location can be recognized in various movies, television shows and music videos, such as “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997), “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006), “Planet of the Apes” (2001), “Holes” (2003) and many more.

This historic Hollywood filming location has been used to transport audiences to new worlds, just as it does for those coming to visit for the day. The wide trails and vast space allow for a perfect place for people to enjoy and explore while maintaining social distance.

Glendale resident Nigel Goodwin and his son visit Vasquez Rocks for the first time during the long holiday weekend on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. (Kaitlyn Lavo)

Vanessa Camones, a mother of two, said her children enjoy playing in the area because it is outdoors and safe.
“It’s such a great activity for kids,” Camones said. “It’s a great way to get their energy out.”

Shredder, a 10-year-old Chihuahua mix hikes the dirt road of the Vazquez Rocks with his family on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. (Kaitlyn Lavo)
A mysterious rock formation found at Vasquez Rocks. It is said that these stacks represent fertility. Rock stacking is an art, discipline, and hobby for some that marks the point on certain natural trails. (Kaitlyn Lavo)

Vasquez Rocks may offer families who have been staying home the outdoor trip they’ve been craving.  While it may be difficult to find places that feel safe to travel to during these uncertain times, Vasquez Rocks Natural Area has taken many precautions to help its visitors feel at ease and safe while experiencing the trails.

The nature center is currently closed to the public. Masks are required when on the property and signs are placed at the trail’s entrance to remind guests to maintain social distancing and keep their masks over their noses. The benches and tables where people once gathered for school field trips and animal meet-and-greets are now lined with caution tape to keep groups from gathering.

Benches and public seating are roped off due to COVID-19 procedures. (Kaitlyn Lavo)

Although visitors may not get the full experience, visitors continued to enjoy their time in the park.