Category Archives: State Park

09-17-19 – Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake


Antelope Island, with an area of 42 square miles (109 km2), is the largest of ten islands located within the Great Salt Lake, Utah, United States. The island lies in the southeastern portion of the lake, near Salt Lake City and Davis County, and becomes a peninsula when the lake is at extremely low levels.

The first known non-natives to visit the island were John C. Frémont and Kit Carson during exploration of the Great Salt Lake in 1845, who “rode on horseback over salt from the thickness of a wafer to twelve inches” and “were informed by the Indians that there was an abundance of fresh water on it and plenty of antelope”. It is said they shot a pronghorn antelope on the island and in gratitude for the meat they named it Antelope Island.

Antelope Island has natural scenic beauty and holds populations of pronghorn, bighorn sheep, American bison, porcupine, badger, coyote, bobcat, mule deer, and millions of waterfowl. The bison were introduced to the island in 1893, and Antelope Island bison herd has proven to be a valuable genetic pool for bison breeding and conservation purposes. The bison do well, because much of the island is covered by dry, native grassland.

The geology of Antelope Island consists mostly of alluvial plains with prairie grassland on the north, east and south of the island, along with a mountainous central area of older Precambrian metamorphic and igneous rocks and late Precambrian to Paleozoic sedimentary rocks, covered by a thin layer of Quaternary lake deposits, colluvium and alluvium. The Precambrian deposits on Antelope Island are some of the oldest rocks in the United States, older even than the Precambrian rocks at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

04-03-19 Wildflower Wander


I played hooky for a mid-week sojourn to view the California Super Bloom without the overwhelming crowds. There were still a LOT of people, but the flowers were beautiful! I started out with a scenic drive to Carrizo Plain National Monument, wandered over to the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve State Natural Reserve, and wrapped up the day with a hike in Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park.

The Carrizo Plain is a large enclosed grassland plain, approximately 50 miles (80 km) long and up to 15 miles (24 km) across, in southeastern San Luis Obispo County, California, about 100 miles (160 km) northwest of Los Angeles. It contains the 246,812-acre (99,881 ha) Carrizo Plain National Monument, and it is the largest single native grassland remaining in California. It includes Painted Rock in the Carrizo Plain Rock Art Discontiguous District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2012 it was further designated a National Historic Landmark due to its archeological value. The San Andreas Fault cuts across the plain.

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is a state-protected reserve of California, USA, harboring the most consistent blooms of California poppies, the state flower. The reserve is located in the rural west side of Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County, 15 miles (24 km) west of Lancaster. The reserve is at an elevation ranging from 2,600 to 3,000 feet (790 to 910 m) above sea level, in the Mojave Desert climate zone. The reserve is administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Other wildflowers within the reserve include the owl’s clover, lupine, goldfields, cream cups and coreopsis.

Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park is a 932-acre (377-hectare) park located in the Sierra Pelona Mountains in northern Los Angeles County, California. It is located in the town of Agua Dulce, between the suburbs of Santa Clarita and Palmdale. The area is also visible from the Antelope Valley Freeway (State Route 14).

03-31-19 – Wander


A wander to find wildflowers away from the throngs of Instagram seeking visitors ended in exploring an old favorite, Red Rock Canyon State Park, from a new direction. I’ve been here dozens of times, and I’m still seeing things for the first time.

Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converge with the El Paso Range. Each tributary canyon is unique, with dramatic shapes and vivid colors.

Historically, the area was once home to the Kawaiisu Indians, who left petroglyphs in the El Paso mountains and other evidence of their inhabitation. The spectacular gash situated at the western edge of the El Paso mountain range was on the Native American trade route for thousands of years. During the early 1870s, the colorful rock formations in the park served as landmarks for 20-mule team freight wagons that stopped for water. About 1850, it was used by the footsore survivors of the famous Death Valley trek including members of the Arcane and Bennett families along with some of the Illinois Jayhawkers. The park now protects significant paleontology sites and the remains of 1890s-era mining operations, and has been the site for a number of movies.

After wet winters, the park’s floral displays are stunning. The beauty of the desert, combined with the geologic features make this park a camper’s favorite destination. Wildlife you may encounter includes roadrunners, hawks, lizards, mice and squirrels.

03-10-19 – Red Rock Canyon State Park

Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converge with the El Paso Range. Each tributary canyon is unique, with dramatic shapes and vivid colors.

Historically, the area was once home to the Kawaiisu Indians, who left petroglyphs in the El Paso mountains and other evidence of their inhabitation. The spectacular gash situated at the western edge of the El Paso mountain range was on the Native American trade route for thousands of years. During the early 1870s, the colorful rock formations in the park served as landmarks for 20-mule team freight wagons that stopped for water. About 1850, it was used by the footsore survivors of the famous Death Valley trek including members of the Arcane and Bennett families along with some of the Illinois Jayhawkers. The park now protects significant paleontology sites and the remains of 1890s-era mining operations, and has been the site for a number of movies.

After wet winters, the park’s floral displays are stunning. The beauty of the desert, combined with the geologic features make this park a camper’s favorite destination. Wildlife you may encounter includes roadrunners, hawks, lizards, mice and squirrels.

02-02-19 – Red Rock Canyon



Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converge with the El Paso Range. Each tributary canyon is unique, with dramatic shapes and vivid colors.

Historically, the area was once home to the Kawaiisu Indians, who left petroglyphs in the El Paso mountains and other evidence of their inhabitation. The spectacular gash situated at the western edge of the El Paso mountain range was on the Native American trade route for thousands of years. During the early 1870s, the colorful rock formations in the park served as landmarks for 20-mule team freight wagons that stopped for water. About 1850, it was used by the footsore survivors of the famous Death Valley trek including members of the Arcane and Bennett families along with some of the Illinois Jayhawkers. The park now protects significant paleontology sites and the remains of 1890s-era mining operations, and has been the site for a number of movies.

After wet winters, the park’s floral displays are stunning. The beauty of the desert, combined with the geologic features make this park a camper’s favorite destination. Wildlife you may encounter includes roadrunners, hawks, lizards, mice and squirrels.

11-04-18 – Red Rock Canyon



Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes and spectacular rock formations. The park is located where the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada converges with the El Paso Mountains. Each tributary canyon is unique, with vivid colors. After wet winters, the park’s floral displays are notable.

08-20-17 – Garden of the Gods


Garden of the Gods is a public park located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, US. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971.

The area now known as Garden of the Gods was first called Red Rock Corral by the Europeans. Then, in August 1859, two surveyors who helped to set up Colorado City explored the site. One of the surveyors, M. S. Beach, suggested that it would be a “capital place for a beer garden”. His companion, the young Rufus Cable, awestruck by the impressive rock formations, exclaimed, “Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods.”

The name “Garden of the Gods” was also later given to a section of the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., filled with large sandstone rock formations, because of the area’s resemblance to Colorado’s Garden of the Gods. The story goes that back in the early days of Hollywood, a movie producer seeking a rocky filming location made a comment to the effect of, “Who needs to go all the way to Colorado — we have our own ‘Garden of the Gods’ here!” The Iverson family took the comment to heart and began calling their own collection of rock formations the “Garden of the Gods,” and the name stuck. Today the main section of Chatsworth’s Garden of the Gods has also been preserved as a park.

10-07-15 – Anza Borrego

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, United States. The park takes its name from 18th century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, the Spanish word for bighorn sheep.

03-07-15 – Red Rock Canyon State Park


Yet another visit to a nearby favorite location, Red Rock Canyon State Park in Cantil and Ricardo, California. I wanted to visit some areas that I’d not previously hiked through, and try out the Pentax in full-moonlight landscapes.

03-06-15 – Topanga State Park


Located in the cliffs and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains, Topanga State Park features 36 miles of trails through open grassland, live oaks and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.