Best Place to Get Lost During Your Lunch Break - 2011
Most Vasquez Rocks visitors scurry straight up the towering rock that leans, like hands in prayer, over the park's dusty main parking lot. But amble off in the opposite direction — into colossal folds of pallid red stone collared with cowering scrub — and you may not see your car again for hours. Though it covers just 900 acres and borders the humming I-14, this otherworldly area — where everything from Star Trek to CSI has filmed — can swiftly swallow hikers. What appears to be a single steep slope may actually be three in succession; promising routes cease suddenly in front of gulp-inducing cliffs and furtive gullies. Roll with the topography and you'll discover a lazy creek skulking through the canyon's foliaged floor. Natural caves in the mammoth outcrops above made Vasquez Rocks prime real estate for long-extinct Tataviam Indians. Lost amidst its odd echoes and deformed shadows, you'll feel ancient eyes upon you. 10700 W. Escondido Canyon Road, Agua Dulce. (661) 268-0840, parks.lacounty.info/Parkinfo.asp?URL=cms1_033383.asp&Title=Vasquez.