Hike the PCT and Foot Trail Loop through Vasquez Rocks

Details

Distance

5.5 miles

Elevation Gain

287 ft

Route Type

Loop

Added by Leigh Maneri

Observe dramatic sandstone rock formations, far-reaching vistas and Native American rock art and hike a scenic leg of the Pacific Crest Trail which runs from Mexico to Canada.

The Pacific Crest Trail and foot trail hike is a 5-mile loop with a quick PCT branch-off that leads under the 14 freeway through a long, well-maintained (but very dark) tunnel. 

Pull into the well-marked parking lot and stop in the visitor center to take a look at the topographical park model and get a feel for your route. Head out behind the visitor center and make a left through a picnic area via the Nature-Heritage/History Trail, which you'll be on for just a moment. Stop at the signs for the Tataviam drawings and observe primitive art left behind by the park's Native Americans.

Turn right at the junction for the Pacific Crest Trail. Almost a mile in, you'll come upon a sign that marks the boundary of a brush fire in 2007; bear right down the hill to stay on the PCT and keep left at the next sign, staying on the PCT instead of onward to the foot and horse trails. This will take you to a well-maintained tunnel that cuts beneath the 14 freeway. Take some photos in the tunnel and grab a snack on the other side before heading back and following the signs for the foot trail which comes up over the picturesque rock ridge you walked parallel with thus far. 

When you see signs for the horse trail, keep left. It will seem as if you're walking away from where you want to be, but stay put. About a third of a mile from where you left the PCT, turn right on the foot trail. The only consistently tiring portion of this entire hike, follow the foot trail up to just over 2,600 feet and enjoy the breathtaking scenery from the top. Bear left the entire way, as side trails come up that connect to the horse trail, until you meet the dirt road and picnic area again, where the trail ends. 

Turn right to climb upon the "Famous Rocks" and take some additional photos before heading back to the parking lot.  

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Picnic Area
Scenic
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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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