This park is well worth a stay in its own right, although many just overnight on the way to Death Valley or Owens Valley.
The campground itself could probably never be built today, as it's nestled up against the weird and interesting mud/rock formations that give the park it's name. It can be hot here, and cold in winter, and although the rocks provide a backdrop you can get stuck in the sun or wind. They are upgrading the pit toilets, but some still have no roofs. Water is available; no showers. Fees are outrageous, but that's par for the course in CA state parks; I didn't feel it appropriate to ding just RRSP for this. The visitor center is great, but only open certain hours, as is the dump station. Sites are often rather unlevel, but many are big. And the state parks aren't dog friendly. They'll charge you for offroad vehicles you may have in a trailer; they try to encourage offroaders to stage in nearby BLM land.
The park is in an interesting intersection between the mountains to the west and lower and higher sections of Mojave desert, so gets a lot of wildlife. You can see kangaroo rats, owls, hawks, tortoises, green mojave rattlers, tarantulas, coachwhips, etc. There are great 4x4 roads all around, but unfortunately the park doesn't allow backcountry camping. You can access the excellent Jawbone area, or go north through Dove Springs. The park has occasional hikes, and star parties. And check out the movies sets; bazillions of movies from sci fi to westerns were shot here.
There is outstanding hiking right out of the campground, although no real trails per se. But if you're adventurous, and experienced in desert hiking, you can find all kinds of stuff. There are slot canyons, bizarre geological features, dry waterfalls, etc. It's a great place to let kids run wild, as long as they aren't prone to falling to their deaths from the rocks above.
Flowers can be great in the spring, and there's a great variety.
Spend a few days here; the more you look around the better you'll like it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This campsite is primative with no hot water or trailer hook-ups. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Red Rock Canyon State Park Ricardo Campground Hotel California