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“Great for active family”

Saddleback Butte State Park
Ranked #12 of 33 things to do in Lancaster
Attraction details
Lancaster, California
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great for active family”
Reviewed March 28, 2012

My kids love to climb rocks. This is the best place to do it. The winds are going crazy at this area during winter and early spring, but it is great in summer. It has a trail about an hour and a half walk. Great view of San Bernardino Mountains and Angeles National Forest State Park. There's a BBQ area. Great for weekend getaway!

Visited April 2011
2 Thank ArtRussianMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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22 reviews from our community

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English first
Tujunga, CA
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Plan Ahead Before You Go”
Reviewed January 18, 2012

Way, way out at the far reaches of Los Angeles County are some eerily fascinating wildlife reserves and parks. Visible from many miles away, Saddleback Butte rises out of the desert floor like a specter; many don't realize this formation is also a state park where one can go hiking, camping or just stroll around in the profound silence of the high desert.

Before you go, be sure to check out the official website for important information regarding facilities, conditions and possible closures. This is not a place to go unprepared.

If the wind isn't tearing your hair off, you're roasting alive in the heat or merely turning a festive red color in the low humidity. That is to say: The camping is semi-primitive, the landscape bleak and the hiking can end up an exercise in misery and heat syncope. Bring water, people. Hike early.

There's a cute little nature trail that circles around the ranger station, which apparently contains some exhibits. I wouldn't know, since it has never been open one single time I've gone. Nearby are some wooden ramadas with picnic tables, which provide a bit of shade and some protection from the wind. You can drive to the actual campground from here, or enter via 170th street (around the corner.)

I always tell people to make this one stop on a tour of the Antelope Valley, because there are some other interesting places nearby - the Indian Museum, some empty gas stations and motels that are used exclusively for film sets, as well as some of the aforementioned county wildlife reserves. Just up the hill is a Joshua tree forest so thick and green it rivals anything I ever saw at the national park of the same name. Or, if you're the gritty outdoors type, go ahead and camp there. You just have to love stark vistas and a pronounced feeling of ennui.

Here is some of the information from the site. You really *have* to be prepared before you go:

"Saddleback Butte, elevation 3,651 feet, is a granite mountaintop that towers some thousand feet above the broad alluvial bottom land of the Antelope Valley about fifteen miles east of Lancaster, on the western edge of the Mojave Desert. The state park surrounding Saddleback Butte was created in 1960 to protect the butte (one of many similar land features in the Antelope Valley) and examples of native Joshua Tree woodlands and other plants and animals that were once common throughout this high desert area.

The best time to visit is in the springtime (February through May) when wildflowers are apt to put on a beautiful display of color. Autumn (October and November) is pleasant as well, although temperatures may vary widely and change rather suddenly. Summer temperatures average 95° F and occasionally range as high as 115° F, but evenings are peaceful with warm breezes and clear skies. Average minimum temperature during the winter is 33 ° F (frost and sub-freezing temperatures are common, with occasional snow).

The Little Butte Trail is about 2.5 miles to the peak and can be picked up from below the day-use area, or take the 2-mile Saddleback Butte Peak Trail from the trailhead parking area in the campground. The trails begin on a mild slope through moderately loose sand among creosote bushes and Joshua trees to the base of the butte where they merge. It then becomes a challenging climb up sand and rock, but the finale is worth every step. At the top, enjoy a breathtaking 360° view over the Antelope Valley and east across the Mojave desert. For a nice moderate 3-mile loop, go up one trail to where they merge, come back down on the other, then return on the park's gravel road to the trailhead where you started. See the "Equestrian" section for additional trail information. Day-use fee applies.

The short self-guided Dic Dowen Nature Trail is located at the Visitor Center in the day-use area, with information on the natural history of the park and area.

Day-Use Facilities
Day-use facilities within the park include 27 picnic sites with tables and barbecue grills, each with ramadas for protection from the sun and wind. Water and pit toilets are located near the picnic area.

Visit the park office and visitor center, located at the entrance to the day-use area, featuring displays and hands-on exhibits about the natural and cultural history and geology of the area.

Campground Facilities
The family campground is first-come, first-served and offers 50 units with tables, stoves, fire rings, and shade ramadas. Potable water spigots and full restrooms with a flush toilet and sink are located throughout the campground (no showers). Eight people maximum per campsite. There is a 30-foot max for campers/RVs. Use of the RV dump station is free for paid campers, or a $6 fee for non-campers. The dump station is currently closed for repairs."

Visited September 2011
12 Thank SoCalRambler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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