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Red Rock Canyon State Park, California, United States

Hagen Trail

Red Rock Canyon State Park

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Length: 1.3 miles / 2.1 km
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: The Hagen Trail at Red Rock Canyon State Park travels past red-stained sandstone curtains, rock windows, and desert cliffs. Well over 100 movies have been filmed in Red Rock Canyon State Park, including westerns such as "Zorro Rides Again", "The Big Country", and "Law and Order" starring Ronald Reagan, as well as other hits such as "The Ten Commandments", "Jurassic Park", and "Beneath the Planet of the Apes".

Although the main trail is only 1.1 miles long (with a 0.1 mile side trail to a bench), it is possible to spend several hours in this area exploring red cliffs, washes, and side canyons just off the main trail. Off-trail exploration is allowed, as many of the points of interest are several hundred feet off the trail. Be sure to be careful off trail, especially on uneven ground, as much of the rock is sandy, weak, and can easily crumble if weighted.

Tips: Many interested rocks and features are found off-trail, but be very careful of loose, weak, crumbly rock underfoot and fractured overhanging rock. If you should find fossils, petroglyphs, pottery shards, or opals, please leave them for the next person to discover.

Dogs are allowed on a 6-foot leash, but not allowed off-trail.

Summers can be very hot, and the winters chilly. Carry water, sunscreen, and windproof layers.

Points of Interest



The Parking is located just off Highway 14 on the west side of Abbott Drive. To reach the trailhead, take the exit off of 14 leading to the Red Rock Canyon State Park Visitor Center and Campground. The parking area is just a few hundred feet on the left after exiting Hwy 14.

CA State Park Day Use Fee is not currently required for this trailhead, but is encouraged to support this park and is required for the visitor center. Check and make sure this is still the case when you visit.

Bench at Overlook

A bench sits atop a pleasant overlook surrounded by Yucca plants

Window Rock Junction

The loop part of the trail starts at this junction. In addition, this is the best point to locate Window Rock, a few hundred feet to the west. If you have a compass, window rock is at an azimuth of 287 degrees(true north) or 274 degrees (magnetic north).

Window Rock

Window Rock is an example of one of the several rock windows in Red Rock Canyon. It is formed in the red-stained sandy mudstone from erosional processes such as seeping water that continue today. Eventually the window will collapse, but new window rocks will form elsewhere!

Fluted Sandstone Cliffs

These fluted sandstone cliffs are overlain by red-stained harder sandstones and basalt (lava flow) rock at the very top. The red staining comes from iron in the rock, and is washed down the cliffs by seeps of water after heavy rains. The curtains, made of very soft sand or mudstone, are formed when water seeps out above them and runs down their sides. The slightly harder rock on the top protects the top of the curtains from eroded away, thus preserving the cliffs.

Trail close to Reagan Rock

At a slight bend back left in the trail, look to the Northwest at this point for a prominent buttress with a red cap, known as Reagan Rock. Ronald Reagan, starring as Frame Johnson in the 1953 film Law and Order, is shot dead by his brother while standing (and falling off of) this buttress.

Ronald Reagan Rock

Reagan Rock is the prominent buttress at this location. Ronald Reagan, starring as Frame Johnson in the 1958 film Law and Order, is shot dead by his brother while standing (and falling off of) this buttress.

The rock leading to the top of the buttress is crumbly, soft, and weak, and there are fractures on the top indicating impeding failure. We do NOT advise climbing on top (the person photographed is a geologist and experienced climber).

Trail crosses a wash (extend your hike!)

The trail crosses a wash at this point. Walking up the wash is off-trail, but a pleasant and easy stroll with nice scenery and a good way to extend your hike. The wash leads to a cliff several hundred yards further.

End of the Wash

The wash abruptly ends with an 80 feet cliff in Basalt (not sandstone) rock. The basalt is harder than the sandstone, and thus erodes more slowly. It forms sharp cliffs even through washes prone to flash flooding, like this one.

Trail Marker near Camel Rock and Movie Set

Southwest of this trail marker is a rock formation known as Camel Rock. (If you have a compass, it is 251 degree from true north, or 238 degrees from magnetic north).

You may have to leave the trail and walk around the rock a bit to get a good sense of the rock. Also in this area is the setting of several movies, including the Ranch in 1958 western "The Big Country".

Camel Rock

Camel Rock is a notable, camel-like rock formation in the white sandstone. Or perhaps you think it looks like another animal?

Gun Battle Canyon

A gun battle erupted in this canyon in the 1958 movie "The Big Country".

Turk's Turban

Turk's Turban is an unusual rock formation visible from both the road and the Hagen Trail. The base of the turban has partially eroded away, giving it a shorter, more crooked appearance than the cliffs behind it... resembling a turban!

Junction to Bench Overlook



The rocks in this area comprise light-colored weak sand and mudstones overlain by darker and harder volcanic ash and lava (basalt). The red staining seen on the sandstone is a result of iron staining.

The most notable feature in this area is the sandstone fluting, or curtains. This weak layer of rock is overlain by harder rock, protecting the top from eroding. After heavy rainstorms, water seeps out from between the layers and runs down the side, taking sand with it. Evidence of water seeps can be found even when dry. When the water evaporates, it leaves white, snow-like crystals made up of salt minerals on the surface.

The cliffs are all tilted at an angle of 17 degrees, due to intense faulting in the past 10 million years as the North American and Pacific plates slide past one another. Nearby is the Garlock fault, a left-lateral strike slip fault, that is thought capable of an earthquake and has registered 35 km of offset.


The desert is home to many species of plants which will bloom and dry out at different times of the year.


The desert is home to animals including coyotes, snakes, and small rodents. Many come out at night, and some awaken during the heat of the day.
Pictures in this guide taken by: V.L.Zimmer, VZIMMER
Great stop on the way between LA and Mammoth
Visited on Dec 25, 2011

by dimyep on Dec 26, 2011

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About the Author

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Hiker, Snow-lover, Rock-Lover, River-Lover, Nerd.

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