City of Rocks by Celia Klassen Time for Tea

One hour 32 minutes of driving time, 83 miles.
The City of Rocks National Reserve is widely known for enormous granite rock formations. Although you won’t find shiny granite countertops, you can view granite in its natural form with remarkable variety. This place is awesome for photographers; amateur and professional alike. Plenty of parking places allow people not able to walk far the opportunity to stop and see things along the way, and those with ample energy to jump out and do short walks.
A couple of weeks ago I directed my readers to Register Rock near Massacre Rocks, practically on our doorstep. There is another rock guest book with the same name at City of Rocks. Names or initials of emigrants written in axle grease (including an offer of marriage!) are still visible, and ruts from wagon wheels can also be seen in some of the rocks.
I personally visited this place over the July 4 weekend. There are multiple options for camping. We enjoyed City of Rocks RV with a very friendly camp host just minutes from City of Rocks national reserve. There are hot springs just down the road called Durfee Hot Springs although we didn’t personally go there. Although there aren’t official ATV trails, if your ATV is road registered you can drive it there which we did. The roads are gravel but hard packed and definitely accessible in any kind of vehicle, even low cars. Spots for tenting are tucked in the most adorable places in between rocks and trees and hidden away from view. There are also spots for small camper trailers within the national reserve, large RVs and long trailers would do better to stay at City of Rocks RV or there is a dry camping field for $10 a night nearby as well. Hikers will find a multitude of trails of different lengths, and those with less energy will still be able to see a lot. It is also a hotspot for rock climbers, novice and experienced alike.
Castle Rocks State Park is just a few miles down the road as well. This is a paid park to enter and unfortunately I can’t comment on what it includes because our vehicle broke down 100 feet past the entrance! It looked similar to City of Rocks and was much more busy, so I would be inclined to say stay within City of Rocks!
Another gem that is nearby but still feels like you got away from home for a bit!

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