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Spotlight: Carrizo Plain National Monument

Spotlight: Carrizo Plain National Monument

Visit this area bypassed by time.

CarrizoPlain Carrizo Plain's beautiful wildflowers.

Getting There

The Carrizo Plain is 100 air miles north of Los Angeles, California. Do not rely on mapping software or your GPS to get you here. Come in from the north on Soda Lake Road. All roads are dirt, except for approximately 16 miles of Soda Lake Road. For additional routes and road conditions follow these detailed directions.

What You’ll Find

An area bypassed by time. The centerpiece of Carrizo Plain is Soda Lake, a glistening bed of white salt set within a vast open grassland and rimmed by mountains. The plain is home to diverse wildlife and plant species and is an area of cultural importance to Native Americans.

Make Sure You

See sandhill cranes, raptors, mountain plovers, long-billed curlews and fairy shrimp. In spring, Carrizo Plain can be one of the most beautiful wildflower viewing areas in California. Take the Soda Lake/Painted Rock Tour, an internationally recognized pictograph site that is among the best examples of rock art in the world. It is visually stunning but also imbued with meaning and spiritual values still held by contemporary Native American people.

At the pictograph site, stay on the trail and don’t touch the art, or move or add rocks.

Try This

Tour the El Saucito Ranch. Once a year, visitors have the opportunity to tour the oldest standing historic house on the monument and the only ranch on the monument to have been occupied from the pioneer period to modern time.

Don’t Forget

View the geological features of the San Andreas Fault at Wallace Creek, where you can see an offset channel and a beheaded channel. Drive Soda Lake, Elkhorn Grade, Elkhorn and Seven Mile roads all combine to offer a stunning 70-mile scenic loop drive.  Download a map and/or a podcast for a self guided tour.

Get Started!

Wear sturdy shoes for hiking. Bring lunch and plenty of water. Carpool whenever possible. Be prepared for intense heat and sun; bring a hat and sunscreen. There is a possibility of muddy roads and changeable weather. When in doubt, call Carrizo Plains National Monument at (661) 391-6000.