Carrizo Plain National Monument is 151 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
Two popular destinations in southern California during the wildflower season (March-April) are Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve. Pictures from there are breathtaking but they don’t allow dogs on the trails. And you know how I feel about hiking without Xena.
On the other hand, I heard Carrizo Plain National Monument is super dog-friendly. So I took a day trip to the monument with my friend Jen last weekend of March hoping to catch some beautiful scenes. In spite of the long drive (180 miles from my house), the trip was totally worth it. We had a wonderful day exploring and enjoyed the wildflowers. We missed the super bloom by one week but it was still beautiful and amazing!
Soda Lake Boardwalk and Overlook Hill
Soda Lake is the largest remaining natural alkali wetland in southern California and the only closed basin within the coastal mountains.
Interesting Facts about the Carrizo Plain
The Carrizo Plain National Monument owes its existence to the geologic processes that occur along the San Andreas Fault, where two of the Earth’s five great tectonic plates slide past one another, parallel to the axis of the Plain.
The dry climate of the area produces low erosion rates, thereby preserving the spectacular effects of fault slip, folding, and warping.
Jen was off work the next day, so she planned overnight camping with her two dogs. We drove to the Goodwin Education Center to inquire about the campgrounds. There are two campgrounds in the park: Selby and KCL. Both are free and first come first serve. Luckily we were there on Sunday so Jen expected the weekend campers would be leaving soon. I insisted that we get her a campsite anyway before we do more adventuring. I would feel better if she didn’t have to look for it on her own later. It was her first time camping with her 3-year old pups and all.
Selby campground is at the end of Selby Road 5 miles from Soda Lake Road. Off-road driving was fun in my Subaru. While my friend’s Toyota truck was sliding left and right in front of us, my little Crosstrek did great! As we hoped, we passed by lots of weekenders on Selby Road leaving from the campground. Jen picked a campsite she liked and I helped her set up the camp. Then we had lunch and talked about other future road trips we want to go on.
After our peaceful lunch break, we got back in our cars and went for more exploring.
Right after saying bye to Jen and the pups, I spotted a herd of Pronghorn Antelope on the field. I stopped the car and watched them roaming freely. I just loved how peaceful and untouched this place was. But still, I think one of my favorite part of the day was driving on route 58 in Kern County. It was so beautiful! I had to pull over and capture it. Click here for a video.
Good to Know:
- Adventure date: 3.26.17
- Most part, you will drive on a dirt road.
- No entrance fee
- As long as your dogs are under your control, leash rule is not enforced