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USA Parks
California
Southern California Region
Saddleback Butte State Park
SADDLEBACK BUTTE STATE PARK
SADDLEBACK BUTTE STATE PARK

Phone: 661-942-0662
Reservations: 800-444-7275
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).
Nature of the Area
Saddleback Butte State Park is home to many once-abundant desert species that are slowly being extinguished by hunting, agriculture, and increased population; such as coyotes and kit foxes, jack rabbits, cottontail rabbits, ground squirrels, kangaroo rats, many kinds of snakes and lizards, and the occasional badger or skunk. Be cautious of the sidewinder and Mojave Green rattlesnakes (the deadliest of the rattlers), which come out in the warm weather. One special highlight of the park is the Desert Tortoise, which is often seen by those park visitors that have curiosity and patience enough to learn the quiet, unhurried ways of this age-old desert animal. If seen, however, the tortoise must be left alone as it is now listed as threatened on the Endangered Species List.

Bird life includes many migratory species, and a few permanent residents- golden eagles, hawks, ravens, and owls, and some smaller birds such as rock and cactus wrens, thrashers, blackbirds, horned larks, ladderbacked woodpeckers, sparrows, finches, and loggerhead shrikes.
Camping
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 $5 fee for non-campers.

Campfires are permitted within designated fire rings. We temporarily do not have firewood available, so please bring your own wood or purchase it from the Saddleback Market, 4 miles south on 170th. DO NOT collect firewood from the park- it is illegal, and dead vegetation provides critical habitat for the desert wildlife.

The group camp has a maximum of 30 people and 12 vehicles; reservations are required through ReserveAmerica.


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Day Use Area
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 our 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.
Trails
Saddleback Butte Trail

From Campground to Saddleback Peak is 4 miles round trip with 1,000-foot elevation gain;Season: October-MayRarely visited Saddleback Butte State Park, located on the eastern fringe of Antelope Valley, is high-desert country, a land of creosote bush and Joshua trees. The park takes the name of its most prominent feature- 3,651-foot Saddleback Butte, a granite mountaintop that stands head and shoulders above Antelope Valley. The Richard Dowen Nature Trail is a good introduction to the Joshua tree and other plant life found in this corner of the desert. The trail to the boulder-strewn summit of Saddleback Peak takes a straight-line course, with most of the elevation gain occurring in the last half mile. From atop the peak, enjoy far-reaching desert views. Directions to trailhead: From Highway 14 (Antelope Valley Freeway) in Lancaster, take the 20th Street exit. Head north on 20th and turn east (right) on Avenue J. Drive 18 miles to Saddleback Butte State Park. Follow the dirt park road to the campground, where the trail begins. Park (day use fee) near the trail sign. The hike: The signed trail heads straight for the saddle. The soft, sandy track, marked with yellow posts leads through an impressive Joshua tree woodland. After 1.5 miles, the trail switchbacks steeply up the rocky slope of the butte. An invigorating climb brings you to the saddle of Saddleback Butte. To reach the peak, follow the steep leftward trail to the summit. From the top, you can look south to the San Gabriel Mountains. At the base of the mountains, keen eyes will discern the California Aqueduct. To the east is the vast Mojave Desert, to the north is Edwards Air Force Base. To the west are the cities of Lancaster and Palmdale and farther west, the rugged Tehachapi Mountains.
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Directions
The park is 17 miles east of Lancaster on 170th Street East, between East Avenue J and East Avenue K.
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Web Site: rwongphoto.com/SoCalCoast.html
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USA Parks
California
Southern California Region
Saddleback Butte State Park
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