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Central Coast Field Office

Joaquin Rocks Area of Critical Environmental Concern 

view of Joaquin Rocks, photo E. Zaborsky BLM
View of Joaquin Rocks (BLM Photo)


Permit Required for Access

Access to the Joaquin Rocks Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) requires travel through the Serpentine ACEC of the Clear Creek Management Area.  In order to travel through the Serpentine ACEC, each person must get a Serpentine ACEC Access Permit.  These permits are for day use only, and if camping overnight at Joaquin Rocks a permit must be obtained for each day of travel through the Serpentine ACEC (one for the day of arrival and one for the day of departure).  Each person is limited to 5 Serpentine ACEC Access Permits per year.  Beginning August 27, 2014 this permit can be acquired at the Recreation.gov*.

*A service fee is charged by Recreation.gov for each permit that is processed.

Permits can no longer be obtained at the Central Coast Field Office

Rugged and remote, three 300-foot high sandstone monoliths jut from Joaquin Ridge and are visible from Interstate-5.  The clearing below the Rocks was the site of a religious encampment during the 1880’s and possible location of the fabled "Joaquin's gold" - reputedly hidden there by the legendary figure Joaquin Murieta.

View of the southern San Joaquin Valley from the Rocks, photo by E. Zaborsky BLM
View of the San Joaquin Valley from the rocks (BLM Photo)

Tread lightly in this pristine area and pack out what you pack in.  Watch out for poison oak around the base of the Rocks.  In the summer months the area is hot and dry so be sure to bring plenty of extra water.  Hunting opportunities offer deer, wild pig, and upland game birds like quail.

Obscured view of Joaquin Rocks through dense vegetation, photo by E. Zaborsky BLM
Joaquin Rocks (BLM Photo)

There are seasonal vernal pools on top of the Rocks which teem with invertebrate life during the spring and provide water for wildlife into the summer season.  These microhabitat vernal pools are precious resources; please do not throw trash or anything else into these pools.

A falcon looks down from its nest on one of the Rocks, photo E. Zaborsky BLM
Falcon resting on the rocks (BLM Photo)

Directions:  From the entrance to the Clear Creek Management Area, follow R1 to R11.  Turn onto R11 and follow it to the end of the road.


Bureau of Land Management
Central Coast Field Office
940 2nd Avenue
Marina, CA 93933
Phone: (831) 582-2200
Fax: (831) 582-2266
Office Hours: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., M-F
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