When on a tour or just exploring the monument please keep in mind: wear sturdy shoes for hiking, bring lunch and plenty of water and carpool if possible.
Other items to consider when you visit: be prepared for intense heat and sun, bring a hat and sunscreen; there is a possibility of muddy roads and changeable weather; pets must be controlled at all times and are not allowed at Painted Rock; rattlesnakes are commonly seen on the monument.
Painted Rock may be visited as part of a BLM guided tour or with a self guided tour permit, according to the following schedule:
- March 1 to July 15: Painted Rock is available to visitation only via BLM guided tours. No other form of public visitation is allowed during this time period.
- July 16 to end of February: Self-guided tour permit is available and required for unguided public access to Painted Rock.
Resevations for the Painted Rock guided tour and self-guided tour must be made at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. For more information on these tours see the Guided Tour & Self-Guided Tour sections below.
The Saucito Ranch Tour and the Painted Rock Guided Tour must be booked through www.recreation.gov either online or by phone at the numbers listed below. There is a $1.50 processing fee for each reservation.
When booking online, search: Carrizo Plain National Monument, then click on "Check Availability"; then select either the "Painted Rock Guided Tour" or the "Saucito Ranch Tour"; then follow the instructions to complete the booking process.
Recreation.gov phone numbers
Tour reservations (toll free) 1-877- 444-6777
International reservations 518-885-3639
Customer Service (toll free) 1-888-448-1474
Reservations must be made at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. This tour is normally offered once a year. The tour starts at the Goodwin Education Center off of Soda Lake Road and will caravan up to the ranch. Visitors should bring a sack lunch to enjoy while sitting on the ranch house veranda at the tour conclusion. The El Saucito Ranch has the distinction of having the oldest standing historic house on the monument and is the only ranch on the monument to have been occupied from the pioneer period to modern time. Historic sites such as the El Saucito Ranch are special places that tell us a story about the heritage of California. The tour includes a short hike around the grounds of the ranch, descriptions of the facilities and the operation of the historic ranch, and stories about the way life was 100+ years ago on the Carrizo Plain. The 2016 tour of Saucito Ranch is scheduled for April 3, 2016.
Reservation must be made at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. This tour is normally offered on Saturdays from mid-March through May. The tour begins at the Goodwin Education Center (please don't park in Education Center parking lot, look for the Painted Rock Tour Parking sign and park there), check in with the Education Center staff when you arrive. After an introduction and brief history, the group caravans to the Painted Rock parking lot for lunch (participants provide own sack lunch). After lunch, the group hikes approximately 2/3 mile to Painted Rock. Although the path does not have a significant change in elevation, it is not handicapped accessible. The tour then returns and ends at the Goodwin Education Center.
NOTE: Time spent within the Painted Rock alcove may be limited to protect prairie falcons or other nesting birds. Also, tours may be cancelled due to rainy weather, impassible roads and/or to protect natural resources.
For additional information about heritage sites on the monument please visit our Heritage Sites webpage.
- Painted Rock Self Guided Tour Permit
From July 16 to the end of February a self-guided tour permit is available and required for unguided public access to Painted Rock.
This tour must be booked through www.recreation.gov either online or by phone at the numbers listed above. There is a $1.50 processing fee for each reservation. When booking online, search: Carrizo Plain National Monument, then click on "Check Availability"; select the "Painted Rock Self Guided Tour"; then follow the instructions to complete the booking process.
For additional details on heritage sites on the monument please visit our Heritage Sites webpage.
- Geology Self Guided Tours
A self-guided, interpretive trail has been constructed at Wallace Creek and along a portion of the San Andreas fault. Brochures are available at the trail head, from the Bakersfield Office and the Education Center. Signs and a detailed brochure provide information about the San Andreas Fault and aid visitors in identifying features along this famous fault. If you would like to learn more about the geology of the Carrizo Plain please check out these links:
- Traver Ranch Self Guided Tour
We have assembled a display of old farm equipment at Traver Ranch. A self guided tour brochure is available for download.
This tour covers many of the outstanding features of the Monument:
- Introduction and History
- Stop 1: Soda Lake
- Stop 2: Goodwin Education Center
- Stop 3: Wallace Creek