Saddleback Butte State Park

 17102 E Avenue J
Lancaster, California

Saddleback Butte towers thousands of feet above thehigh-desert landscape of Joshua trees and creosote. Take a leisurely stroll throughthe quiet habitat, or a challenging 2.5 mile hike to the peak - the breathtakingview across the Mojave Desert is worth every step! Animals scurry about in the evening,and springs bring carpets of wildflowers. The park features a picnic area, campground, and visitorcenter with a museum and short self-guided nature trail.

The best time to visit is in the springtime (Februarythrough May) when wildflowers are apt to put on a beautiful display ofcolor.  Autumn (October and November) ispleasant as well, although temperatures may vary widely and change rathersuddenly.  Summer temperaturesaverage  95º F and occasionally range ashigh as 115º F, but evenings are peaceful with warm breezes and clearskies.  Average minimum temperatureduring the winter is 33º F (frost and sub-freezing temperatures are common,with occasional snow).

Hiking 

The Little Butte Trail is about 2.5 miles to the peak andcan be picked up from below the day-use area, or take the 2-mile SaddlebackButte Peak Trail from the trailhead parking area in the campground.  The trails begin on a mild slope throughmoderately loose sand among creosote bushes and Joshua trees to the base of thebutte where they merge.  It then becomesa challenging climb up sand and rock, but the finale is worth every step.  At the top, enjoy a breathtaking 360° viewover the Antelope Valley and east across the Mojave Desert.  For a nice moderate 3-mile loop, go up onetrail to where they merge, come back down on the other, and then return on thepark's gravel road to the trailhead where you started.  Day-use vehicle entrance fee applies

Domestic dogs are not allowed on trails in California StateParks (with the exception of service dogs), to retain the welcoming habitat forwildlife that the park was created for. Dogs are allowed in the day-use and campground areas and along the 2/3mile park road in between, on a 6-foot leash.

The short self-guided Dic Dowen Nature Trail is located atthe Visitor Center in the day-use area, with information on the natural historyof the park and area.

Day-Use Facility 

Day-use facilities within the park include 27 picnic siteswith tables and barbecue grills, each with ramadas for protection from the sunand wind.  Water and pit toilets are locatednear the picnic area. 

Visit the park office and visitor center, located at theentrance to the day-use area, featuring displays and hands-on exhibits aboutthe natural and cultural history and geology of the area.

Camground Facilities 

The family campground is first-come, first-served and offers50 units with tables, stoves, fire rings, and shade ramadas.  Potable water spigots and full restrooms witha flush toilet and sink are located throughout the campground (noshowers).  Eight people maximum percampsite.  There is a 30-foot max forcampers/RVs.  Use of the RV dump stationis free for paid campers, or a $6 fee for non-campers.

Campfires are permitted within designated fire rings.  DO NOT collect firewood from the park- it isillegal, and dead vegetation provides critical habitat for the desertwildlife.  Firewood may be purchased fromthe camp host for $5 (proceeds go to our non-profit support association).Firewood bundles are also available at the Saddleback Market, 4 miles south ofthe park.

The Joshua Group Camp holds a maximum of 30 people and 12vehicles; contact the Mojave Sector Office at (661) 946-6092 or by email tomake a reservation. Group camp site is $100 per night; cash or check only.

Location/Directions 

The park is 17 miles east of Lancaster on 170th Street East,between East Avenue J and East Avenue K.

From Highway 14, take the Avenue K exit and go east to 170thstreet East. Turn left, and the campground entrance is shortly on the right;the day-use area is 1 mile further down at Avenue J.

From Highway 15, take Highway 138 west, and turn right on165th Street East. It curves around and becomes 170th, continue on 170th toEast Avenue K and J.

Links

Saddleback Butte: Brochure
California Department of Parks and Recreation: Saddleback Butte State Park 
Facebook Page: Saddleback Butte State Park