Digital-Desert : Mojave Desert
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Rock Formations - Cajon Pass

Mormon Rocks

Mormon Rocks rock formation in the Cajon Pass
Mormon Rocks located about 1 mile west of the Interstate 15 freeway north of Highway 138 is recognizable to nearly everyone who has ever traveled the freeway from the Cajon Pass to Las Vegas. These familiar formations appear to welcome travelers to the Mojave Desert.


The sandstone was pushed up by a sub-fault of the San Andreas fault and further revealed by the Mojave Block changing direction in slope toward Death Valley rather than the ocean.

Older maps of the area show the formation as being called the Rock Candy Mountains. Local legend has it that the rocks were named for the Mormon pioneers who camped here after their descent from the pass ridgeline. Another legend calls the rocks the 'Chanting Rocks,' as when the wind would blow across the portholes in the rocks it was said the sound made was similar to a low chanting or singing.

Since the color and composition appears to be the same as the rocks at the Devil's Punchbowl, 35 miles to the west, it has been suggessted that both were once the same and that with movement along the San Andreas these two formations were split apart. Scientific examination of fossils found between the two show that they are two separate formations.

Mormon Rocks Interpretive Trail

Beginning elevation is 3360 feet. This 1-mile loop trail was built by the Forest Service fire engine crew in 1975. It provides visitors with the chance to hike to a ridge to gain great views of the Mormon Rocks. These striking sandstone formations are riddled with small holes and caves; home of the owl, lizard, and pack rat. In the cliffs watch for White-throated Swifts, hawks, and ravens. In the chaparral look for coast horned lizards, California Thrashers, and Western Kingbirds. All along the trail there are excellent views of the Mormon Rocks and Cajon Pass area. An interpretive brochure may be available at the trailhead, or is also obtainable at the Lytle Creek Ranger Station or at this link. The trail begins at the Mormon Rocks fire station located on Highway 138 just west of Interstate 15. The historic Mormon Trail of the previous century passed through this valley of geological curiosity.

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ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - glossary
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