Red rock canyon tour

Red Rock Canyon State Park is alive with colors in this 2016 file photo. The Kern County Historical Society will host a virtual tour of the park on Saturday.

If your current plans involve sticking close to home, there's something to add to your list this weekend. The Kern County Historical Society is hosting a virtual tour on Saturday of Red Rock Canyon State Park.

Titled “Fossils, Mining, and the Rudolf Hagen Years,” the Zoom event will be led by Lori Wear, social/digital media manager and state park interpreter II for the Great Basin District.

Located at the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada range where it converges with the El Paso Range, Red Rock Canyon was once home to the Kawaiisu Indians, who left petroglyphs in the El Paso mountains.

The opening along the western edge of the El Paso mountain range was part of the Native American trade route for thousands of years, according to the park's website.

During the early 1870s, 20-mule team freight wagons used the area's colorful rock formations as landmarks when they stopped for water.

Along with significant paleontology sites, the park protects the remains of the 1890s-era mining operations.

German immigrant Rudolph Hagen purchased local mining claims, thus acquiring land in the area. He then operated Red Rock Canyon as a private park. It became a California State Park in 1969.

Because of its natural beauty and distance from civilization, the canyon has served as a filming location for a number of films and TV shows including "Jurassic Park" (1993), Cecil B. DeMille's epic "The Ten Commandments" (1956) and the original 1978-79 TV series "Battlestar Galactica."

The tour will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday via Zoom. Those interested in watching can access it at the Zoom link at kernhistoricalsociety.org (under "Events" tab).

This event is the latest in a monthly series of programs offered by the Kern County Historical Society. In September, Wear led viewers around the Tule Elk State Natural Reserve and Fort Tejon State Historic Park in October.

Events are open to the public and one does not need to be a KCHS member to take part.

KCHS programming for 2021 is still in the works. Visit kernhistoricalsociety.org. for updates.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.