Giant Rock, Landers

4.5
Geologic Formation · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Giant Rock is a large freestanding boulder in the Mojave Desert directly adjacent to Landers, California, that covers 5,800 square feet (540 m2) of ground and is seven stories high. Giant Rock was purported to be the largest free standing boulder in the world until a large piece broke off in 2000.
Native Americans of the Joshua Tree, California, area consider it to be sacred. In the 1930s, Frank Critzer moved to Giant Rock. Inspired by desert tortoises that dig holes in which to cool themselves, Critzer dug out a home on the north side of the rock using dynamite. He engineered a rainwater-collection system and a tunnel for ventilation. The underground home was reportedly never hotter than 80 degrees and never cooler than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Critzer built an airstrip on the nearby ancient lakebed, which averaged a plane a day by 1941. Critzer perished in a self-detonated dynamite explosion in his underground rooms on July 24, 1942, while being investigated by local police. In the 1950s it was a gathering point for UFO believers. It is located on land which was at that time leased by George Van Tassel, a friend of Critzer's, a purported flying-saucer contactee and organizer of UFO conventions. In 1947, Van Tassel, a former aircraft inspector, leased the property from the Bureau of Land Management and left Los Angeles and moved to Giant Rock with his wife and three children. Van Tassel also built the nearby Integratron and a cafe, store, gas station and a small airport in the vicinity, which he operated from 1947 to 1975. Shortly before the turn of the 21st century, Giant Rock fractured in two, revealing an interior of white granite. The exterior surface of the rock is partially covered in graffiti.
A visit to Giant Rock represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Landers road trip app to plot your vacation.
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Giant Rock reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
24 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Cleaning out the garage and found these old photos we took a few days after Giant Rock Split. It’s a shame people rushed to destroy it with oil and paint.  more »
  • We had to drive in the desert to get to the Giant Rock. At first we saw lots of rocks on the mountain. We were not alone. They were two other people. The Giant Rock had lost a sliver of his Giant....  more »
Google
  • Lots of trash, graffiti, toilet paper all over the place. Good for a free night of camping I guess but I wouldn't repeat. Roads in are rough and full of moguls. It's a shame people have to leave their trash out here, if this place was not trashed it would be 4 stars. 5 if the road in wasn't a festival of dune buggy woopdiedoos.
  • Nice place to Camp hang out and ride no bathrooms or anything so you're on your own a lot less hustle and bustle than going to other writing areas and less dust can go for day rides never hit the end of a trail just make sure you know your way back to camp

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