The History Of Vasquez Rocks
Who would guess that the surreal Vasquez formation, cradled in the Soledad basin, was formed by violent earthquake about 25 million years ago? To the western edge of the park lies the San Gabriel mountain range, and to the north are the Sierra Pelonas. Caught in the squeeze between these two major mountain ranges, the magnificent Vasquez formation took shape.
The narrow canyons and unusual rock formations were like home for legendary bandit Tiburcio Vasquez and his men. They not only found safety in its many nooks and crannies, but family and friends lived nearby. Lieutenant Cleovaro Chavez was placed here to handle operations north of the Antelope Valley. Horses were stolen from nearby ranches and exchanged for new ones that Vasquez had stolen further south, to make it less apt for them to be discovered.
By 1856, he was actively rustling horses. A sheriff's posse caught up with him near Newhall, and he spent the next five years behind bars in San Quentin prison.
After his release, Vasquez made attempts to be law abiding, but eventually returned to crime. He was captured after a robbery in 1867 and sent to prison again for a short time.
On May 13, 1874, Vasquez was captured in the Hollywood Hills where he was hold-up at the ranch of a “friend” after years of murder, stage coach robbery, horse thieving and many other crimes. In January 1875 Vasquez was sentenced to hang for murder.In San Jose on March 17, 1875, Tiburcio Vasquez was executed. He was 39 years old.