Our next stop on abandoned Route 66 is in Southern California. Welcome to the old Lake Dolores Rock-A-Hoola Water Park!
In the 1950s, wealthy businessman Bob Byers built a private resort just east of Barstow California, and created a man-made lake fed by the Mojave Springs, which he named Lake Dolores. Being a businessman, Byers saw an opportunity to bring in some business, and opened a public campground near the lake in 1962. The campground attracted travelers who went along Route 66 and eventually I-15, and over the next couple decades, rides and attractions were added to expand the area and turn it into a water park. Some of these rides included bumper boats, swings, a Jet Ski race track, rafts that went down man-made rivers, and water slides that were as tall as 150-feet high. Also available were swimming pools; some of which had high dives.
The park reached its peak of popularity in the 1970s and early 1980s before declining at the end of the 1980s and falling into disrepair.
In 1990, Byers sold the park to an investment group who spent a few years renovating it, and in 1998, the park opened as Rock-a-Hoola and had been carefully designed to have a 1950’s Route 66 western theme. The old rides had been removed and new ones were added. The attraction drew travelers off of Interstate 15, but the hype over Rock-a-Hoola Park was short-lived.
In 1999, an employee of the park used one of the water slides after the park was closed, and there wasn’t enough water in the pool below. The tragic accident resulted in this employee becoming paralyzed and the park being held responsible and having to fork over 4.5 million to this employee. In February 2000, the park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the property was returned to Dolores Byers.
One month before her death, she sold the park in 2001 to another investment group, and the park was reopened in 2002 under the name Discovery Water Park, but this water park was only open on weekends and didn’t bring in enough business. It struggled through the years of 2002 and 2003. A group of athletes tried to purchase the park in 2003 to open it as a youth camp, and their efforts to salvage the park showed promise but unfortunately the plans fell through. In 2004, the water park closed down for good.
Today, much of the park is overgrown and vandalized. Some of the drained pools are used as a skateboarding park . Some of the rides were taken and fixed up to be a part of other water parks. One of the water slides from Lake Dolores Park is now known as the Colossal Canyon at a water park in Canada.
Only time will tell what the future of this park will be, but for right now, it remains a dusty ruin and a reminder that all things come to an end.