Here’s what I learned from a search on Wikipedia:
The rock formations were formed by rapid erosion during uplift about 25 million years ago and later exposed by activity along the San Andreas Fault. In 1873 and 1874, Tiburcio Vásquez, one of California's most notorious bandits, used these rocks to elude capture by law enforcement. His name has since been associated with this geologic feature.
In 1935, Universal Pictures assigned Stanley Bergerman as executive producer on the film Werewolf of London. Bergerman suggested the Vasquez Rocks as the location for what was supposed to be Tibet. Since then, Vasquez Rocks have been used innumerable times in motion pictures, various television series and in moving and still photography advertisements, and continue to be used in them today.
The triangular rock summit can be clearly seen in, for example, an Outer Limits episode called "The Zanti Misfits"; in numerous episodes of The Big Valley; in "Arena", an original series Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk rolls a boulder onto a reptiloid alien called a Gorn; and throughout a Bonanza episode called "Between Heaven and Earth".
The prominent rock formation has been nicknamed "Kirk's Rock" due to being featured in several Star Trek episodes, each time representing a different planet. The use of the rock as a place to struggle with an enemy was echoed in the film Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey twice, once replaying the Gorn Star Trek episode on the TV, and again when title characters are murdered by their doubles at the same location.
The Vasquez Rocks were also used prominently throughout all three seasons of the science-fiction television series Roswell as something of an important location for the main characters and their story. The area is also featured as the location of the Command Center/Power Chamber for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers throughout Power Rangers Turbo. In a Season 5 episode of Friends - "The One with Joey's Big Break" - Joey lands the lead role in a movie being filmed at the Vasquez Rocks (though the peaks are not seen on camera).
Tom Ford's 2009 movie A Single Man shows the characters George (Colin Firth) and Jim (Matthew Goode) lounging on the rocks in a black-and-white flashback scene.
In the Big Bang Theory episode "The Bakersfield Expedition," which aired 2013, the four male protagonists stop here on their road trip to ComicCon in Bakersfield, CA. Since they have Star Trek: The Next Generation themed costumes for the costume contest at ComicCon, they decide to have a brief photo shoot at the Star Trek filming site. Their stop goes horribly wrong when someone steals their car as they are taking pictures.
The rocks surrounding the dragon's castle in Shrek seem to be based on Vasquez Rocks.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We spent our last night in Los Angeles at the home of dear friends Shan and Mary. We had hurried to meet them in a wonderful Spanish restaurant in Pasadena called ‘La Luna Negra’, after watching the sun set from the Santa Monica Pier. It was very generous of Shan and Mary to invite all four of us to stay at their home, giving us time for another leisurely visit. Their two oldest children have been away at college for some time now, and their son is now married, so they insisted they had plenty of room. Their youngest is just about to leave for college in the east, so they will be empty nesters for the first time, something they are not at all sure they are happy about.
As we were getting ready to set off, Shan asked if we had ever visited the Vasquez Rocks north of Los Angeles. He knows we are avid film buffs and pointed out that several movies have been filmed there. That’s all I needed to hear – we just had to make a slight detour to see them. Add that point of interest to the fact that I am crazy about huge rocks in general – Vasquez Rocks was a must see.
We had a great time walking around the strange formations, posing for some photos and even attempting to use the timer on my new camera to get a group shot of the four of us. There were no other visitors around, so we had to make it work. After several attempts, I managed to join the others in time for the shutter to click.
Back in the car, we retraced our route back to the I5 and climbed the hills up into the Los Padres National Forest. We began to see some strange cloud formations in the distance and noted the odd colours in the clouds. Before long, Anil said he thought it was smoke, not clouds and he was right. I pulled over to take some photos and was startled to see the sign beside me on the dirt road. Smokey Bear Rd. How appropriate!
We were fortunate that the winds weren’t blowing the smoke across the highway or we wouldn’t have been able to make it through. At one point, the sun was almost blocked from view and we could see the flames raging off to the west of the highway. We passed a small recreation area and saw helicopters collecting water from the lake to douse the fire.