Castle Rock State Park

Los Gatos, California

Castle Rock State Park Professional Review and Guide

"Castle Rock Park is on one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The hike features great variety: cool, dark mixed forests, creeks and a seasonal waterfall, dry, manzanita-lined ridges, grassy hills, oak savannah and above all rock formations. The boulders come in amazing shapes with curves, crevices and caves. On weekends you will see climbers navigate their way up 90-degree rock faces with chalky fingers. The giant boulder that gives the park its name sits in high woodland toward the end of the hike. There are interpretive exhibits and scenic overlooks that show off the park’s 3,661 acres and over 50 miles of hiking paths. Bring water (limited facilities) and dress in layers. If you are looking for a rewarding backpacking trip, try the three-day, 30-mile Skyline to the Sea Trail that starts at the trailhead for Saratoga Gap through Castle Rock and Big Basin redwoods ending at the sea by Año Nuevo, mostly downhill. This eTrail also includes suggested nearby attractions, camping & lodging, restaurants, and local outdoor retailers."

Castle Rock State Park Reviews

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon2 Total
Really nice hike, even on a crowded Sunday. Lots of time under forest canopy, then an extended period exposed to full sun (warm in July!). Great views over huge forested valleys leading towards Santa Cruz - who knew we had all that wilderness right here?! We did the Rocks loop (.8 mile) then the "short" loop (3.1 miles) towards the campground - turned arouind at the interconnnecting trail - and it was the perfect length. If it's warm, go in the AM or very late afternoon to avoid baking and bring about twice the amount of water that you normally bring for a 2 hour jaunt - it really cooks in summer.
Nice walk, but very warm in exposed areas. Bring plenty of water. Sounds from gun range very annoying in parts.

Castle Rock State Park Photos

Trail Information

Los Gatos
Nearby City
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
3 hours
Year-round, 8:00 a.m. to sunset
3,000 feet
Trailhead Elevation
3,150 feet
Top Elevation
Castle Rock State Park
Local Contacts

Activity Feed

Jun 2018