Castle Rock Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"This trip climbs steeply up the forested mountainside. You follow a trail to
the foot of the rock; then it is a Class 3 scramble to the summit. Wear boots with
good tread. Do it when a breeze freshens the mountains; perhaps you will be able
to hear the soft wail of the forlorn Serrano Indian princess who waited for her
husband on Castle Rock."
--John W. Robinson with David Money Harris, 100 Hikes in Southern California: San Bernardino Mountain Trails (Wilderness Press).
"This trail is classic Big Bear. Towering lodgepole pines sway in the wind well more than a hundred feet overhead. The air is crisp and vibrant here; this is one Southern California vale that routinely escapes the smog and haze. Lake views open up almost immediately, and the final destination sits less than a mile from the trailhead. Large granite boulders crop up everywhere; this is the reason the area nearby is fittingly called Boulder Bay. A small stream trickles by and deposits water in the lake from along- side the trail throughout late spring and during the rainy/snowy part of the year. If the trail were flat, this would be a perfect place for ambling through the forest. It isn’t flat, though, and most people would be hard pressed to call this strolling of any sort."
--Allen Riedel, Best Hikes with Dogs: Southern California (The Mountaineers Books).
"The ridge south of Big Bear Lake is studded with granite outcrops. Castle Rock is the largest and most interesting, regularly drawing rock climbers to its steep walls. A scrambling route around the backside leads agile hikers to the summit. Castle Rock offers some of the most spectacular views of Big Bear Lake because it towers above the trees that obstruct views from most points around the lake."
--David & Jennifer Money Harris, Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire (Wilderness Press).
"Follow the trail as it climbs rather steeply over 600 feet in around half a mile. The steepness is sure to provide a workout, though the short distance makes getting to the top fairly simple. The trail is generally easy to follow, though in spots where it is particularly rocky painted arrows help guide the way. There are several spots to scramble atop the formation known as Castle Rock, which is easy to make out from the trail at about 0.75 mile, because it truly towers above the forest below like the hardened battlements of a fortress. A spectacular view of the lake makes Castle Rock a nice rest stop."
--Allen Riedel, 100 Classic Hikes in Southern California (The Mountaineers Books).
This was a great little hike. Easy enough if you have kids. Great views from the top, especially for the little effort it takes to get there. You can get al the way to Castle Rock from the trail, but if you want to get to the top, be prepared for a little scrambling over large boulders. All in all great fun!
Climbing the Castle Rock trail is steep and you encounter very high steps as you navigate your way up the trail. Once you reach the top the trail goes through some very beautiful meadows and forrest. It took approximately 5 hours for us to do a complete round trip.
This is a short hike with a great view of Big Bear Lake. Our dogs had a blast and were very dirty. This trail is poorly marked and very dusty. Since the vegetation is sparse in some areas, it's sometimes impossible to tell the difference between a dried up water runoff and the actual trail. However it's easy to use the lake as a point of reference for directions. I may try this trail again in the winter or spring. It is too dusty in the fall.
Great trail although you loose it very often on the way up.
I had a a GPS system and still lost the trail several times.
It is quite steep the first mile, then levels off and forks after 1.3 miles.
This was the first hiking trail I did in Big Bear, and continues to be my favorite every time I come back. It is easy to lose the trail, you can hike around the "back country". As long as you keep the lake view as a reference point, you'll know how to get back. Great boulders for climbing, the views are beyond spectacular! Coming back is great, when you're hot and sweaty, the way back is all down hill! A must-see.
Sign in/up to upload photos.