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Castle Rock State Park, Los Gatos
(4.6/5 based on 65+ reviews on the web)
Castle Rock State Park is a state park of California, USA, located along the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains. It embraces coast redwood, Douglas fir, and madrone forest, most of which has been left in its wild, natural state. Steep canyons are sprinkled with unusual rock formations that are a popular rock climbing area. The forest here is lush and mossy, crisscrossed by 32mi of hiking trails. These trails are part of an even more extensive trail system that links the Santa Clara and San Lorenzo valleys with Castle Rock State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and the Pacific Coast. Castle Rock is the starting point of the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, a 30mi trail that leads to Waddell Beach north of Santa Cruz. There are two walk-in campgrounds within the park for overnight backpacking. The 5242acre park was established in 1968.LocationThe park is located on California State Route 35 just 2.5mi southeast of the junction with State Route 9. It is located almost entirely in Santa Cruz County.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Great place for a hike and loads of cool rocks to clamber up and caves to explore. Must visit with kids 
  • We went to this park for the first time this week. It was overall a great park, with lots of scrambling over rocks, if you like that sort of thing. Castle Rock itself is NOT to be missed -- the rock f...  more »
  • Great place to visit, only about 30 min away from the city. nice, leasure drive on highway 9 short 1 mile easy hike to Castle Rock, and another 1.5mile to the waterfall. What is unusual about this wat...  more »
Google
  • Castle Rock is a really nice place but I don't enter the park from it's main entrance (since there is a gun shooting range nearby). Enter from Skyline/highway 9 and hike on the Saratoga Toll Road/skyline to the sea down to waterman gap (a place to camp, permit required) and connect to big basin state park, another great place. It's a challenging hike especially when returning, since it's back uphill to the start. Make sure to return to the vista parking area on time where you parked on skyline/9 or you will will pay the price upon your return. In general, any park is a great park and all parks seem to be safe. I usually go alone, this way if I want to do 10 miles, I will. If there is nice scenery I can take photos. If I want to go fast or slow, I can. Do what you want to do. Enjoy!
  • We had a remarkable trip - once we found it! The directions you get the with the reservation are terrible. The campground was well maintained and the showers/bathrooms were phenomenal. We were there during the week and basically had the campground to ourselves - it was great. Really great access to the park and to City of Rocks. The stores in Almo both have anything you need/forget. Highly recommend !
  • One of the jewels in the California State Park System with lots of climbing rocks, interesting trails, and expansive vista, plus a campground. Two cons, one is the Los Altos Gun club sits near the campground and it is noisy. And second, like most of the State Park System, there's been a lot of deferred maintenance. Maybe when the new entrance and parking lot are done things will improve but it will probably become much more crowded as well.
  • Apart from the crowds on the weekend, this place is a gem within reach of the Bay. Rock climbing and hiking friendly. Sad that dogs (even leashed) are not allowed. I would go here so much more if that were the case.
  • Castle Rock is a fun playground for climbers of all levels. Bring a crash pad or two and enjoy a nice day of crushing boulders. Some of the grades seem a bit sandbagged for those of us who aren't regulars to these rocks. But like all crags, once you're use to the rocks, climbs seem easier. There are rope climbing routes throughout the park, as well. Tip: Like others have mentioned, get here early to find parking.