Sunrise to sunset
Trail Camps require registration or reservations.
Castle Rock State Park
Winter Conditions at Caste Rock State Park
All trails currently OPEN, but please keep in mind the following:
- Please check with staff at the Entrance Station to see if your planned route is safe and passable.
- Expect to find down trees. You will need to climb over, around, or under them. If you cannot get safely past down trees, you will need to turn back. You are responsible for gauging what you can safely cross. When in doubt, TURN BACK!
- Trail conditions are always changing, so please be aware that you may come across blocked trails that we do not know about. Please be prepared to turn back. As always, when in doubt, TURN BACK!
- During the Winter, wet roads and trails, down trees, and other obstructions can delay rescue. Please plan ahead with warm cloths, flashlights and other emergency supplies in case you are trapped in the backcountry overnight.
NO WATER AT CASTLE ROCK TRAIL CAMPDue to damaged to the water system at the Castle Rock Trail Camp, there is no water available at this time.
All campers and hikers will have pack in all of the water they will need for their trip.
The only potable water available in Castle Rock State Park is at Waterman Gap Trail Camp in the southwest corner of the park.
We are working to fix the problem as quickly as possible but the system will be out for the foreseeable future.
Thank you for your understanding as we work to fix the problem.
Visiting Castle Rock
Castle Rock State Park is a land of sculpted sandstone, lush forests, and sweeping vistas. From one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains, park visitors enjoy hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding. Rock climbers explore the park's caverns and rocks, including the namesake Castle Rock. Plant-lovers come for California black oaks, knobcone pines, and high-elevation coast redwoods. The park’s 34 miles of rugged trails conveniently connect to an extensive trail system that links the Santa Clara and San Lorenzo valleys to nearby Big Basin Redwoods State Park and open space preserves on the Skyline to the Sea Trail.
Basic Park Information
*Please note there is no visitor center or store facilities at Castle Rock.
FEES: There is a $8 vehicle day-use fee. [Regular Sized Auto: $8 (Senior $7, age 62 or older); Bus Parking (10-24 passengers): $50; Bus Parking (25+ passengers): $100]
*Please bring cash*
NO CELL RECEPTION within the park and the surrounding area. Due to this, ridesharing services are not recommended.
DOGS are prohibited throughout the park (except for service animals). Nearby Sanborn County Park allows dogs.
HORSES are allowed on Saratoga Toll Road which extends from Saratoga Gap to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
BICYCLES are allowed on the Skyline Trail (Bay Area Ridge Trail) located on the north side of Highway 35.
DRONES are not allowed in the park. To protect wildlife and cultural resources, and for the safety and welfare of visitors and staff, the park is closed to the use of Model Aircraft, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and Gliders in flight.
GLASS CONTAINERS are prohibited through out the park.
SMOKING is prohibited through out the park.
FIREARMS or any device capable of harming any person or animal are prohibited— including BB guns, spears, bows, arrows and slingshots.
FIRES are permitted only in designated fire rings in the Castle Rock Trail Camp during the OFF fire season. Gathering firewood, including twigs and leaves, is prohibited. Firewood is sold at the Castle Rock Trail Camp.
RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY rights and stay on designated trails.
NATURAL & CULTURAL FEATURES ARE PROTECTED BY LAW - Do not pick wildflowers, mushrooms, or other plants, or remove any park features. Do not deface rocks with graffiti or feed, disturb, or harm wildlife.
WEDDINGS, PARTIES, AND SPECIAL EVENT PERMITS please call (831) 335-6324 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Castle Rock Trail Camp
The Castle Rock Trail Camp is open year round on a first-come, first-serve basis. The campground is a 2.5 mile (4 kilometer) hike from the parking area and you will have to carry all of your equipment into the camp. Castle Rock Trail Camp has trash receptacles, bathrooms, and 20 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings. Wood is available for sale during the wet season. Fires are not allowed during fire season. The cost is $15 per campsite per night. This includes overnight parking for one vehicle. Each additional vehicle is $8 per night. To register and pay your fees, check in at the Entrance Station at the Castle Rock parking lot. If you arrive when the station is not staffed, you can use the self-registration envelopes. Make sure you bring exact change or a check to use in case you must use the self-registration. Place your receipt on the dashboard in a visible place as proof of payment. Rangers will verify payment. For more information about camping and fire closure dates, please call Castle Rock State Park at (408) 867-2952. For more information and reservations for Waterman Gap Trail Camp, please visit the Santa Cruz Mountain State Parks Backcountry Trail Camp Page. California State Parks offers naturalist-led backpacking adventures in the Santa Cruz Mountains. For more information, please click here.