Castle Rock State Park

Update (April 21, 2021) With the Regional Stay at Home Order lifted, State Parks is reopening campground sites for existing reservation holders. The department will be using a phased approach to reopen other campground sites for new reservations, starting January 28. The public is advised that not all campground sites are open to the public due to the pandemic, wildfire impacts and other issues. Additionally, group campsites remain closed. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public remain open.

As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.

Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.

What is open now?
  • Kirkwood parking lot
  • Sempervirens Point and overflow dirt parking lot
  • Select restrooms near the parking lots
  • Trails 
  • Falls Overlook
  • Interpretive Shelter and connector trails leading to the Interpretive Shelter
  • Connector trails leading to Castle Rock trail camps and trailhead for Skyline to the Sea Trail
  • Masks are required at the kiosk when paying parking fees. Credit card payments are encouraged.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
  • All picnic tables/benches
  • Castle Rock trail camps
  • Amphitheater at Kirkwood entrance

Statewide:
  • Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
  • High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
  • Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:

  • Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time. 
  • Plan Ahead
    • The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
    • Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
    • SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
  • Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day. 
    • Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
    • Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
  • Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
  • Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.

Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.

California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(408) 868-9540

Park Hours

Kirkwood Entrance Station Hours: 8am to 5pm, Monday through Sunday

Day Use Hours: 6am to Sunset.  

Trail Camps require registration or reservations.   

Dogs Allowed?

No

Driving Directions to Castle Rock SP

The park is located on Highway 35, just 2 1/2 miles southeast of the junction with Highway 9.

Online reservations are not available for this park.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
Environmental Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
TRAIL USE
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Historical/Cultural Site
Interpretive Exhibits
Vista Point
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Drinking Water Available

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Parking at Castle Rock State Park

The main Castle Rock parking lot at 15451 Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) has been filling to capacity on weekends and holidays. In order to get a place to park and avoid a parking citation, please follow this advice:


  • Arrive Early - The earlier you arrive the better chance you have to find parking. Castle Rock State Park is open for day use from 6am to Sunset. The Kirkwood Lot opens at 8am. Remember that all vehicles will need to pay an $10.00 parking fee so bring exact change to self-register in case you arrive before the entrance station opens.
  • Come on a Weekday - Avoid the crowds and come during the week.
  • Car Pool - Fewer cars your group brings, the more space we save for other parks users. Plus, its better for the planet
  • Park in an Alterative Parking Area - There are a number of parking areas along Highway 9 south of Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35). These parking areas give access to the same great system of trails and are FREE to use. Check out the Park Map for locations of other parking areas.
  • Take a Good Look for No Parking Signs - No parking signs are posted along Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) to restrict parking in areas which impact or endanger others along the highway. Please look for no parking signs and do not park in restricted areas. Rangers and Highway Patrol Officers issue citations.     
  • Do Not Park in the Roadway - If you park along the highways, make sure ALL of your vehicle including side view mirrors are all the way out of the roadway to the right of the white line at the road edge.  

By keeping in mind these tips, you should be able to avoid a parking citation and find a place to park and enjoy Castle Rock State Park.

Visiting Castle Rock

Castle Rock State Park ViewCastle 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 $10 vehicle day-use fee. [Regular Sized Auto: $10 (Senior $9, 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.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING STATIONS are available.

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 mtnspecevent@parks.ca.gov.