Castle Rock State Park

Reopening Notice (9/13/2020):
The park is reopening for Day Use. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
UPDATE (May 29, 2020) - As California State Parks begins working with locals 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, it is important for visitors to continue to practice physical distancing and avoid congregating with people outside their immediate household. Everyone has the responsibility to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Here are some guidelines for people visiting Castle Rock State Park:

What is open now?
  • Castle Rock State Park is open from 8:00 a.m. to sunset. 
  • The Kirkwood parking lot.
  • Day-use parking fees will be collected at the kiosk. Protective measures are in place for visitor and staff safety. Credit card payments are encouraged.
  • Masks are required at the kiosk in accordance with the Santa Cruz County health order.
  • Trails – Trail systems that allow for social distancing are marked as one-way. Please review the linked trail map prior to visiting to plan your route.
  • Select restrooms in the proximity of the parking lots will be available.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?

At this park:
  • 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
  • Amphitheater at Kirkwood entrance
  • All picnic tables/benches
  • Sempervirens Point and Overflow dirt parking lot


  • Campgrounds.
  • 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?

Yes, please see below:
  • Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking is very limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.
  • Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
  • Stay Covered: Masks are required while paying day-use fees at the kiosk. Please be sure to wear face coverings when you cannot maintain a safe 6-foot distance from others.

Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit

Phone Number

(408) 868-9540

Park Hours

Kirkwood Enterence Station Hours: 9am to 5pm, Monday through Sunday

Day Use Hours: 8am to Sunset.  

Trail Camps require registration or reservations.   

Dogs Allowed?


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.

Environmental Campsites
Hike or Bike Campsites
Hiking Trails
Horseback Riding
Historical/Cultural Site
Interpretive Exhibits
Vista Point
Drinking Water Available

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Due to damage to the water system at the Castle Rock Trail Camp, there is no water available at the campground at this time. 

Potable water available is available at the Kirkwood Entrance on Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) and at Waterman Gap Trail Camp in the southwest corner of the park. Campers at Castle Rock Trail Camp must plan ahead and pack all of the water they we need for their stay before they leave the Kirkwood Entrance.    

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.

Trail Conditions at Castle Rock State Park

Current conditions on the Castle Rock State Park Trails

  • There is NO water available at Waterman Gap Trail Camp or Castle Rock Trail Camp. All water must be packed in.

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.
  • Remember that all trails close at sunset. You need to plan ahead to complete your hike before sunset.
  • ALWAYS carry a map and water. Bring warm clothes and a flashlight in case you get caught out after dark.
  • 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. If you cannot safely cross a blocked or damaged section of trail, you will need to turn around. When in doubt, TURN BACK!

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.


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

Castle Rock Trail Camp is now Part of the Backcounty Trail Camp System

Starting Febuary 10th, Castle Rock Trail Camp will now have 15 of 20 campsites available by reservation only as part of the Backcountry Trail Camp System. You can make reservations by using the visiting the Santa Cruz Mountains Backcountry Trail Camps page.

Castle Rock Trail Camp will still have 5 sites available on a first come first serve basis. To get one for the first come first serve sites, check in with staff at the Robert C. Krikwood Parking Lot on Highway 35. There you will register and pay your fees. Do not hike to the Castle Rock Trail Camp and attempt to find a site before registering at the Robert C. Krikwood Parking Lot.

Castle Rock Trail Camp has trash receptacles, bathrooms, and 20 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings.

There is currently NO WATER avalable at Castle Rock Trail Camp and you will have to hike in all of your water. Castle Rock Trail Camp is a 2.5 mile (4 kilometer) hike from the parking area.  

GathThe Castle Rock Trail Camp will continue to allow fires during the rainy season in the designated metal fire rings. Fires are not allowed during fire season. Signs will be posted indicating whether or not fires are permitted. Do not gather wood for fires. Firewood will be available when fires are allowed and cost $10.00 per bundle. Please bring cash and exact change to purchase fire wood. Please call Castle Rock State Park at (408) 868-9540 to ask about fire closure.

The cost for campsites is $15 per night. This includes overnight parking for one vehicle. Each additional vehicle is $10 per night.