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
  • The Castle Rock Trail Camps are closed.
  • 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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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. 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.


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