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Castle Rock State Park
Due to the catastrophic failure of Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) south of the Castle Rock main lot, visitors cannot access the park from Black Road, Summit Road, or Bear Creek Road. It is still possible to access the Castle Rock main lot from Highway 9, Alpine Road, Page Mill Road and other points north of Castle Rock State Park on Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35). There is no estimate as to when this road will be repaired.
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.
Primitive campsites for backpackers are the only overnight facilities. Equestrians are urged to call ahead for current trail information, and smokers are advised that, due to high fire hazard, smoking is prohibited on the trails within Castle Rock State Park.
Location - Directions
The park is located on Highway 35, just 2.5 miles southeast of the junction with Highway 9.
Latitude / Longitude: 37.2317 / -122.1158
Facilities - Activities
Castle Rock State Park offers 34 miles of trails.
Dogs are not allowed at Castle Rock State Park. 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.
Cars/Motorcycles/ and other vehicles are not permitted on any trail in the park.
A backcountry trail camp offers 20 sites that are first-come, first serve. To read about trail camps in State Parks in the Santa Cruz Mountains, please CLICK HERE
Castle Rock Parking area has a vehicle day-use of $8. Please bring cash.
There is no visitor center or store.
Summer weather is hot and dry. In winter, mountain peaks may be dusted with snow, and temperatures can drop below freezing. In any season, the weather can change quickly.
• Park hours are from 6 a.m. to sunset, including all trails. Only campers registered in backpack trail camps may remain in the park overnight.
• Except for service animals, dogs are prohibited throughout the park.
• Glass containers and smoking are prohibited throughout the park.
• Bicycles may be ridden only on the Skyline and Service Road trails.
• Horses are permitted on designated equestrian trails only. Please check the map before your ride.
• 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.
• Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.
• Please respect private property rights and stay on designated trails.
• All natural and cultural features are protected by law. Do not pick wildflowers, mushrooms, or other plants, or remove any park feature. Do not deface rocks with graffiti or feed, disturb, or harm wildlife.
• Beware of rattlesnakes, ticks, and poison oak in camp and on trails.
Available Activities and Facilities at Castle Rock State Park
Hike or Bike Campsites
Drinking Water Available