Castle Rock and Goat Rock Trail is a 4.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Los Gatos, CA that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
Great views, challenging hiking in the hills southwest of Silicon Valley. With lush woods, gorgeous vistas, challenging trails and remarkable stone formations, Castle Rock State Park is a highlight reel for hiking in the San Francisco Bay Area. You'll find a fascinating mix to trees -- gnarled oaks, towering Douglas firs, bark-shedding madrones -- but the rocks steal the show. Large formations called "tafoni" (which look like the work of honeybees on steroids) formed over eons as weathering processes gradually reshaped the stone. Castle Rock is the most notable tafoni formation, but there are many more in the park.
Beautiful terrain and rock formations. Trail got very narrow and treacherous in some areas.
We took the Ridge Loop to the Saratoga Gap Loop for a beautiful 5.2 mile hike. Stunning views and a moderate hike with some hills and a small amount of rock climbing. Many shady areas to cool down and enjoy the surroundings, even on a hot day. Halfway through the hike you can go to the campground for bathrooms and to fill your water bottle, if you need. Busy on the weekend, but did not detract from the hike.
Great trail for a casual hike! Aside from climbing through some rocky areas this trail is very easy. It has some pretty great views, just make sure to get there early (8am)! When we got there at 8 there were only a few cars parked and we only saw about 10 people, but on our way out it was a constant stream of people trying to hike...and the parking lot was a nightmare, you won't find parking!
The views here are incredible! Make sure to grab a map... Some spots aren't marked well.
Pretty easy hike with some cool rocks to climb
Beautiful views and decent camp (Castle Rock Trail Camp). Bring bug spray in the summer!
Gosh rock is one of my favorite trails in the bay
First thing you should do is get a map and check it before following a trail post. We made a wrong turn and underestimated a certain pass and add another 2 miles uphill to our hike (which honestly was worth it cause if the views). There's no watering points so bring a little extra water unless you go early, but either way it's fairly shaded.
Overall this is a perfect moderately challenging (depending on route) hike. You can make it longer and more challenging by taking different trails that branch off these trails. The views from goat rock were incredible. The views at the waterfall were meh. Mostly cause the water is down right now so it's basically just a trickle. Not too paved so it feels more natural. And there is wildlife like deer and birds. However, there's a gun club that's active on the weekends and that's annoying for a mile but the sound wore off soon after.
Enjoy this hike, it's really on of the better trails in NorCal!
Pros: Most of the trail is shaded, there are some awesome views along the ridge, camping and rock climbing
Cons: The mid point of the loop is at a lower elevation, so no matter which way you go, you're going uphill on return. (I suggest going clockwise as the incline is more gradual).
Left early, 35 minute drive from San Mateo. Arrived at roughly 8:45 AM on a Sunday. There's only one lot you have to pay admission for; if you arrive early enough, you can find parking on a public lot or road. If you're an intermediate or advanced hiker with experience, I recommend heading out as soon as the park opens up (8:00 AM) to avoid the crowd. Gets packed extremely quickly.
The trail is in no way difficult if you're accustomed to some rock ascents. There are footholds and clearly predominant ways over the rocks due to the high traffic this trail receives. Regardless of age or experience, I recommend bringing a hiking pole to latch onto the next foothold heading up the rocks. That said, roughly 90% of the trail is on loose ground (dirt) as opposed to hard, solid rocks.
This hike should be rated as easy. 5.5 miles, 800 feet of elevation gain can be done in about an hour 30, my father and I were able to do it in an hour 40 with breaks. Great place to bring your children, but I wouldn't suggest letting them go on the lower Saratoga gap trail- it's narrow and there's a steep descent to your right at most times. There's no danger if you're an experienced hiker or cautious. There is, however, a risk that your child may slip and fall.
Don't horseback on the Saratoga gap trail, either. Only 20-25% of the trail is wide enough and safe enough for your horse. Mountain biking is permitted, but it's not a great idea unless you have great experience and above-ample control of your bike.
The waterfall is still active, even in July, but it's a narrow stream at this point. Do not venture here if you're only interested in the waterfall. While most creeks are dry, there is one passing by the waterfall where you let water trickle into your bottle if necessary.
Difficult given its duration but great!