Along the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park embraces coast redwood, Douglas-fir, and madrone forest, most of which has been left in its wild, natural state. Steep canyons are sprinkled with unusual rock formations that are popular with rock climbers. The forest here is lush and mossy, crisscrossed by 32 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails. These trails are part of an even more extensive trail system that links the Santa Clara and San Lorenzo valleys with Castle Rock State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and the Pacific Coast. 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. Dogs are not allowed on the trails or in the campground. The park is located on Highway 35, just 2 1/2 miles southeast of the junction with Highway 9.
Super pretty super short canopy covered trail through enchanting trees and massive rock formations. I love it.
This hike is easy as pie. It's more like a nature walk with little elevation change. It is great for those days where you don't want to commit to anything hard but still want to smell the forest. I loved it.
4 of us did this hike in one day starting from Highway 9/35 at about 6am and were at waddell beach by 6pm. Strenuous.. yes but loved every single moment of it. Highly recommended! We are not serious hikers or anything like that... just wanted to challenge ourselves. If you are thinking of doing it in 1 day, I'd say its possible. It does require some planning i.e., the day before we drove to Waddell Beach and parked one car there (can't depend on Uber/Lyft to come there) and came all the way back to Saratoga to start our hike early in morning next day. Check the iPhone/health app image (badge of honor :))