hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

no dogs

birding

forest

Situated in Santa Cruz Mountains, Castle Rock State Park features mossy forests with Douglas-fir, coast redwood, and madrone trees. The park's unusual rock formations are a big hit with rock climbers. The park boasts 32 miles of hiking trails and horseback riding trails that link up with an extensive trail system that connects the Santa Clara and San Lorenzo valleys as well as Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and the Pacific Coast. This beautiful California State Park is great place to take a weekend trip from the San Francisco Bay Area or San Jose and enjoy some bird watching or hit up the picnic areas, but be advised that basic backcountry campsites for backpackers are the only camping option. Equestrians are urged to call ahead for current trail information and due to high fire hazard, smoking is prohibited on the trails within Castle Rock State Park. Dogs are also not allowed on the trails or in the campground.

Beautiful nature. A touching calmness.

Four of us decided to do the Saratoga Gap to Waddell Beach hike all in one day. In order for us to accomplish it form sunrise to sundown we needed to run a good portion of it. We estimate we ran about 15 miles of it with on and off with breaks of course. We are all active, but none of us are long distance or avid runners. The trail is well marked and soft and moderate for the most part. It was difficult and arjurous trek to do in one day. We took 8 hours total with about 1 to 1.5 hours of breaks. We took a long break at big basin where we grabbed a quick bite at the store, then kept going until we hit the beach at 3:45pm.

I would not recommend hiking this entire trail in 1 day unless you can keep a 3.5 mph speed non stop, otherwise you are looking at a 12-14 hike to complete without running.

To the guy that complained about view and there only being redwood trees. He is right there are only redwood trees, lots of them. The only complaint I have is not of the trail itself ,but of the beach. It was very sandy and I got it all over my feet and inside my shoes way too sandy for my taste.

Enjoy!

Beautiful hike through the redwoods. We did it in a day. The only problem was it was a 30 mile hike not 25 as it is called out here. That meant our timing got messed up. We were supposed to reach the sea by sunset and instead had to hike the last part with flashlights and missed the sunset!

....planning this for the first time. gonna break it into two days from big basin. Just not sure how I am getting up to big basin yet...and back home.

After taking a slight detour on to to castle rock trail, we headed back to Saratoga gap trail then on to goat rock trail. Tried to go on a side trail (climbers only trail) seen on this map to bypass backtracking but it is apparently private property— there was even a sketchy red sign saying people should “heed the warnings”.. didn’t risk it. We went left at the fork on Saratoga to castle rock falls first, then back around down (or up rather) ridge trail. Overall, great hike!

It was an amazing trip. Too my dad and I two days. It's best to have someone drop you off at the beginning and pick you up at the end.

backpacking
24 days ago

So we dove head first into this trail as my first backpacking trip. Going in January was a risk but the weather was perfect. We started at Castle Rock staging area and headed towards Waterman Gap. The views here are epic and the trail was a great challenge. My friend and I were very wore out by the time we made it to Waterman Gap. It was a great day. Waterman Gap was a cool little place and we were glad to see there was a bathroom and water. We had our choice of sites since we were the first ones to arrive. I found a good site with perfectly spaced trees for my hammock. We were bummed you can’t have a fire. Woke up the next morning and headed out toward Jay camp. This was by far the toughest day. The climb out of camp is 3 miles long. Anyone that says this is “all downhill” never did this climb! Once we got to the top of China Grade we only had about 4.7 miles to get to Jay camp. We arrived at park headquarters at 4:15 and the gift shop closed at 4:00 so no goodies for us. We hikes to Jay camp and chose site 6 for the night. Barely found trees that worked with my hammock. We slept good and headed out about 9:00. We were both pretty sore headed into day 3 but this was by far the best day. Leaving headquarters brought us deep into the forest that felt like we were in a different world. We had to take a little detour because part of the trail was closed but the atmosphere made it worth while. Another 10.5 miles to the beach!! All in all it was an epic trip. Most of the people we met thought that we were crazy doing this hike as our first backpacking trip but we made it!!!

Great hike. Wear a good pair of hiking shoes, bring two bottles of water, snacks, and a trekking pole to help with the incline.

Great trail, lots to see, nice and peaceful

We didn’t have as much time as we would have liked, but we will definitely be back. This trail has lots of gnarly rocks on either side, which I enjoy. There was a little scrambling to be done in the way to Goat Rock especially, but nothing too bad. You can see across Monterey Bay from the top of Goat Rock!

Very nice hike. Castle Rock falls is very dry compared to the spring but still fun to watch the rock climbers. Parking is always a nightmare if you get here too late. Overall a super fun day out!

Can get a little chilly in the winter months, but offers beautiful views of the forest and valley as well as lush green vegetation. Most parts of the trail are easy, but there are a few rock scrambles, especially around Goat Rock.

backpacking
1 month ago

What should I say, I very much looked forward to this hike after someone had recommended it to me. And then what do you know, last year's rainy season had pretty much closed off the whole trail and I had to wait another 3 months, until April of 2017, to hike it. The anticipation welled and and April had rounded the corner. I'll just get down to business. I was disappointed. More than an entire third of the hike runs alongside a paved road (with cars!). The first trail camp is conveniently located along a tokyo drifting hot-spot and offers bountiful tire-screeching and engine-revving for the no-sleep enthusiasts. The second "trail" camp (Jay's trail camp) isn't even a flipping trail camp. It's at big Basin HQ and let's just say look forward to the crowds and gift shops to complete your wilderness experience. Anywho Berry Creek Falls was pretty cool...

hiking
1 month ago

Overgrown trail. Not clearly marked. Lots of downed trees blocking trail. No great vistas.

great walk and climbs rock.

hiking
1 month ago

Went there few times with friends. Always enjoyed the nice view and trails.

Amazing views of Santa Cruz mountains. Fun trail that winds in and out of forest giving a good workout. Beautiful ‘tafonis’ and variety of trees. Highlight was the goat rock itself where we watched an elderly person free solo the goat rock!

Very nice view.

backpacking
3 months ago

Loved all the scenery, steady slope of trail, cushioned, great weather for mNovember, but the first half of the hike (castle rock to Jay camp) just hugged a road the whole time. My group and I felt like hitchhikers and didn't get the satisfaction that we were hiking deep into the redwoods. Second half was MUCH BETTER (Jay camp to Waddell beach) and would definitely do that section again!

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