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.

Beautiful redwood groves - one qualm is being near the highway for a pretty good stretch but minimal traffic.

great trail started off by the nutmug trail took it down to the medows and continued on for about ten miles ....the journey down was breath taking but the jouny back up was a different story...lol

The correct track name is Saratoga Gap Loop. The track is considered average in difficulty, in time from 1.5 to 3 hours. I went for 1 hour 33 minutes, including small stops to take pictures. It was hot, but bearable, if you walk in the shade of trees, that it was impossible to do about 1/3 of the route.

Note: We did not complete the full loop because we were running out of sunlight (and we had kids with us), so we took the inter-connector trail from Saratoga Gap Trail to Ridge Trail to head back sooner. That said- what we did experience was amazing! My husband and I each wore a kid in our carrier backpacks and our 4 year old hiked it by herself! It was definitely challenging at times with the rocky terrain but still doable. Please be aware that some parts of the trail are narrow with steep drop-offs on the side so I would advise holding your child's hand and using caution. The views of the Santa Cruz mountains were gorgeous and the rock formations are beyond cool. The kids loved it! We'll be back again for the full loop when we have more time to spend :)

great trail, beware of tick