Castle Rock Trail

MODERATE 583 reviews

Castle Rock Trail is a 2.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Big Bear Lake, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
2.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
833 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

Castle Rock trail begins 1.1 miles east of the dam on Hwy 18.

1 day ago

Beautiful trail. Harder than moderate for me but I’m fresh out of a major back surgery. If you’re in good shape I can see it being a moderate hike. All uphill and lots of boulders and dense forest make it visually spectacular. It’s the most popular hiking trail in Big Bear Lake so it’s crowded on warm weekends. Parking is limited so get there early or go mid week. Also wear good shoes with grip, coming down can get slippery in the gravel and sandy areas.

hiking
1 day ago

We did this hike the Tuesday following Memorial Day weekend and it was empty. We started the hike off the trailhead and climbed our way up a hill with some huge boulders on top. From there we climbed up and down a few more hills until we found the wooden steps. We took a short break on the wooden benches and saw a ton of chipmunks and baby squirrels as we dug into some trail mix. From there we kept trekking but soon got lost. This trail is very easy to get lost on, especially with no one around. Luckily we found a few trail signs and managed to make sense of them to reach the top. We definitely made this hike more challenging than it needed to be, but it does get fairly steep at some points. Overall, awesome views and fun to explore!

hiking
3 days ago

Nice hike. Pretty much all up hill on the way there. Once you make it to the top, coming down is easy. There was a rattle snake curled up on the side of the trail.
Great views from the peaks of the rocks.

16 days ago

A nice hike with family. Had fun climbing on the rocks!

18 days ago

Beautiful view once you get to the top!

29 days ago

Great hike! You do get winded going up so be sure to go slow and take a break. Once at Castle Rock, the views are awesome! We had intentions of hiking to Bluff Lake Reserve as another reviewer recommended but we couldn’t find it. So we explored more around the area and that was fun.
We were able to park right at the trail head, arrived at 8:30 on a Saturday. By the time we headed out, 2hrs later, there were a lot more people on the trail. I suggest you start early.

1 month ago

Lovely trail

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike great views , dont miss the lake in the end.

1 month ago

Fun hike. Not hard but it’s up hill most of the way so you definitely get a workout. The views of the lake at the top are incredible!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice short hike. Beautiful view from the top of castle rock

hiking
1 month ago

I think it was a bit harder then moderate.
Had to take up slow.
Somehow I found a really quick way down.

hiking
2 months ago

Really beautiful views at the top. It started off a little challenging but after the first mile or so it levels out. The trail splits off in many places, but there are blue trackers to keep you on path. Beautiful view of the lake from the top of the peak.
If you keep going you will end up at a small lake. It took us about 2.6 hours round trip going from the main road to the lake and back. My Fitbit counted 6 miles and 13,050 steps. The trail is dog friendly but make sure you check their paws because there are a lot of small rocks and sharp pine needles.

2 months ago

Use this trail to go on pacific coast trail.

2 months ago

great trail! with mind blowing experience at the top!

2 months ago

nice little hike. good workout on the legs for the first couple hundred yards.

hiking
2 months ago

Did this hike the week following Memorial Day weekend so it was super empty. We also didn't start the hike at the trailhead and clamored up to some boulders on a random hill first and then lost signal and kind of wandered up and down two big hills before finding the wooden steps. From there we explored some boulders and then got lost trying to find the signs again. Without any people on the trail, getting lost is fairly easy to do. Luckily we saw a lone hiker making their way back down and made it to the top. The hike is really fun, but challenging. The views are awesome and the bouldering is GREAT. I would highly recommend it.

2 months ago

Great little hike, however, grade very high!

2 months ago

So crowded over the memorial weekend. Beautiful views and the rivals and and trees were beautiful. So glad we went.

hiking
2 months ago

I went with my husband and our 5 and 6 year old daughters. We all loved this trail. It was steep, but our daughters did awesome. They have been hiking for the past year and this was their most difficult hike. Once we finished, they asked to do it again!

hiking
3 months ago

This trail started out fine. It was pretty dang steep, so we were glad we didn't have small children with us. The problems came when we were about a third a mile up. The path was so worn down by heavy foot traffic that you could no longer tell where the trail was at all! I even tried using the map from the app. No go. We wandered around for an hour then headed in the general direction of the lake. Eventually we found the trail about where we left it. The whole thing was frustrating. Counting all the steep terrain, and the unclear path, this is a difficult hike, and not pleasant.

hiking
3 months ago

Went with my husband, 7yr old daughter and 10 yr old son. It was amazing!

3 months ago

Worth the hike...

hiking
3 months ago

A moderately difficult hike with some steep parts, but with a beautiful view of Big Bear Lake from the top of the boulders. Parking can be difficult past 9:30-10am because there are limited parking spaces along Hwy 18.

I highly recommend that you continue on Castle Rock Trail to Bluff Lake Reserve further south (view my photos to see why). It's actually my favorite part of the hike because it's tranquil, quiet, and a really nice break from the crowded Castle Rock.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail for kids, pets and beginners. Has a stunning view of Big Bear lake. For the more experienced hiker, this trail connects to another unmarked trail that leads to Bluff lake, which is roughly 2.5 mi round trip.

3 months ago

Nice little outting. We did this hike after arriving in town mid-afternoon and finished in time to grab dinner then head back to camp as the sun was disappearing

hiking
4 months ago

Did this hike with my kids after school. It was a great little hike for them. Plan on going back soon.

hiking
4 months ago

Amazing first moderate hiking experience for this older lady. Going up was a little challenging because I don’t exercise enough, but my 11yo son was like a gazelle and having a great time. Regardless it was beautiful and I’m so glad we made it to up to Castle Rock. The views were glorious. Going down was obviously much easier :D. Have fun and bring water.

hiking
4 months ago

It’s a b***h the first 0.40 miles with dramatic increased elevation. Once you past 0.40 it’s a steady increase with more smooth terrain, several small streams, and castle rock at the top. Much smaller “castle” + “rock” then I expected but still a great hike.

5 months ago

great view, totally worth it

hiking
5 months ago

My husband and I hiked this trail after it snowed. The trail was well marked from previous hikers, otherwise it would have been difficult to navigate through with the snow covered paths. Most of the incline is at the first 1/3 of the trail but then tapers off. Once we got to the top to overlook the lake, we took the opportunity to climb on the boulders at the top to get a better view. It was absolutely stunning!! The hardest part of the hike was parking and avoiding being hit by oncoming traffic on the road! I highly recommend this trail for its surprise once you reach the top!

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