Castle Rock Trail

MODERATE 498 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.

hiking
4 days 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
6 days ago

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

8 days ago

Worth the hike...

hiking
15 days 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
21 days 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.

22 days 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
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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
1 month 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.

2 months ago

great view, totally worth it

hiking
2 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!

3 months ago

This is an awesome trail great all year round. Beautiful scenery of the lake. Amazing during the snow. Parking is a bit of hassle, but it’s well worth it once you find parking.

hiking
3 months ago

Parking is an issue because this trail is very popular and you have to park in a turn out, which depending on the time/day you go will most likely be full. I went on a Saturday around 10 am and there were so many people hiking this trail it was a bit overwhelming. If your intention is to simply reach the view then the hike is short are relatively easy, it is fairly steep but not for long. If you are continuing the hike there are more trails to do so.
We had to wait about 15-20 minutes to get a chance to take a photo on the rock with the best view of the lake, but it was totally worth it the view is amazing and we got some pretty cool pictures.

hiking
3 months ago

1. Parking: To park you need to pull into a turn out off the highway. There are about 6 spots or more depending on how people park. Some people also park right off the highway. You have to cross the highway to make it to the trailhead. We arrived at 9:00 am and found parking without a problem.

2. People: There are a lot of people on this hike. There are many families and people with dogs. People seem to be responsible about picking up dog poop and keeping them on leashes.

3. The trail: The trail is a bit steep in the beginning and was tough for me with my asthma. It lightens up a bit. In the beginning there are clear signs and then there are contradictory arrows making the trail difficult to follow. We ended at a dead end. We asked four separate groups where the trail went and no one knew. Everyone we saw was lost. People begin to wander off the trail which is still nice because it is scenic and there are tons of photo opportunities.

Overall it's a nice hike. You get great views and there are many boulders to climb for cool photos. It's a busy busy trail so if you are looking for a peaceful hike this is not for you. To be fair, we went on a Saturday.

Happy hiking!!!

hiking
4 months ago

Quick hike, had a great time, especially taking in the view and climbing on the rocks along the trail. Early Jan, not much snow quite yet!

4 months ago

Real short hike with an awesome view of Big Bear Lake

hiking
4 months ago

Love this trail-- a good challenge-and-reward for kiddo's, scrambling up the final rocks to get that view of the lake is a must! Went in December and no snow and caught a pretty sunset.

hiking
4 months ago

Absolutely beautiful! The view on top of Castle Rock is amazing.

4 months ago

Great!!!

hiking
4 months ago

Moderate trail with a good, rewarding view at the end! I'd do it again when I go back to big bear.

5 months ago

Super fun hike! A little challenging in the beginning but it gets easier as you go, perfect for families!

5 months ago

Great views! Initial climb not as bad as expected, leads to some amazing forest views and rock structures.

5 months ago

Lots of rocks, lots of views. Pretty stuff

5 months ago

Great hike for families. Beautiful views at the top.

hiking
5 months ago

The start of this trail up to Castle Rock itself is pretty intense. From the trailhead you go pretty much straight up. As a guy that's a beginner hiker with asthma, I struggled a bit. After taking my time I made it of course. Beautiful views of the lake from the rocks and fun to climb around on them too. Makes for great pictures!

hiking
6 months ago

It was a great hike. The information center told us that this hike leads to Bluff Lake Reserve. But my friends and I have no sense of directions therefore we stopped at the rocks place. It was great to climb up and down on the rocks. The view is wonderful.

the only thing i didn't like about the hike is that there's not much direction. But overall, the trail is really good and give a really good view of the lake.

hiking
6 months ago

The Trail Is Good. And Castle Rocks will give you a really good view of the Lake and The City Down Below. It Can get pretty crowded with tourists on weekends especially during the busy season. BUT keep hiking and bring enough food and water for lunch and the trail keeps going to The Bluff Lake Reserve and Even Further.

hiking
6 months ago

Good hike. Fairly steep to the Castle Rock; amazing views of the lake when you dare bouldering up the rocks. Trail continues on through nice boulder patches and to the top, from here you can continue on to various hikes: champion pinelodge, seberia creek, and bluff lake reserve.

hiking
6 months ago

I would consider it on the easy side and not the moderate. Would need a bit more rocks or climbing.

7 months ago

So much fun!!! Great if you enjoy boulder climbing too!

Load More