Castle Rock Trail to Saratoga Gap Trail and Ridge Trail Loop

MODERATE 767 reviews
#1 of 10 trails in

Castle Rock Trail to Saratoga Gap Trail and Ridge Trail Loop is a 5.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Saratoga, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
5.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,213 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

rock climbing

skiing

trail running

walking

cave

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no dogs

Great views, challenging hiking in the hills southwest of Silicon Valley. With lush woods, gorgeous vistas, challenging trails and remarkable stone formations, Castle Rock State Park is a highlight reel for hiking in the San Francisco Bay Area. You'll find a fascinating mix to trees -- gnarled oaks, towering Douglas firs, bark-shedding madrones -- but the rocks steal the show. Large formations called "tafoni" (which look like the work of honeybees on steroids) formed over eons as weathering processes gradually reshaped the stone. Castle Rock is the most notable tafoni formation, but there are many more in the park.

hiking
3 days ago

Fun trail. Didn’t have my hiking boots, so bouldering was difficult. Areas of the trail require you to climb over rocks so be prepared.

Also parking in the parking lot is $8 cash. You can park on the side of the road but be warned that there is a ditch and I saw a car get stuck. Not hard to park, just be safe!

hiking
28 days ago

This is definitely a difficult loop. I would not recommend it to people who cannot handle slopes or the heat. The path is also not paved, and may require some climbing over large rocks and boulders. I finished it in close to 2.5 hours, but I stopped a lot for photos and to snack. The views are absolutely gorgeous!

The only con I have is that it's a very popular place, so parking can get difficult to find.

hiking
28 days ago

The hike is between easy to moderate. I went clockwise and found it enjoyable. The views of ocean and pine trees of rangers there are very blissful to see. Sometimes, the trail totally vanishes and all you have to do is to get past the boulder or rock covering it. Please carry bug repellent as there are lot of blood sucking insects and they will keep swarming you. Most of the time I could only only hear them. This trail would be very beautiful in raining season.

1 month ago

Great hike with nice variety of views, rocks, and a stream. Took us 3hrs.

hiking
1 month ago

My daughter and I rate this as one of our favorite trails. We do it often and the views are always spectacular.

hiking
1 month ago

I highly enjoyed this trail when I lived in STL. I would drive 30 mins to come to this park almost weekly. The trail is nice and easy to navigate. The views are great and even better in the winter.

hiking
1 month ago

5.5m loop took me about 3 hrs. Average hiker here just to give you an idea. Do not worry about getting lost all trail fork had a trail signs and distance. During my hike in the am sometimes it gets foggy so did not see the views. Easy and fun.

1 month ago

Really good. No sunshine even in sunny day thats good for me. Good views

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful and fun!

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing view!

hiking
3 months ago

Nice views along the trail, variety of wildlife - tons of flowers and trees sighted. May get hot in the summer but was great for a 70-80 degree day with plenty of shade.

hiking
3 months ago

beautiful scenery and ideal for morning hikes for the crisp air and pretty dew on foliage. definitely looking forward to hiking some of the other trails at Castle Rock next time.

3 months ago

Very nice hike

hiking
3 months ago

I love coming here. The views are amazing

hiking
3 months ago

There are lots of great trails in this park, but make sure to take a photo of the map at the beginning so you stay on the trail you want to be on. Also, the parking fee is $8.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Very moderate. On the weekend busy but parking was easy. The rock sculpting was impressive, worth a look. A bit foggy when I went but lots of good trail viewpoints. Sounds from the distant gun range echo like thunder from afar.

hiking
3 months ago

EXCELLENT trails - amazing views - and not so difficult.
parking is a bit of an issue.
highly recommended..

3 months ago

Lovely short hike!!!

4 months ago

Great cliff side hike with periodic framed views west. A few boulder scrambles but well-maintained trail. Obnoxious gun fusillades at the Goat point on the weekend.

4 months ago

Very nice trail with diverse scenery. Great views from the rock climbing spots.

4 months ago

You get to see people rock climbing its pretty cool!
Nice Hike

hiking
5 months ago

Went early on Sunday morning, 3/4. Take the unmarked trail to the left of the trailhead sign to go directly to Castle Rock. Didn't seem worth it to me, but to each their own. Some snow on the ground from yesterday's storm, with the sun melting snow in the trees. Wasn't expecting rain! Once I got to the falls I didn't need my raincoat. Despite the rain from yesterday, the falls were just more than a dribble. Nice hike on the Saratoga Gap side, but the Ridge trail gave much better views. It was more difficult with roots, steeper climbs, and boulders/rocks on the path, but worth it. Took me 3.5 hours with a lunch break. Nice area just west of Goat Rock to have a picnic. I hope to come back one day to do the Skyline to the Sea hike. Love having a wooded trail this close to home!

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful trail, with a few rocks to casually climb and get hidden gorgeous views:)
Trail itself is well maintained.

hiking
5 months ago

Many ups and downs. Great mountain views. Fun to watch rock climbing and bouldering.

hiking
5 months ago

Wet nice spot to hike, the views are incredible at some points, there is a look out deck about 2 miles in, and if u go a little further, there’s a huge rock on the edge of the cliff if ur brave enough to climb and sit and take an amazing photo..definitely would return here.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful nature. A touching calmness.

6 months ago

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!

6 months ago

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

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