Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail: Castle Rock Route [CLOSED]

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(129)
Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail: Castle Rock Route [CLOSED] is a 27.1 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Los Gatos, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, camping, and backpacking.

Length 27.1 mi Elevation gain 2,782 ft Route type Point to Point
Backpacking Camping Hiking Running Beach Forest River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Blowdown Bugs Closed No dogs
Description
Waypoints (2)
Facilities
Contact

As of August 2020, this park is currently closed due to wildfire until further notice. See here for more info: https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=30009 This map shows the full Skyline-to-the-Sea route from the Castle Rock State Park entrance. Be advised that trail camps may not have trash collection and/or water available; check park conditions before starting out. Reservations are required to use the campgrounds and you may need up to a two month lead time. Call 831-338-8861 for same-day reservations.

Vault toilets available at Waterman Gap and Jay Camp. Coin-operated hot showers available at Jay Camp.

Official Parks website with links to check campsite availability and make reservations: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=26658

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (129)
Photos (4122)
Recordings (110)
Completed (1578)
View user's profile page
Steve C
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking
View Steve's Recording
View user's profile page
Mariana Sharp
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 14, 2020
Hiking

the whole experience sucked. can't find parking, very crowded. vandalism on some trees and rocks. trails are marked one way arbitrarily.

View Mariana's Recording
View user's profile page
Monty Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 31, 2020
Backpacking

Took us two days, we were dropped off at 1pm at the Castle Rock entrance and hiked till about 6:45pm and setup our tent for the night as it started to get dark. We packed up and started walking at 9 AM the following day, and got picked up at Waddell beach about 5 PM. Castle Rock is beautiful but we found the 10 miles or so leading to Berry Creek Falls near the end of this long trail to be the most stunning. Plenty of streams to re-up on water, especially on the tail end of the trail. Exhausting but we had a blast!

View Monty's Recording
View user's profile page
Eric Ledgerwood
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 14, 2020
HikingBlowdown

Over all great conditions and beautiful weather. Trail very well marked and only had some blown down trees to get around between Big Basin and Waddell Beach. No water at Waterman Gap Trail Camp so packed 5-6 liters starting at Castle Rock. Lots of water available at San Lorenzo River crossing, then again about a mile after that. Next water source wasn't for about 7 miles when you hit Boulder Creek which is not flowing very much but was enough to filter from. Fellow trail hikers said water was available at Tin Can Creek even though official reports said otherwise. No fires at any trail camp is a bit of a bummer, not even at Jay Camp which is in Big Basin. Fire rings were taken out of the Bike sites at Jay to prevent use by Trail Camp occupants. The stated reason was consistency. Not sure how that is a higher priority than selling firewood and s'mores materials to through hikers. Lots of lost revenue opportunities there I'm afraid. Rating a 5 for beauty and being in the incredible old growth forests of Big Basin. 3 for lack of water and fire rings. Overall a solid 4 IMO.

View Eric's Recording
View user's profile page
Michael Woodley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 8, 2020
HikingBlowdownBridge out

Unbelievable hike. The first section was a little odd because of the noise from the road and the firing range, but the second and third days were incredible. Amazing trail! I’d love to do it again solo in the spring, but the winter is good for the buggyness from what I’ve heard.

View Michael's Recording
View user's profile page
Wesley Finley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 30, 2020
HikingMuddy
View Wesley's Recording
View user's profile page
Ken W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 17, 2019
HikingBlowdownBridge out

A gorgeous 3 day hike through highly varied terrain, including temperate forest, past interesting rock formations in Castle Rock Park, dry chaparelle, massive redwoods, coastal pines, along rock cliffs with scree and succulents. A few great vistas but mostly beautiful flora and maybe some interesting fauna if you're lucky. I saw a rattlesnake (dead), giant millipede, banana slugs for days, deer and birds of prey. Not a lot of trash along the trail, especially as you get away from the high traffic areas. On 11/15/2019, there was plenty of surface water to filter and drink along the way, but no potable water taps other than Castle Rock parking lot and Jay camp. The trail shown is not exactly how I hiked. There is a detour in Big Basin that requires a little backtracking in order to use the Sunset Trail to bypass a small portion of Skyline to the Sea trail. The detour is well marked with temporary signs. I hiked the first 2 days at around 2.5MPH, got to camp around 1:30pm and was the first to pitch my tent. Happy hiking!

View user's profile page
Ryan X
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2019
Backpacking

Excellent hike through lush enchanted redwoods to the sea. Easy 3 day (2 night) but did over 3 nights, roughly 9-10 miles per day including a detour and backtracking for water. Inconsistent trail signage led to a bit of confusion especially calculating water sources. As of mid-October 2019 neither Trail Camp (at Castle Rock campground) nor Waterman Gap campground had potable water. You will need to pack-in water or source and filter water from local creeks. From Travertine Springs to Opal Creek there were not any reliable water sources. Very minor issue with proper planning. Advise checking with rangers about water sources before embarking. This is a beautiful trail. Take your time and take it all in.

View user's profile page
Slippers Wageman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2019
HikingBugs

Amazing mini-thru-hike. Campsites have running potable water, Jay Camp HQ has all the amenities and fully stocked (beers!). The third day was by far the best part of the trail through beautiful redwood groves and the highlight Berry Creek Falls. Can't wait to do it again, next time with my kids. Mosquitos were pretty brutal (July) when standing/sitting still, so bring plenty of repellent!

View Slippers's Recording
View user's profile page
Mark Graziano
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2019
Hiking

How could a walk through the majestic redwoods be anything but a 5-star experience?! Could the signage have been better? Yes. But, have you ever seen great signage at a state or national park? We did the classic Skyline to the Sea hike over 3 days and 2 nights, starting at Castle Rock parking lot and ending at Waddell Beach. My wife and I both drove separate cars since there isn’t a public transit option, or a reliable taxi/Uber option from either location. After dropping off a car at Waddell we drove to Castle Rock to start the trip. Day one we hiked to Waterman Gap. The signage was pretty poor and confusing at times so think about downloading a GPS guide (we paid for All Trails pro) that works offline and talk to people on the trail if you have questions. From there we went to Jay Camp at the Big Basin headquarters. Both sites had bathrooms and potable water. The walk from Jay to Waddell Beach was incredible! So hard to put into words. Trekking through giant redwoods for hours, mostly under the shade, so much green! There were some fallen trees along the way but it was all manageable. The final 1.5 miles to Waddell Beach felt longer than it was because we were tired and the trail borders the edge of a rocky hillside. But coming around the corner to see the ocean and feel that cool breeze is worth every step. I’d highly recommend this hike to anyone with some backpacking experience. In total we probably did about 30-32 miles, but like I said the hike is easy to moderate, and the campsites have amenities to make things easier. Can’t wait to go explore the Santa Cruz Mountains again!

View user's profile page
Andrew Ebel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 13, 2019
Hiking

My son and I did this trail May 9-11, 2019 and had a fantastic adventure! The creeks we’re running strong, the trails were in great shape and the landscape was beautiful. I would have given it a 5-star rating but the road noise while on the trail and at Waterman Gap Campground has to be taken in to account. I’ll for sure do this trail again!

View user's profile page
Mimi Zhang
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 4, 2019
HikingBugs

Great for a 3-day backpacking trip near the Bay!

View Mimi's Recording
View user's profile page
Hector Rios
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 30, 2019
HikingBugsRocky

Did this trail April 25th-28th 2019 spread out over 3 nights. Stayed at castle rock campsite, waterman gap, and jay camp in big basin. Had great weather all 3 days. We parked our car at waddell beach and had a friend drop us off at castle rock trail head. Started late Thursday 25th around 8pm and hiked to castle rock campsite then began the decent to waterman gap the next morning. Waterman gap is a nice camp site just be ready with the bug spray as we got rushed by mosquitos.The decent to big basin (jay camp) was the best part of he trip, nice and cool with some of the best views that are remarkably beautiful through old growth redwoods. Our last day down to Waddell beach was also quite nice but had a lot more traffic. Definitely a challenging hike but well worth the efforts! Only complaint is that the trail can be very vague and makes you question whether your heading in the right direction. Would do again in a heartbeat!

View user's profile page
David Eriksson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 27, 2019
Hiking
First to Review

Nice two-day trip. We started at Waddell beach, camped at Waterman Gap, and finished at Castle Rock. The views aren’t that amazing, but the trail is nice and well-maintained.

View David's Recording
View user's profile page
John Martin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 9, 2020
Hiking
View John's Recording
View user's profile page
Steph Weber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking
View Steph's Recording
View user's profile page
Chad Harding
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2020
Hiking
View Chad's Recording
View user's profile page
John Hu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 19, 2020
Hiking
View John's Recording
View user's profile page
Jia User
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 23, 2020
Hiking
View Jia's Recording
View user's profile page
Wesley Santiago
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 27, 2020
Hiking
View Wesley's Recording
View user's profile page
Nic Monaco
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 29, 2020
Hiking
View Nic's Recording
View user's profile page
Nina Miao
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 15, 2020
Hiking
View Nina's Recording
View user's profile page
Michelle Juergen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 14, 2020
Hiking
View Michelle's Recording
View user's profile page
Nina Miao
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 14, 2020
Hiking
View Nina's Recording
View user's profile page
Darren Baca
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 4, 2020
Backpacking
View Darren 's Recording
View user's profile page
Julian Gonzalez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 1, 2020
Running
View Julian's Recording
View user's profile page
Julie Lavender
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 31, 2020
Hiking
View Julie's Recording
Showing results 1 - 27 of 129