Sunrise to sunset
Trail Camps require registration or reservations.
Castle Rock State Park
Parking at Castle Rock State ParkThe main Castle Rock parking lot at 15000 Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) has been filling to capacity on weekends and holidays. In order to get a place to park and avoid a parking citation, please follow this advise:
- Arrive Early - The earlier you arrive the better chance you have to find parking. Castle Rock State Park is open for day use from 6am to Sunset. Remember that all vehicles will need to pay an $8.00 parking fee so bring exact change to self-register in case you arrive before the entrance station opens.
- Come on a Weekday - Avoid the crowds and come during the week.
- Car Pool - Fewer cars your group brings, the more space we save for other parks users. Plus, its better for the planet!
- Park in an Alterative Parking Area - There are a number of parking areas along Highway 9 south of Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35). These parking areas give access to the same great system of trails and are FREE to use. Check out the Park Map for locations of other parking areas.
- Take a Good Look for No Parking Signs - No parking signs are posted along Skyline Boulevard (Highway 35) to restrict parking in areas which impact or endanger others along the highway. Please look for no parking signs and do not park in restricted areas. Rangers and Highway Patrol Officers issue citations.
- Do Not Park in the Roadway - If you park along the highways, make sure ALL of your vehicle including side view mirrors are all the way out of the roadway to the right of the white line at the road edge.
By keeping in mind these tips, you should be able to avoid a parking citation and find a place to park and enjoy Castle Rock State Park.
Trail Conditions at Castle Rock State Park
All trails currently OPEN, but please keep in mind the following:
- Please check with staff at the Enterence Station to see if your planned route is safe and passable.
- Trails are still muddy after the winter rains. Be careful and watch your footing.
- Remember that all trails close at sunset. You need to plan ahead to complete your hike before sunset.
- ALWAYS carry a map and water. Bring warm cloths and a flash light in case you get caught out after dark.
- Expect to find down trees. You will need to climb over, around, or under them. If you cannot get safely past down trees, you will need to turn back. You are responsible for gauging what you can safely cross. When in doubt, TURN BACK!
- Trail conditions are always changing, so please be aware that you may come across blocked trails that we do not know about. If you cannot safely cross a blocked or damaged section of trail, you will need to turn around. When in doubt, TURN BACK!
Visiting Castle Rock
Castle Rock State Park is a land of sculpted sandstone, lush forests, and sweeping vistas. From one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains, park visitors enjoy hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding. Rock climbers explore the park's caverns and rocks, including the namesake Castle Rock. Plant-lovers come for California black oaks, knobcone pines, and high-elevation coast redwoods. The park’s 34 miles of rugged trails conveniently connect to an extensive trail system that links the Santa Clara and San Lorenzo valleys to nearby Big Basin Redwoods State Park and open space preserves on the Skyline to the Sea Trail.
Basic Park Information
*Please note there is no visitor center or store facilities at Castle Rock.
FEES: There is a $8 vehicle day-use fee. [Regular Sized Auto: $8 (Senior $7, age 62 or older); Bus Parking (10-24 passengers): $50; Bus Parking (25+ passengers): $100]
*Please bring cash*
NO CELL RECEPTION within the park and the surrounding area. Due to this, ridesharing services are not recommended.
DOGS are prohibited throughout the park (except for service animals). Nearby Sanborn County Park allows dogs.
HORSES are allowed on Saratoga Toll Road which extends from Saratoga Gap to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
BICYCLES are allowed on the Skyline Trail (Bay Area Ridge Trail) located on the north side of Highway 35.
DRONES are not allowed in the park. To protect wildlife and cultural resources, and for the safety and welfare of visitors and staff, the park is closed to the use of Model Aircraft, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), and Gliders in flight.
GLASS CONTAINERS are prohibited through out the park.
SMOKING is prohibited through out the park.
FIREARMS or any device capable of harming any person or animal are prohibited— including BB guns, spears, bows, arrows and slingshots.
FIRES are permitted only in designated fire rings in the Castle Rock Trail Camp during the OFF fire season. Gathering firewood, including twigs and leaves, is prohibited. Firewood is sold at the Castle Rock Trail Camp.
RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY rights and stay on designated trails.
NATURAL & CULTURAL FEATURES ARE PROTECTED BY LAW - Do not pick wildflowers, mushrooms, or other plants, or remove any park features. Do not deface rocks with graffiti or feed, disturb, or harm wildlife.
WEDDINGS, PARTIES, AND SPECIAL EVENT PERMITS please call (831) 335-6324 or email email@example.com.
Castle Rock Trail Camp
The Castle Rock Trail Camp is open year round on a first-come, first-serve basis. The campground is a 2.5 mile (4 kilometer) hike from the parking area and you will have to carry all of your equipment and water into the camp. Castle Rock Trail Camp has trash receptacles, bathrooms, and 20 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings. Wood is available for sale during the wet season. Fires are not allowed during fire season. The cost is $15 per campsite per night. This includes overnight parking for one vehicle. Each additional vehicle is $8 per night. To register and pay your fees, check in at the Entrance Station at the Castle Rock parking lot. If you arrive when the station is not staffed, you can use the self-registration envelopes. Make sure you bring exact change or a check to use in case you must use the self-registration. Place your receipt on the dashboard in a visible place as proof of payment. Rangers will verify payment. For more information about camping and fire closure dates, please call Castle Rock State Park at (408) 867-2952. For more information and reservations for Waterman Gap Trail Camp, please visit the Santa Cruz Mountain State Parks Backcountry Trail Camp Page. California State Parks offers naturalist-led backpacking adventures in the Santa Cruz Mountains. For more information, please click here.