Castle Rock State Park: Views of Santa Cruz Mountains

Castle Rock State Park is an amazingly beautiful park located in Los Gatos, California. With views of the Santa Cruz mountains, this park is perfect for hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, camping, and horseback riding! There are 34 miles of trails that connect to the Santa Clara and San Lorenzo valleys. 

views at castle rock state park

About Castle Rock State Park 

Castle Rock State Park is located in Los Gatos, California off of Highway 35. The park is open from 8 am to sunset. There is no entry fee but to park in the parking lot is $10 per car. When I went, it was before the park opened and I parked along the side of the road for no cost. 

castle rock state park trails

There is a huge emphasis on there being no water available once you’re inside the park so be sure to pack appropriately. Also, there is no cell phone service but they have free wi-fi that works at the entrance of the park. 

This park has campsites available for $15 per night. Dogs are not allowed in the park. Bikes and horses are only permitted on certain trails, check here for more information.  

trail at castle rock state park
rocks at castle rock state park

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My Adventure at Castle Rock State Park

I arrive at Castle Rock around a little after 7:30 am. I park on the side of Highway 35 and joined the other cars parked perpendicular to the street. I entered at the main entrance from the main parking lot. I decided to take the Saratoga Gap Trail to the Patrick Charles Allen Memorial. This was about 1 mile.

views at castle rock state park
views at castle rock state park

I continued on the Saratoga Gap Trail until I reached the Interconnector Trail. I took this trail to the Ridge Trail and went right towards Dan Seldow’s Fraggle Rock Grove, this was almost 2 miles from the entrance. 

Dan Seldow's Fraggle Rock Grove

Continued along the Ridge trail, passing Goat Rock. I used the Ridge trail to take me back to the Saratoga Gap Trail. I wanted to hike some more so instead of returning to the entrance, I went right towards the Castle Rock Trail, at this point I had hiked about 2.8 miles. After finishing Castle Rock Trail, I hiked about 4.5 miles. 

rocks on trail at castle rock state park
trees at castle rock state park

Final Thoughts On Castle Rock State Park

Overall I really enjoyed my hike at this park. Here are some tips I’ve gathered after my experience. Needless to say, I will definitely be back! 

  • If hiking in the Summer, go early. It gets hot in those mountains!
  • If you’re a new hiker or with children, stick to the Castle Rock Trail, it’s the shortest loop and the trail is the widest and smoothest.
  • The Saratoga Trail and Ridge Trail contain many rocks and boulders along the trail and on the actual trail. I would suggest hiking shoes for these trails. 
  • Take a picture of the map before you hike so you know where you’re at! 
  • If you are coming from the Bay Area, the road can get windy and there are points when there is only one lane. Drive slower and be aware of your surroundings. 
  • When I went in July 2020, the falls and creek were dry. 

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