Castle Rock State Park
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.
The Whole Access Trail is about 0.08 mile long and leads to an outstanding vista and picnic area. The trailhead is located at the Castle Rock parking lot. Parking and a pit toilet are usable. A picnic table at the end of the trail is usable.
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.
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.
Parking is $10.00 per day, which you can pay for at self-serve kiosks. California State Parks Annual Parking Pass holders should display their pass when parking.
The Kirkwood Entrance triples the amount of day-use parking at Castle Rock State Park–and each space is paved! The old parking lot, located about one-quarter mile further south on Highway 35 / Skyline Blvd., is reserved for overnight guests and may be used for overflow parking at the discretion of park staff. Overnight guests with reservations will receive a gate code to access the old parking lot. NOTE: The Kirkwood Entrance gate is closed and locked every day at sunset.
Since the Kirkwood Entrance opening may gain a lot of interest, we ask that you plan your trip ahead of time. Weekdays are optimal days to visit the park to ensure you get one of the 90 parking spots. The Kirkwood Entrance operating hours are 8:00 a.m. to sunset, daily.
Rent the Facilities at the Kirkwood Entrance
Did you know that you can have your wedding, private party, or even a corporate event at Castle Rock’s New Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance? It has a projector and screen for movies or presentations and a fire pit (permit needed for fire). Please contact the State Park Special Events Office for details.