Castle Rock

State Park - California

Castle Rock State Park is located along the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains and almost entirely in Santa Cruz County, with parts extending into Santa Clara County and San Mateo County. It embraces coast redwood, Douglas fir, and madrone forest, most of which has been left in its wild, natural state. Steep canyons are sprinkled with unusual rock formations that are a popular rock climbing area. The forest here is lush and mossy, crisscrossed by 32 miles (51 km) of hiking trails. These trails are part of an even more extensive trail system that links the Santa Clara and San Lorenzo valleys with Castle Rock State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and the Pacific Coast. Due to its overnight parking lot, Castle Rock is a popular starting point for the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, a 30-mile (48 km) trail that begins near by at Saratoga Gap and leads to Waddell Beach north of Santa Cruz. There are two walk-in campgrounds within the park for overnight backpacking.

maps

Map of Sanborn County Park (CP) in Santa Clara County in California. Published by Santa Clara County Parks.Santa Clara - Sanborn

Map of Sanborn County Park (CP) in Santa Clara County in California. Published by Santa Clara County Parks.

https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=538 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Rock_State_Park_(California) Castle Rock State Park is located along the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains and almost entirely in Santa Cruz County, with parts extending into Santa Clara County and San Mateo County. It embraces coast redwood, Douglas fir, and madrone forest, most of which has been left in its wild, natural state. Steep canyons are sprinkled with unusual rock formations that are a popular rock climbing area. The forest here is lush and mossy, crisscrossed by 32 miles (51 km) of hiking trails. These trails are part of an even more extensive trail system that links the Santa Clara and San Lorenzo valleys with Castle Rock State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and the Pacific Coast. Due to its overnight parking lot, Castle Rock is a popular starting point for the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, a 30-mile (48 km) trail that begins near by at Saratoga Gap and leads to Waddell Beach north of Santa Cruz. There are two walk-in campgrounds within the park for overnight backpacking.
Our Mission Castle Rock State Park The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Exquisite sandstone formations and sculpted caves are among the treasured features within this California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (408) 867-2952. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact interp@parks.ca.gov. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov SaveTheRedwoods.org/csp Castle Rock State Park 15000 Skyline Boulevard Los Gatos, CA 95030 (408) 867-2952 © 2011 California State Parks (Rev. 2017) park’s vast wilderness. C astle Rock State Park is a place of abundant solitude, wilderness, high cliffs, and sweeping vistas. Unique patterns on weathered sandstone, lush forests, and stream-fed canyons make up the park’s diverse features. From one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains, visitors enjoy panoramic views of Monterey Bay. Encompassing more than 5,150 acres of wilderness and 34 miles of trails, the park is popular with rock climbers, hikers, and equestrians. Trails connect to nearby state parks and open space preserves, expanding visitor travel from the skyline to the sea. Summer weather is hot and dry. In winter, mountain peaks may be dusted with snow, and temperatures can drop below freezing. CULTURAL HISTORY Native People The park is located among what once was home to many different tribal communities. Over thousands of years, the tribes of the region have come to be collectively recognized as the Ohlone people. Several areas in this location served their dietary and spiritual needs. Ohlone visionaries used the massive rocks to connect to their spiritual world and to acquire personal enlightenment. They also collected a wide variety of plants for medicine and food. Native people hunted deer, pronghorns, and bears that were attracted to the area’s abundant vegetation. Today’s park lies within a major trail system that was used to move resources inland from the coast. The Smead and Partridge farms were the largest operations on the ridge, with orchards of apples, pears, walnuts, and grapes. Near the park’s interpretive shelter, heritage trees planted in the early 1900s still bear fruit. Castle Rock—   one of many sandstone outcrops in the park Gold Fever By 1849, thousands of immigrants had arrived in California searching for gold. The newcomers needed lumber to construct homes and buildings for new towns. The South Pacific Coast Railroad built new lines for access between the Santa Cruz mountains and the Alameda port. By 1884, 28 lumber mills operated in the Big Basin / San Lorenzo Valley area; the mills yielded more than 34 million board feet of lumber each year. Coast redwood made excellent lumber, and tanoak bark was used to tan leather goods. Oncethick forests were rapidly laid bare. Agriculture Agriculture also altered the Castle Rock landscape for nearly 100 years. Farming, hunting, fishing, and trading made it possible for area families to be self-sufficient. Creation of the Park Judge Joseph Welch of Santa Clara Valley purchased a 60-acre parcel on Castle Rock Ridge in 1908, when logging was still ravaging the hillsides. He established a precedent by opening his land for the public to enjoy its scenic vistas and rugged landscapes. With Welch’s determination, Castle Rock soon became a popular tourist destination. Dr. Russell Varian, a pioneer of x-ray and radar technology, spent much of his youth exploring and hiking the canyons near Castle Rock. Varian was the first to measure Earth’s magnetic field, using some sites in today’s park. In 1959, he secured an option to purchase this land and planned to donate it to California State Parks. Varian died before completing the purchase. The Sierra Club and Sempervirens Fund later donated the land in his memory. In July of 1968, Castle Rock was designated a state park. NATURAL HISTORY Wildly eroded sandstone formations create prominent ridges in the park’s canyons. A waterfall fed by natural springs cascades 75 feet down the steep mountain slopes to the San Lorenzo River. The river flowing through the park provides spawning habitat for steelhead. Steep trails lead to the unusual rock formations at Varian Peak, Goat Rock, Russell Point, and Castle Rock. Geology Castle Rock’s famed sandstone outcrops originated as submarine fan deposits on the continental shelf about 30 to 40 million years ago. These shelf deposits were then elevated and moved north by repeated violent movements along the tectonic plate boundaries now defined by the
Castle Rock State Park ! Wel come 15000 Skyline Blvd., Los Gatos, CA 95033 • (408) 867-2952 www.parks.ca.gov • www.santacruzstateparks.org packing, horseback The park encompasses Be aware of the presence of poison oak, riding and rock climbing. over 5,200 acres of rattlesnakes, ticks and mountain lions. wildlands, and perches To ensure that your visit on the highest ridge in is safe and enjoyable, the Santa Cruz Mounplease stay on the trails, tains, separating San and abide by the regulaPoison Oak Tick Western Rattlesnake Francisco and Monterey Mountain Lion tions listed on the back Bays. Above the fog of this handout. and smog, the park offers over 35 miles of trails Maps: Two maps are available: Castle Rock Trail through a wide variety of plant and animal communiMap and Guide to Rocks & Climbing. To purchase ties, interesting rock formations, and sweeping views maps by mail, send $2.00 (make checks payable to of the San Lorenzo Valley and Pacific Ocean. A few Portola & CR Foundation) and a self-addressed, of the activities visitors can enjoy are hiking, backstamped (2 oz. = 2 stamps) #10 envelope (9-1/2" x 4-1/8") for each map of the park. Always carry and drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated. Water availability in the park is very limited, and temperatures can be very high. Castle Rock Trail Camp has piped water. Use caution when you are among or on the rocks. Slips and falls can result in serious injury. k re e nj e Bo l Trai o t R Saratoga Gap il ck Loop vic e Road Trail 35 ing Castle Rock State Park s ra i T Spr ne ra i g Private Property C ree k Gap Tr a l Park Entrance Indian Rock i x Varian Peak il Horse Trail Information Locked Gate Parking Restroom Telephone mi C Sk yli C i Sum tt i e Frog Flat Trail lin S er Ridge Tra il S a ra to ga LEGEND Rock Tr a Castle Rock Trail Camp Russell Point x Summit Sk y Private Property Goat Rock Interpretive Shelter Castle Rock Creek Paved Road Service Road Trail Goat Rock Overlook Castle Rock Falls and Overlook 35 map not to scale © 2006 California State Parks BACKPACKING AT THE TRAIL CAMPS 9 ce R oad t o g a G a p Tr a i l S a ra R idg Waterman Gap Trail Camp 4 2 the 5 6 3 Sea Trail Horse Trailer Parking To Santa Cruz 9 To Big Basin Redwoods State Park 236 Map not to scale Waterman Gap Trail Camp — Located 6.3 miles from the north end of Skyline-to-theSea Trail at Saratoga Gap (no overnight parking at this location), or 9.3 miles from the Castle Rock State Park main parking lot on Hwy. 35 (2.5 miles south of Hwy. 9), this camp, in a mixed hardwood and redwood forest, has 6 primitive sites and a vault toilet. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the trail camp reservation line at Big Basin Redwoods State Park at (831) 338-8861. Fires and smoking are not permitted. However, gas camp stoves are allowed. There is very limited drinking water so carry water with you. Log Castle Rock Trail Camp — Located 2.6 miles from the main parking lot via the Saratoga Gap Trail, this camp is situated on a ridge. Each of the 20 first-come, first-served sites has a table, fire ring, nearby piped drinking water and vault toilets. A camp shelter is available for everyone’s use during inclement weather. Fires are allowed only in designated fire rings when fire season is closed. Wood gathering is prohibited, but campers may purchase fireMain 17 16 wood at the Camp 14 15 13 25 24 camp. The only 22 12 23 23 11 access for bicy20 clists to this 18 5 19 camp is via the rvi 43 21 Se Campground Frog Flat Service Road Camp Trail, off Hwy. 35. Bicycles are not Tr a i l allowed on any Gap a g o trails beyond this Russell S a r a t il Tra Point e camp. F r o g F l a t Tr a i l 1 Skyline -to- Mill Road (not a through street) Castle Rock has two backpacking trail camps: Waterman Gap Trail Camp and Castle Rock Trail Camp. All trails are closed at sunset. Campers are required to remain in the campground from sunset to 6 a.m. Plan to be in your campsite at least 1/2-hour before sunset to have enough light for camp setup and check-in with the ranger. Dogs and smoking are not permitted in either campground. The only overnight parking at Castle Rock State Park is in the main parking lot on Hwy. 35, 2.5 miles south of Hwy. 9. Tr a hr y W o o d s Tr a i l il Castle Rock Trail Camp Map not to scale SKYLINE-TO-THE-SEA TRAIL CAMPS -t o -th ne rai l eT il Park Entrance Ho Waterman Gap Trail Camp Mill Road Skyli 236 ne Tr a i l Tr a ade Lane Trail Camp -to ea- T Tree Ch Gr l l ow S sin a Johansen Road Travertine 35 Springs Trail ar ato Beekhuis ga G Trail Road Trail ap Saratoga Toll Castle Rock Road Trail in -the-S 9 Big Basin Park Entrance Sequoia Trail rail set T Su n Jay Trail Camp il k Fa lls Tra Sunset Trail Camp Sk y lin e -to -t h e-S ea Trai l ee LEGEND Be rry Cr Castle Rock—Park your vehicle in the main parking lot on Hwy. 35 (approximately 3 m

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