Castle Rock Hike from Park HQ - Route IX
25.2 miles     3000 ft
1 Dec 2012

Pleasant hike in the western section of Castle Rock.

Location: Castle Rock State ParkSaratoga Gap Open Space Preserve

Elevation Profile
Trip Planning

Trail Maps

» Official Trail Map: Good for trails near Park HQ. Other trails are not shown in this map.

» Official Trail MAp: Shows all parts of the park. Mileage and contour information missing.

» Redwood Hikes Map: Bay Area Trail Map: Saratoga to Big Basin, First edition, 2010. This is an excellent map sold by Dave Baselt ($6.95 in Dec 2011). This map is useful for exploring many parks in this area. Highly recommended for avid hikers.


To Saratoga Gap Parking Lot (3.1 miles): Cross Hwy 35 and turn left onto Skyline Trail (3.1 miles) to reach the trailhead.

Saratoga Gap / Long Ridge (3.8 miles): From the trail head, follow Saratoga Gap Trail (1.7 miles) → Bay Area Ridge Trail (0.3 miles) to reach Highway 35. Cross over the highway. Then enter Long Ridge Open Space Preserve. Follow Bay Area Ridge Trail (0.1 miles) → Achistaca Trail (1.7 miles) to reach an intersection with Skyline to the Sea Trail.

To Waterman Gap (intersection of Hwy 9 and Hwy 236) (5.9 miles): Turn right on Skyline to the Sea Trail (1.5 miles). Cross Highway 9 again to continue along Skyline to the Sea Trail (1.5 miles). At this point, there is a junction with Beekhuis Road Trail. In Nov 2012, this junction was unmarked. Continue along Skyline to the Sea Trail (2.9 miles) to reach Waterman Gap at the intersection of Hwy 9 and Hwy 236.

To Castle Rock Park HQ (12.4 miles): From the intersection of Hwy 236 and Hwy 9, continue south along Skyline to the Sea Trail (0.6 miles). Turn left on a connector trail that goes to Saratoga Toll Road (1.5 miles). The connector trail crosses Hwy 9. Upon reaching Hwy 9, turn left and walk a few steps to see a signpost marking the connector trail. Continue along the Connector Trail (0.2 miles), then turn left on Saratoga Toll Road (2.9 miles) until it reaches an intersection with Beekhuis Road Trail. Continue along Saratoga Toll Road (0.8 miles). Turn right on Travertine Springs Trail (2.0 miles) → right on Saratoga Gap Trail (3.4 miles) → right on Castle Rock Loop (1.0 miles) to reach Castle Rock Park HQ.

Notes: Along Saratoga Toll Road, near the intersection with Beekhuis Road Trail, there were some unmarked intersections in Dec 2012. We followed the strategy of avoided trails going down, losing elevation quickly, and didn't get lost.


Location: along Skyline Blvd (Hwy 35), 2.5 miles to the east of intersection with Big Basin Way (Hwy 9) . No street address. Parking area is visible in Google Maps if you zoom in sufficiently.

Directions: From Highway 85, take Saratoga Ave exit. Go south along Saratoga Ave. Continue on Big Basin Way (CA-9) → Left on Skyline Blvd (CA-35). After 2.5 miles on Skyline Blvd, free parking space is available right outside the park entrance.

Google Maps:

Parking Fees: None (last visited: November 2011)

Capacity: Around 15 cars can be parked outside the park entrance for free. Paid parking inside the park.

Latitude: 37.230764     Longitude: -122.095324

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