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Castle Rock Falls Hike Information

The tranquility found at Castle Rock Falls is just one of the many treasures found at Castle Rock State Park. Take time to explore and enjoy the sandstone formations, vibrant forest and sweeping vistas.

Watch for:

Don't miss the alien-like sandstone rock formations unlike anything else in the Bay Area. You may also encounter black-tailed deer, red-tailed hawks, and Steller's jays.

Hiking Details for Castle Rock Falls

Distance: 3 miles

Elevation change: 1100 feet

Hiking time: 2-3 hours

Trail surface: packed dirt, mostly shaded

Best Season: Winter, spring (to see the waterfalls)

Managing agency: California Department of Parks and Recreation

Parking lot location: Click here for directions

Overview: From the main entrance at Skyline Boulevard, follow the Saratoga Gap Trail to the Interconnector Trail and Ridge Trail.

A wooden lookout platform at the top of the falls provides spectacular views of the ancient redwood forest. Below you, the falls, fed by natural springs, careen approximately 75 feet down a steep cliff to the San Lorenzo River. While there is no marked trail down to the bottom of the falls, there are unmarked trails to the east, often used by rock climbers who enjoy scaling the cliff next to the falls.

Directions to the Castle Rock Falls Hike

The park is located on Highway 35, just 2 1/2 miles southeast of the junction with Highway 9.

More About Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park is best known for the sculptural sandstone rock formations that lie within its mixed evergreen forest of black oaks, knob-cone pines, and coast redwoods. The 5200 acres of parkland contain 34 miles of trails which connect it, via the Skyline to the Sea Trail, all the way to the coast.

About 30 to 40 million years ago, deposits below the sea accumulated on the continental shelf in the area which is now Castle Rock State Park. As the San Andreas Fault caused movement and elevation of this area, these outcroppings of Vaqueros sandstone rose and eroded into the fascinating shapes we see today. Transformation of this rock is ongoing. Sandstone is soft and porous, and during the wet season rain water seeps into the rock, slowly dissolving the minerals that hold the sand grains together. As it dries, the rock crumbles and erodes, and new shapes emerge.

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