Castle Rock State Park

posted in: Family Getaways | 27


Keep close to Nature’s heart…. and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. -John Muir



 This state park is no ordinary state park because you can actually do some rock climbing here. The thought of rock climbing sounds fun but we did not prepare ourselves for rock climbing and to be honest with you we don’t know the first thing about rock climbing and this was not the day to cling onto a wall for dear life.

This is a pretty good size park with multiple trail head entrances. Since we’ve never been here before we decided to start at the trailhead parking lot for Castle Rock itself and it turned out that we made a great choice because we were hiking with our four kids and our youngest does not like to hike. She can run around all day and not complain about her tired feet but as soon as we start hiking she starts saying her feet are tired. This trailhead offers you easy access to multiple highlights of the park so you can do as little or as much hiking as you please. When we got on the trail we hiked right past Castle Rock split because we figured it would be easy enough to get it on the way back. 


Castle Rock Falls

The Saratoga Gap trail to Castle Rock Falls has very little elevation gain and it is the farthest outpoint from the parking lot that we were planning to hike. It is a very shady trail with very little sun. You will be following a creek majority of the time with some great picture opportunities. What we liked the most about this part of the hike was the moss covered trees. The moss reminds you of the North West forest. When you get to the falls there is a well built observation deck that lets you safely enjoy the waterfalls.



Goat Rock Overlook

As we back tracked on Saratoga Gap trail from the falls to the parking lot we took Ridge trail to get to Goat Rock. This trail is very different from Saratoga Gap trail. It is more open so more sun shines through. Since we were hiking on a sunny day we were able to see Monterey Bay multiple places on this trail which is a great payoff of its own. This trail also has a lot more elevation gain on the way in with a few spots on all fours trying to climb up. There are some great rock playing opportunities along the trail which are great for both adults and children because when you get to goat rock and look up you will realize that it will take some great technique to climb up this one but don’t worry the great folks of the park service took care of that and built steps on the side of it so you could walk to the top of it. You will have to do little bit of climbing but this is much more doable for non-climbers like us. From the top of the goat rock you will get an incredible view of the park and of Monterey Bay. Even if you are scared of heights you will not regret climbing up after you take in the views.


Castle Rock

Castle Rock lives up to its name because it stands like a castle and it does not matter on which side you approach it, it will be very difficult for non-climbers like us to get to the top of it. But it is a lot of fun with all the unique tafoni patterns that you can climb into. This was our kids favorite stop of the day. Sure looks like climbers love Castle Rock as well because you will see many individuals with harnesses, lead ropes, chalk bags, carbine, and belay devices. You can sit and enjoy your lunch as you watch how different people with different levels of expertise take on the castle.



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27 Responses

  1. That looks like such an amazing park,I have never done any kind of rock climbing activity but it looks like so much fun. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wow, this looks like a beautiful place to visit with my family! We love checking out different national parks for hiking and camping! I love these views! Breathtaking!

  3. The photos are breathtaking! I would love to visit that place someday. You have a beautiful family, by the way.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  4. Julie Porter

    Castle Rock is so very gorgeous, thank you for sharing your pictures with us. We have great places to rock climb here in MN too, in fact, your pictures remind me a bit of a place I have climbed on the St. Croix River.

  5. Wow, that a view here! I think it’s awesome that you can do some rock climbing at this park. It looks like a great way to spend a family day.

  6. I’ve never been rock climbing but I would love to do so here because of the amazing views. It’s such a beautiful place to visit from the photos.

  7. Castle Rock looks really beautiful and a wonderful place to just be. But – that rock climbing piece also makes it extra interesting! Love these photos – really capture the moment!

  8. What a beautiful place! Wow. The pictures are amazing and I would love to visit their someday!

  9. Wow! What beautiful pictures and what a beautiful place, I love exploring the areas around us.

  10. Wow that is some gorgeous scenery and back drop! Looks like you all had a wonderful time adventuring together. 🙂

  11. What a gorgeous place! I would love to see Castle Rock. What state is this in? Your photography is lovely.

  12. Wow, what a beautiful area! I always love taking the kids to find new places like that to explore!

  13. The pictures are very pretty. Our family is not much for outdoor things. My oldest is only two and he isn’t great at staying close to me. Maybe one day we will go on a short hike when the boys are older.

  14. such beautiful pictures! I’ve done some rock climbing but never on an actual mountain, that just sounds scary!

  15. What a beautiful place! It looks like you and your family had a wonderful time exploring nature!

  16. Jeanine

    Rock climbing looks like so much fun. That looks like a gorgeous place to do it too, looks like a lot of fun and would be fun to explore!

  17. Reesa Lewandowski

    We love parks like this! It looks like you and the kids had such a nice day exploring and hiking!!

  18. Megan mccoig

    What a perfect activity for an active day out. I love active days out with my family and I also love rock climbing. Would love to visit here. Looks beautiful!

  19. Wow it’s all so beautiful. I would love to take my kids and husband here. We’re always looking for fun vacation destinations.

  20. Veronica

    I was looking at the girls climbing the rock and I imagined how proud they must have been of this achievement. Such a wonderful place to visit with a family

  21. this place looks just amazing but even more impressed all the kids hiked it and look happy doing it!

  22. Wow what a fun adventure! Looks like you and your family had a great time at that park.

  23. This is a lovely family activity! That view is worth going up for, especially when you get to the top and just sit there with the kids. I’m sure you all had a great time and it also brought you closer together!

  24. Wow! It is so pretty there! I think that my kids would love it. Every time we go for a hike they want to climb as many rocks as possible 🙂

  25. Wow this park is absolutely beautiful! It looks like you guys had a great time up there!

  26. What gorgeous photos! This park seems like a great way to get some fresh air and enjoy nature.

  27. What a fun adventure! This vacation looks absolutely beautiful – so many photo opps. It looks as though the whole family had a fantastic time. Cheers! Xx

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