Castle Rock State Park, Formidable Beauty in the Bay Area
Castle Rock State Park, Mountain Winery a Winning Combination
Los Gatos, CA- The Santa Cruz Mountains are beautiful. They can also be formidable and unforgiving.
After grabbing a quick bite at the tasty Big Basin Burger Bar in Saratoga, we set our sights just a few miles up the winding roads for Castle Rock State Park. Perhaps it was due to the hot temps or our Monday arrival, but the park was nearly devoid of adventure seekers, a rare occurrence in the Bay Area.
We saved $8 with some free parking just outside the entrance, grabbed our packs and started out along the easy Saratoga Gap Trail. Before visiting, pick your trails wisely. What began as a relatively easy stroll in the woods, turned into an hours long exercise in mountain goat climbing, navigating jagged sandstone chutes under the sun-filled ridgelines and sweltering heat. Trying to keep pace with my 18 year old son as he scurried up and down boulders and rocky inclines quickly became an exercise in futility. Quickly humbled by both my age and fitness level, I slowly pressed on as he occasionally gazed back from afar to check on my progress.
The efforts eventually paid off as we were rewarded with spectacular views from one of the highest ridges in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Miles of rolling hills that eventually reach the Pacific beckon the most weary of hikers. It's a sight to behold. Our minds immediately began to ponder the possibilities of a remote backpacking trip spread out over multiple days. The beauty and solitude are immense among the coastal redwoods, pines and oaks. The hikes vary greatly in intensity, so be sure to plan ahead.
According to the Castle Rock website, "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."
Taking Highway 9 to Skyline Boulevard (35) offers some of the best views of Silicon Valley, especially at night. If you're heading in from out of town, Saratoga provides some ideal lodging and dining options. Plan ahead with reservations, especially on weekends and concert nights.
Our stay at the cozy Saratoga Oaks Lodge, a few miles away and just a couple miles from the Mountain Winery was a perfect location to rest our aching muscles and refresh before heading over to an evening of live music in this amazing outdoor venue. Complimentary breakfast on the go, including Peet's coffee made our stay here extra sweet.
Castle Rock is a scenic place to experience the Santa Cruz Mountains by foot for a few hours, a day or entire week. It's yet another grand adventure that makes the Bay Area such a classic California destination.
About Travel and Entertainment
Authentic, insightful reviews filled with gratitude for this life's grand adventure.VIEW MORE TRAVEL ARTICLES
Schedule a visit from our Travel & Entertainment editors.
Make It Happen!
Pet Care | Real Estate | Restaurants | Tech | View All | * Add/Upgrade Business
Placer County News Headlines$866 Million Budget for Placer County ApprovedThe Placer County Board of Supervisors has approved the county's final 2017-18 budget of $866.2 million, an increase of 6.2 percent from the previous
Free Dementia Training on Sept. 27 for Families of Loved Ones Roseville, CA- The number of Americans living with Alzheimer's disease is expected to triple - from five million today to more than 16 million by 2050 - unless a cure is found
Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk October 8thSacramento, CA - Join the Down Syndrome Information Alliance as we unite for a common cause and raise funds at the 2017 Step Up For Down Syndrome Walk
Roseville City School District partners with Tommy Apostolos FundRoseville, Calif. - Accidents happen, which is why local nonprofit, Tommy Apostolos Fund, is launching its newest program, "Kids' Care Kits."
Sacramento Metro Chamber Small Business Development Center UpdatesSACRAMENTO, CA - In less than three years after assisting its first client in December 2014, the Sacramento Metro Chamber's Capital Region Small Business Development Center
Recovery Happens Event in Auburn September 23Auburn, CA- This annual event celebrates people recovering from substance use or mental health concerns, highlighting their success stories
New Social Host Ordinance in AuburnAUBURN, Calif. - The Auburn City Council unanimously passed a civil social host ordinance during their city council meeting.
Versatile Hyundai Ioniq: Has EV and Hybrid modeRoseville, CA - Anyone interested in purchasing the all-new 2017 Hyundai Ioniq better be proficient at decision making
Roseville Gas Price Hikes Slow Heading into AutumnRoseville, CA- Coming off recent upticks in prices, Roseville area residents have seen prices remain relatively stable this past week.
WJU Baseball adds experience and leadership to staffROCKLIN, Calif. - William Jessup head baseball coach Jake McKinley is pleased to introduce the new coaching staff for the Warriors, bringing years of experience and leadership
Roseville Club to Host Tennis Sectional ChampionshipRoseville, CA - The United States Tennis Association (USTA) Northern California Adult 55+ Tennis Sectional Championship will be arriving on Sept. 21-24
Our Most Vulnerable Residents: Expanding Medical Care & HousingThe Placer County Board of Supervisors recently approved two new components of the Whole Person Care pilot program: a medical respite unit that will provide interim care for at-risk clients leaving the hospital, along with a new agreement to purchase housing units
NEWS: In Case You Missed It