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 HeadlinesKindergarten Registration in Eureka Union School DistrictRoseville, CA,- Registration for Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten will begin February 6th in the Eureka Union School District.
2018 William Jessup Baseball Season PreviewRocklin, Calif. - The Warriors are set to take the field for the first time in their 2018 stint ahead with great expectations under new head coach Jake McKinley and a solid recruiting class
SACOG New Board Leadership for 2018Sacramento - City of Sacramento Councilmember Jay Schenirer and City of Rancho Cordova Councilmember David Sander elected.
Donut Dash Benefit Registration Underway(Sacramento, Calif.) - The tenth annual Donut Dash will take place Saturday, March 3, at 8:30 a.m. at William Land Park in Sacramento. Proceeds will benefit the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department
BottleRock Napa Valley Lineup of Restaurants, Wineries, and Artisanal Craft Breweries & DistilleriesNAPA, CA, - Situated in the heart of America's wine and food playground, BottleRock Napa Valley, presented by JaM Cellars, has once again tapped into the region's renowned culinary talent
Thunder Valley Casino Hiring for Janitorial and HousekeepingLincoln, CA,- Thunder Valley Casino Resort is hiring for Janitorial and Housekeeping positions at a Job Fair on Wednesday,
School Strategies for Children with ADHD and ASD(Sacramento, Calif.) - On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the UC Davis MIND Institute and its Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities will host "School strategies for children with ADHD and ASD
916 Dialing Changes are Coming SoonOn February 09, 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved an overlay that will add the new area code 279 to the 916 area code region
Tree Harvest Festival billed as Northern California's first Cannabis Harvest FestivalWoodland, CA- We are proud to present Northern California's first Cannabis Harvest Festival. We will celebrate the 420 holiday with Music, Art, and Education
Mitsubishi Outlander remains affordable SUVRoseville, CA,- Cost-conscious car shoppers should give the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander a look because it can be driven off the dealer lot for a very reasonable price.
Free Tax Assistance for Eligible ResidentsRocklin, CA- For the third year Placer County Health and Human Services will provide free tax assistance to low-income individuals and families, in cooperation with the IRS and United Way
New Year Marks New Era for Middle Fork ProjectAubrun, Calif.- As the clock struck midnight on January 1, Placer County Water Agency's (PCWA) Middle Fork Project (MFP) marked a momentous occasion 55 years in the making
NEWS: In Case You Missed It