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Rock Climbing at Castle Rock State Park

Castle Rock State Park is a very popular hiking, backpacking and rock climbing destination located in the Santa Cruz mountains. Spanning 3,600 acres of land, Castle rock boasts a wide variety of plants and animals, as well as incredible vistas of the surrounding mountains. Views of Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean are not uncommon, and unforgettable sunsets are the norm. The forests are comprised of redwoods, madrone and fir trees, and the damp coastal environment helps growth of many types of ferns and moss.

Castle Rock’s upper parking lot starts at an elevation of 3,000 feet, and immediately takes the hiker to views usually not attainable with such little effort. With 32 miles of trails available in the Park, it is easy to hike downhill all day only to realize you’ve underestimated the hike back up to your car! Some popular areas to see in the park include Castle Rock Falls and Goat Rock, where you can get a close-up view of rock climbers in action, and experience the incredible views yourself. Also, keep in mind that dogs are not allowed on the trails of Castle Rock.

Backpackers are also a common sight in the park, even though Castle Rock is considered a day-use area. Overnight camping is only permitted within a backpacker's campsite located near the park headquarters. All other park users need to plan to be out of the park by sunset. Castle Rock is also a popular starting point for the backpacking the Skyline to the Sea Trail.

For the beginner or intermediate rock climber, Castle Rock’s sandstone outcroppings and boulders provide an excellent challenge. Averaging 60-100 feet in height, Castle Rock State Park offers cracks, chimneys, smooth faces and slabs suitable for all abilities and is perfect for expanding your skills.

Castle Rock is also Outback Adventures’ home base for rock climbing instruction in the South Bay Area. The frequency of climbable days is highest in the spring, summer, and fall, but even winter can sometimes provide amazing short-sleeve climbing weather. Some of the formations popular with our guides and instructors include Goat Rock, Castle Rock Falls, Cal Cliff, and Castle Rock proper.

If you would like to learn how to rock climb at Castle Rock State Park, be sure to check out our rock climbing classes section.

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