Hike in Castle Rock State Park – Saratoga Gap Trail


Hike Date: Saturday, June 10, 2017
(Previous Visit: Sunday, October 4, 2015)

One of the Sandstone Outcrops on the Ridge Trail

Exquisite sandstone formations and sculpted caves are among the treasured features within this park’s vast wilderness.


For other routes in Castle Rock State Park, see Hike in Castle Rock State Park – Skyline to the Sea Trail.

Features

  • Castle Rock Falls – there is an observation platform
  • Numerous sandstone outcrops with ‘tafoni’ formations including the Castle Rock and Goat Rock
  • Panoramic views
  • Russell Point

ABOUT THE HIKE

  1. Parking LotCastle Rock State Park Parking Lot. No cellular reception inside the preserve.
  2. Parking Fee: $8 inside the parking lot, which can get full quickly on weekends. Street parking is free, but even the street parking spots are limited.
  3. Restroom: Next to the parking lot/trailhead (‘A’ in the route below)
  4. Trailhead: Next to the parking lot
  5. Route (clockwise):
    • Trailhead (A)
    • Lower trail at the fork after the bridge, signs for ‘Campground’ / ‘Castle Rock Falls’ –> Saratoga Gap Trail (B)
    • Ridge Trail (C) — turnaround point
    • Stairs down after the Goat Rock –> Ridge Trail (C)
    • Saratoga Gap Trail (D) — repeat of a part of ‘B’
  6. Route Map:
  7. Distance: 5.47 miles
  8. Time: 4 hours 12 minutes (3 hours 20 minutes in 2015)
  9. Elevation Gain: 1700 feet
  10. Exposure: Mostly shaded, some parts exposed
  11. Company: Friends. In all, 4 people.

ten photos from the hike

Restroom Next to the Parking Lot

Restroom Next to the Parking Lot

On the Top of a Sandstone Outcrop

On the Top of a Sandstone Outcrop

Saratoga Gap Trail (B)

Saratoga Gap Trail (B) – also the way to the Castle Rock Falls

Castle Rock Falls Observation Platform

Castle Rock Falls Observation Platform

Panoramic View of the Santa Cruz Mountains

Panoramic View of the Santa Cruz Mountains

A Creek Bridge

A Creek Bridge

Turning Around to the Ridge Trail (C)

Turning Around to the Ridge Trail (C)

Tafoni Ribs Inside a Sandstone Cave

Tafoni Ribs Inside a Sandstone Cave

Ridge Trail (C)

Ridge Trail (C)

Near the Goat Rock

Near the Goat Rock

Some of the plants spotted in the park:

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