New, State-of-the-Art Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance Opening Soon
Opening soon: The grand opening of the Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance to Castle Rock State Park. This entrance is made possible by a generous gift from the Kirkwood family, you, and other Sempervirens Fund supporters. Join our mailing list to learn when the entrance will open to the public.
You can get a sneak peek of the new facility by joining us for our 4th Annual Earth Day Volunteer Clean Up day! Volunteers will remove invasive species and maintain native plantings to help restore the habitat at this beloved hiking and rock-climbing destination. Learn more on our volunteers page.
The park entrance is getting a 21st century upgrade, including:
- Free WiFi and digital map you can access offline when cell coverage drops
- A demonstration garden, planted and tended by the Amah Mutsun Land Trust, that illustrates how Native Americans used local plants for medicinal and other purposes
- 60-seat amphitheater for events and programs
- Interpretive exhibits about the flora and fauna of the area
- A drinking water station and accessible pathways and picnic areas
- 90-car parking lot
- And perhaps most importantly: bathrooms!
People like you supported Sempervirens Fund’s purchase of the 33-acre parcel that will serve as the new entrance to the park. In total, Sempervirens Fund donors provided $8 million to design, plan, permit and build this important addition to Castle Rock State Park. Thank you!
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So Much To Do in Just One Park
At Castle Rock State Park there is something for everyone:
- Legend has it that the sport of rock climbing actually started here!
- The Castle Rock Trail Camp is open year-round on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Castle Rock State Park includes 34 miles of hiking trails
- The start of the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, a 31-mile backpacking trail, that continues through Big Basin Redwoods State Park to Waddell Beach. Backpacking reservations required.
- There are several short walks (see Easy Hikes section) perfect for families with young children. When opened, the new entrance will additional walking paths.
- Volunteer opportunities. For restoration projects, please contact our Land Stewardship Associate, Ian Rowbotham, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 949-1453 x208. You can also volunteer with the Amah Mutsun Land Trust in the native garden or with get involved with Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks.
Since Sempervirens Fund established it 50 years ago, Castle Rock State Park has been Silicon Valley’s gateway to the Santa Cruz Mountains.
In 1959, Russell Varian obtained an option to buy the land surrounding Castle Rock for the purposes of creating a new state park. Sadly, he died before he could complete the purchase. Yet, Russell’s wife Dorothy was persistent and committed. She and Sempervirens Fund created Castle Rock State Park in 1968. Together, they launched the legacy you and other Sempervirens Fund donors carry on to this day. Today, Castle Rock spans 5,242 acres and continues to attract rock climbers, hikers and day trippers. This tremendous public resource would not have been possible without forward-looking thinkers like you and the Varians.