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Castle Rock State Park

Portal to the Santa Cruz Mountains

Not far from Silicon Valley stands a portal to another world where visitors can find a different type of connection—one to the Santa Cruz Mountains. Near Los Gatos, 34-miles of trails wind through Castle Rock State Park’s 5,300 acres of sandstone formations, forests, and vistas. Sempervirens Fund helped create Castle Rock State Park in 1968 and has since helped grow the park by 4,000-acres. In 2019 the new Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance, restored and built by Sempervirens Fund supporters, opened to connect more people to the park with modern amenities. Today, Sempervirens Fund continues to protect surrounding priority lands like the Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance and Castle Rock West to help expand Castle Rock State Park.

In 2023, Sempervirens Fund transferred six protected properties including the Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance, Sempervirens 236, Castle Rock West, and the Saratoga Toll Road Properties to Castle Rock State Park to bolster the park’s important habitats and expand its trails and recreational experiences for all to enjoy. Adding these properties to Castle Rock State Park ensures that they both continue to be well-managed for conservation and resiliency—augmenting California’s 30x30 and climate, wildfire, and community resiliency goals—and formally expand the park’s incredible recreational experiences into new lands, habitats, and vistas.

No matter the level of experience you are looking to enjoy, from short family walks to rock climbing or backpacking the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, Castle Rock State Park has just the right adventure.

Plan Your Hike

Address: Castle Rock State Park, Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance, 15451 Skyline Blvd, Los Gatos, CA 95033

Hours: Check the park website for current Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance operating hours are 8:00 a.m. to sunset, daily. Weekdays are optimal days to visit the park to ensure you get a parking spot. NOTE: The Kirkwood Entrance gate is closed and locked every day at sunset.

Directions: click here for Google maps directions

Park Activities

At Castle Rock State Park, there is something for everyone:

Park Amenities

  • 90-car parking lot with environmentally friendly permeable paving. Parking is $10.00 per day, which you can pay for at self-serve kiosks. California State Parks Annual Parking Pass holders should display their pass when parking. The old parking lot, located about one-quarter mile further south on Highway 35 / Skyline Blvd., is reserved for overnight guests and may be used for overflow parking at the discretion of park staff. Overnight guests with reservations will receive a gate code to access the old parking lot. NOTE: The Kirkwood Entrance gate is closed and locked every day at sunset. Weekdays are optimal days to visit the park to ensure you get a parking spot.
  • A Native Plants Garden, planted and tended by the Amah Mutsun Land Trust and the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, that illustrates how Native Americans use local plants for medicinal and other purposes
  • A restored native black oak forest, planted with the help of Sempervirens Fund volunteers
  • Free Wi-Fi and a downloadable trail map app
  • Free charging stations for electric vehicles
  • 60-seat, accessible amphitheater for events and programs.
  • A drinking water station and accessible pathways and picnic areas
  • And perhaps most importantly: bathrooms with flush toilets!
  • Rentable facilities at the Robert C. Kirkwood Entrance include a projector and screen for outdoor movies and presentations at the outdoor amphitheater. Please contact the State Park Special Events Office for details.

People like you supported Sempervirens Fund’s purchase of the 33-acre parcel, which was a former Christmas tree farm. In total, Sempervirens Fund donors provided $8.7 million to design, plan, permit, and build this important addition to Castle Rock State Park. Thank you!

Volunteer

Throughout the year, Sempervirens Fund holds a variety of volunteer events, including invasive species removal, trail clean ups, and more! Check out our Volunteer Page for more information. 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.

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