Known as one of the prime locations for rock climbing due to a diversity of sandstone options, Castle Rock State Park will soon grow to nearly 6,000 acres with the addition of forest lands, ridgetops, and a recently built entranceway and main hub for the park. The additional 200 acres, purchased by California State Parks from the Sempervirens Fund, means that visitors can more easily access trails, picnic areas, climbing rocks, campsites, and other points of interest within the park.
With an average attendance of 180,000 visitors a year, Castle Rock sits adjacent to two other outdoor spaces, one of them being Big Basin Redwoods State Park – California’s oldest – which is still recovering from the CZU August Fire in 2020 when 97 percent of the park was destroyed. The expansion includes old-growth redwood forest, and portions sit above the San Lorenzo River, a 30-mile-long body of water whose headways originate in Castle Rock State Park and winds down through the Santa Cruz Mountains, eventually emptying into the Monterey Bay, adjacent to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. The 30-mile-long Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, one of the most iconic hikes in California, passes along the edge of the new acreage.