Rain is always welcome here in the Bay Area, since droughts seem to contribute to an ongoing misery. This means waterfall hikes are a special treat in the winter, as proof of enough rain to make a stream.
Recently we drove to Castle Rock State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The roads wind up, inviting expensive cars to test out their speeding abilities. On our way there, an array of police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances blocked one lane of this challenging road. Assuming some car went off the cliff, we carefully resumed our journey, only to get passed by an impassioned speeder.
Castle Rock State Park is a destination for rock climbers and hikers. The large boulders on the Castle Rock loop trail are perfect for any climbing skill level. The hike to the waterfall overlook is 1.2 miles, out and back. You’ll walk by a stream and experience an elevation loss of 265 feet (and gain on the way back). When you arrive at the overlook you are looking down at the waterfall. So, be careful if you are afraid of heights.
The waterfall itself is not as gushing as you might come across in Yosemite or Hawaii, but nonetheless nice to listen to.
Be prepared for an uneven path with rocks and roots poking out.
Parking fee is $10, preferably paid by card. The parking lot holds three restrooms and electric car chargers. The Castle Rock State Park is open from sunrise to sunset, the address is: 15451 CA-35, Los Gatos, CA 95033. We stopped at the nearby vista point, just outside the park, for an amazing sunset.
Have you seen the waterfall at Castle Rock State Park?
Another hike I can highly recommend is the loop trail of the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.