The best camping near Castle Rock State Park

Discover the most magical spots to pitch your tent or park your rig on your next Castle Rock adventure.

97% (19 reviews)
97% (19 reviews)

Hikers and climbers love Castle Rock State Park.  

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Community favorites near Castle Rock State Park

Top-rated campgrounds reviewed by the Hipcamp community.

Top-rated campgrounds near Castle Rock State Park

95%
(21)

Skyview

9 sites · Lodging, Tents23 acres · Boulder Creek, CA
With 23 gorgeous acres, Skyview is the perfect place to enjoy nature and the elements. You can hike our ridge trail for spectacular views of the Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz mountains. You can relax in one of our Skypods and take a nap or read a book beneath a 200 year old oak tree. Go swimming in our huge pond and do yoga/meditate/journal on the adjoining beach. There's a grandmother (old-growth) redwood tree to visit plus a wonderful diversity of wildflowers and native plants to study and appreciate. Birds soar in the skies above (hawks, ravens, vultures) while the calls of morning doves and owls gently fill the air at dawn and dusk. And our sunsets...wow!!
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$65
 / night
100%
(16)

Up Shit Creek

4 sites · Lodging, Tents12 acres · Boulder Creek, CA
12 Acres in the Redwoods. Creekside, many many swimming holes lots of open spaces private driveway secluded location. lots of chickens usually an endless supply of eggs for breakfast. Small campfires available. Hot showers, wood-burning stove, kitchen amenities and running water. This is our home, it is private, eclectic and filled with natural beauty. That being said, it is by no means pristine. We have the occasional junk pile like most off grid homesteaders do. We do not throw out some things that others would. We try to find a use for old and weathered equipment and materials. Our cabin is built completely with recycled and reclaimed materials. Like I said, we do not like to waste anything, so you may notice a few parts and pieces laying around.
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$60
 / night
100%
(55)

Audrey Edna Cabin at Alpine Ranch

1 site · Lodging350 acres · Loma Mar, CA
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Situated on top of a ridge with expansive redwood forest and coastal views, the Audrey Edna Cabin provides a completely private gathering place and destination for visitors with reservations. The cabin has spectacular views of forest, sky, ocean and the Butano ridgeline. It's a short hike to 8000+ acres of county parkland where you can hike, bike and ride horses (though please note, there are no facilities for horse boarding at the cabin.) The cabin is located at Alpine Ranch, a property adjacent to Sam McDonald County Park that was protected by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST).  Whether you are looking for an active experience or just want to relax in a peaceful, remote setting, there's something here for everyone. This is a rustic hike-in cabin designed for a introductory pack-in experience. Bedding is not provided. It is about a 1.7-mile hike on a rolling dirt road from the Sam McDonald County Park parking lot, with about 650 feet of elevation gain. Most hikers can reach the cabin in an hour or less. Guests should plan to arrive at least 2 hours before sunset, and pack water and flashlights or headlamps. Guests with limited mobility, please contact us for information regarding accommodations that will allow you to access this shared resource. *A note about reservation availability: On the weekends, POST offers priority reservations for the cabin to our partners at the San Mateo County Health Department and Park Rx to provide patients with equitable access to the benefits of nature. Occasionally, we have last-minute public weekend reservation availability due to cancellations. The cabin is reservable up to 3 months in advance, on a rolling basis. Love the idea of a hike-in cabin, but unable to visit us Sunday-Thursday? Check out the nearby Sierra Club Hiker's Hut in Sam McDonald County Park.  Property History: At one time, the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains was a thriving center for trade between tribes of the coast and the bay, which we still find evidence of today in cultural sites and artifacts throughout the region. Native people have cared for this land since time immemorial, including the local Muwekma and Ramaytush Ohlone who are still active in the area today. This property specifically is host to a tributary to one of just a handful of waterways that support salmonids in this region, which are a species of tremendous importance to native people. Over 1000 acres here were eventually purchased by entrepreneur Ridgeway Rowley, who built a home on the ranch in the 1880s as part of an unsuccessful wedding proposal to Fannie Page, daughter of a local mill owner (ever heard of Page Mill Road?) After being rejected by Fannie, Rowley operated the ranch for a decade in conjunction with his work as District Attorney and publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, before eventually returning to his hometown of Cortland, NY, where he lived as a bachelor until his death. Over the course of the 20th century, the ranch was divided, some parts of which became Pescadero Creek County Park. POST purchased the 350 acre home property, now called Alpine Ranch, in 2012 through our Heart of the Redwoods campaign, an initiative to protect 20,000 acres of Redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Alpine Ranch borders Pescadero Creek County Park and Sam McDonald County Park, adding to the area’s protected open space and containing more than a mile of tributaries to Pescadero Creek, which flows year-round and is a major spawning stream for steelhead trout. The Audrey Edna Cabin at Alpine Ranch is situated at one of the property's most scenic overlooks. The cabin was built in the early 1900's, and completely reconstructed up to modern building codes by POST in 2018 so that all could enjoy this special place.
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$100
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95%
(228)

WindTree

7 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents64 acres · Los Gatos, CA
WindTree is an awesome retreat perched high on top of the Santa Cruz Mountains in California, over looking the entire Monterey Bay and Santa Clara Valley. WindTree is sacred land used by many over the past 30 years for retreat and ceremony. It has also been a working "Wwoof" -ing farm for volunteers from all over the world to come and learn about organic gardening in a fun, beautiful, nurturing community restoring our sense of interrelatedness and encouraging planetary sustainability by our choices and concerns for the wellness of the environment. You can make your experience apart of this community or enjoy a quiet private camp site away from any activities. We are off the grid with solar power and our own well. We have small organic gardens with chickens and goats. You will love it up here under the stars. Note: RV's over 21 feet will have difficulties on our driveway.
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$60
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86%
(2496)

The Enchanted Forest Retreat

54 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents45 acres · Los Gatos, CA
Welcome to the Enchanted Forest Retreat! We are a meditation retreat center with 45 acres of some of the most gorgeous redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains to enjoy hiking, creeks and small water fall exploration, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, star gazing, relaxation, meditation and more. Our campground has running water from a natural spring, Men and Women's Restrooms each with 2 toilets and 1 hot water shower, laundry shed with sink and hot water, and an outdoor amphitheater, (the kitchen and washer/dryer is Staff Only not for campers). We have meditation teaching at the amphitheater and campers are welcomed to attend for free. 4-6 guests maximum with 1 car included in the nightly rate. Each additional vehicle is $15 per day and will be added at checkout once you add the correct number of vehicles you will be bringing. You can bring a maximum of 2 cars. PLEASE NOTE, we do not have a trash service on site, we require all campers to PACK OUT THEIR GARBAGE with them! Pets are $10 per day, 1 pet per group ONLY. Please add this as an extra at the time of booking, you will see the option to add extras once you begin the checkout process. Dogs must be on leash at all times! Quiet hours are 10pm-8am. No drugs of any kind including marijuana allowed. No loud music allowed. This is a private property so no visitors are allowed, only paid guests. Our onsite staff will go around and enforce the rules. NOTICE REGARDING RVs and TRAILERS: While we can not offer hookups, theoretically we have no problem with RVs, the road is steep in a couple of places getting down to the campground and VERY narrow in one spot (10ft). If you feel you're willing to take this risk (we won't be held liable), you're welcome to reach out to us and we can see if the site is good for RV/trailers. Only sites 8, 12 and 5 are good for trailers. No vehicle can drive into Site 7, 9, 10 and 11 (the parking area is separate). Other sites may be ok with small trailers. Check with the host. Any trailer larger than 20ft, take your own risk, there is a narrow point only 9ft wide.
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$80
 / night
100%
(1)

Brook Camp

1 site · RV, Tent1 acre · Brookdale, CA
Welcome to our one-acre Redwood grove, complete with a seasonal creek. With both level and hilly areas, we offer one platform tent (with more on the way), a spacious Picnic Pavilion, and numerous spots for pitching a tent beneath the majestic Redwoods. Explore the many unspoiled creeks in the area, perfect for hiking enthusiasts. Additionally, the Santa Cruz beach and Boardwalk are just 6 miles south, offering endless seaside entertainment. Please note, our site holds historical significance as it borders the CZU fire burn scar. Big Basin is a mere 4 miles away, while the historic Brookdale Lodge is just 1 mile from our location.
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$20
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95%
(28)

Peace Mountain Retreat Center

6 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents5 acres · Scotts Valley, CA
This location is a private home, turned retreat center in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We are cradled by Mother Nature, in the middle of a Redwood forest, with fresh air and California sun, work together to create an environment that will insulate you from the chaos of today’s hectic lifestyles. Besides camping or overnight stays, we offer retreats to soothe your weary soul. The rooms for rent are part of the home, where I live. We will be sharing space. I have two dogs that live on the property - a British Labrador and a Goldendoodle. Please do not book if you don't like dogs. They are the sweetest dogs you'll meet. They serve to exuberantly welcome you, as well as guard, protect and warn me about unruly UPS drivers and the very scary turkeys that roam the mountains. This property is proudly woman-owned and operated. I love hosting women travelers and have built my tent sites, rooms, cabins, retreats and experiences to cater to women. That is to say, women want a little more comfort, a little more care, a little more thoughtfulness and little more bougie. If that's what you're looking for, this is it! Of course I welcome men too. In fact, there are quite a few men’s’ retreats hosted here. All will be comforted with the smells of the redwoods outside and the smells of fresh baked bread, inside. Come and join me for a night in the woods. Welcome to Peace Mountain, ~Daisy
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$50
 / night
100%
(5)

Bella Foret- beautiful forest creek

4 sites · RVs, Tents2 acres · Portola Valley, CA
Bella Foret, “beautiful forest” A Gem Nestled along La Honda creek between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay . Dog and other friendly, attached hiking trails to waterfalls, creek from property. Owner lives on site. some sites allow fires in permitted fire pits. (local wood only!) All inclusive campsites including toilet, outdoor shower and kitchen. Electricity and potable water provided. Sites limited to 2-3 person tent and quiet hours are strictly adhered.
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$70
 / night
100%
(136)

Fern Ridge Flats - Private Camping

2 sites · Tents9 acres · Aptos, CA
Nestled in a canopy of redwoods, less than 10 miles from the beach sits a private and cozy campground. Fern Ridge Flats combines the best of Santa Cruz county. Abundant trees and misty mornings await you at our property in Aptos. Equipped with electricity, water, and a picnic table for your convenience. There are trails on the land for you to explore, animals, and nature to dive into. *************** Smoking and the use of drugs are strictly prohibited. This is a safe and quiet neighborhood with many families including my own. Please do not request to book if you have the intention of partying or using illegal substances. If these rules are violated, local authorities will be called and you will be removed from the campsite. *************** The campsite is less than a 5 minute walk from the parking spot but is relatively steep. Although it is paved it is not recommended for anyone with mobility issues. *************** As an added precaution to protect the lush landscape, the firepit at the campsite utilizes clean burning propane. We chose a burner that closely replicates the size and heat of a wood to enhance our campers' experience.
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$65
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91%
(141)

Hidden Spring Ranch

6 sites · Lodging, RVs, Tents6 acres · Santa Cruz, CA
Magical 6 acre permaculture ranch just a few minutes to town, beaches and restaurants. Take a bath under a clear night sky, enjoy the morning birdsong and take a stroll on or off the property. We have free ranging chickens, a hidden spring surrounded by two creeks and wild plums. Happy Valley is a secret little gem of Santa Cruz. Plenty of space for relaxing, and amazing location for both convenience and adventures. (2 of the 3 sites have the tubs please read individual descriptions to find out if the one you chose has one)
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$55
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97%
(299)

The Ranch at Cross Road

11 sites · RVs, Tents84 acres · Livermore, CA
Welcome to the ranch at cross road! We are a family owned organic farm in the heart of Livermore wine country. We have 10 camp sites spread across the property for you to choose from. The property is minutes from Lake Del Valle and some of the best wineries and breweries California has to offer. Settle in and enjoy amazing sunsets every night with us! We accommodate tents,Travel trailers, Fifth wheels, Toy haulers, Pop-up campers, Class A RVs, Class B RVs, Class C RVs, Campervans, and Cars. Our guests love us too! "I had a wonderful stay at Matt’s ranch! It was easy to find even as it was starting to get dark, and the campsites were well lit and easy to find. The ranch is beautiful. It was such a treat to stay here. I would definitely stay again."
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$55
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82%
(34)

Top Of The Mountain Vineyard

6 sites · Lodging, RVs32 acres · CA
Welcome to Hill Top Vineyard, nestled in the mountains of Santa Cruz; this breathtaking 30+ acre retreat is the ideal getaway. We offer 3 RV/tent sites and 2 glamping domes. The glamping domes share a full bathroom equipped with a hot water shower and flushing toilet. There is no toilet available for the RV/tent sites so campers are required to bring their own. Featuring four acres of vineyard, two acres of seasonal pond, winding trails, and sweeping vistas of the surrounding mountains. Just imagine waking up slowly with a cup of coffee from one of the local coffee shops while you watch the wildlife come to life. Evenings are best spent enjoying the stunning sunsets in front of the 2 acre pond. Located just 15 miles from the world-famous beaches of Santa Cruz that have some of the most sought-after surf breaks, and if beaches aren't your thing, Henry Cowell State park is less than ten miles away and has some of the gorgeous hikes in all of Santa Cruz County. Big Basin State Park is a few towns over and is one of the few places in the world where you can see coastal redwoods. The location also offers easy access to silicon valley and the greater bay area if you're interested in a day trip to the city. Amenities include RV/oversized vehicle parking, private trails, and more! Book your stay today at Hill Top Vineyard to experience the ultimate getaway, where you'll find peace in nature's embrace.
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$90
 / night

The best camping near Castle Rock State Park guide

Overview

About

Tucked into the Santa Cruz mountains lies a sandstone paradise full of dramatic views, excellent hiking, and coastal redwoods. Bonus: it's just an hour's drive from the Bay Area.

Hikers will love the endless trail options. There are 34 miles of trails in the park itself. These trails also connect to a wider network in the adjoining Big Basin Redwoods State Park and Portola Redwoods State Parks. It’s way more than you can see in a day. Fortunately, there are two walk-in campsites where you can spend the night. 

Just 2.6 miles from the parking lot on the Saratoga Gap trail, Castle Rock Trail Camp offers 20 sites perched on a ridge. If you camp here, be sure to walk around a bit to find an epic sunset view after you set up camp. Sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you want a guaranteed spot, head to Waterman Gap Trail Camp. It’s a lot further (nine miles) but the sites are reservable. Waterman Gap is also the first stop on the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail. A three-day trek that takes you from Castle Rock all the way to the sea at Waddell Beach (highly recommended).

Rock climbers will find plenty to do here. The area’s sandstone is riddled with honeycomb-like features called tafoni. These unique features make for some interesting climbing. The climbing here is mostly sport and bouldering but there are a few trad climbs. A lot of routes can also be top roped, making this an excellent area for beginners. If you’re looking for a challenge, try the runout but classic waterfall route. It’s 100 feet of heady leading.

There is no cell service in the park so plan ahead. Dogs are also not allowed. If you want to bring doggo climbing, try nearby Indian Rock, it’s right outside the park boundaries.

The Bay Area’s temperate climate makes any time a great time to visit. It never really gets too hot during the summer. It’s often gorgeously sunny during the winter. Escape those winter doldrums and soak up some vitamin D. Your body will thank you.

Tips for snagging a campsite

  • Book early, as reservations can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons.
  • Check the park's reservation system regularly for cancellations to snag a spot.
  • Consider visiting during the off-season for better availability and a quieter experience.
  • Explore nearby camping options if Castle Rock is fully booked.

When to go

The best time to visit Castle Rock State Park is during spring and fall when the weather is mild and the natural beauty is at its peak. Summer offers longer days for exploration, though it can be warm. Winter may bring closures due to weather, so always check ahead.

Know before you go

  • Prepare for no cell reception; plan your visit and communications accordingly.
  • Trail conditions can vary; check with park staff upon arrival for the latest updates.
  • Bring cash for the $10 vehicle day-use fee, as card facilities may not be available.
  • Remember, dogs are not allowed in the park, ensuring the preservation of local wildlife.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations are available, so eco-friendly travel is welcome.

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