Castle Rock State Park is located about fifteen miles from here, and includes one of the higher ridges of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
If you were of a mind to do so, you could hike down 32 miles of trail from the park all the way to the ocean.
We were not that ambitious, and chose a 7 mile loop, that was listed as having a 1000 foot altitude change, and classified as challenging: not for beginners.
It was much easier than our Pinnacles Hikes! Most of it was through beautiful oak forest. At this time of the year the moss on the rocks is intensely green! Most of the trail was either hard up or steep down. This was one of the flatter places.
Not far into our hike we came to a waterfall with an overlook. Below us there was a rock climbing instructor working with a ten year old boy. This view is almost straight down.
Some of the trail was quite rough. We had to climb over rocks and boulders.
There were a few places where we had to guess where the trail was, but after a short distance it would be clear again.
Part of our hike was along the top of the ridge and we were able to see the clouds over the ocean in the distance.
The pictures we took didn't show the vastness of the forest we could see.
It was a beautiful day. The sky was clear and the temperature was just right.
Some portions of the trail were enhanced with steps and/or cable railings. Everywhere I looked there was something very special.
As usual we took a lot of pictures, and it has been very hard to pick just a few to give you a feel for this wonderful place. The Santa Cruz Mountains!
Like most parks, this one had a special feature. An interesting kind of limestone rock formation. The largest of these is Castle Rock, with numerous lacy holes and small caves.
Here I am, at almost at the end of our hike. Still smiling. Legs were very tired, and I wouldn't have wanted to go much farther, but I will have good memories of this spring afternoon in the park!
How lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place. This is why I wanted to lose some weight! Now I can hike in parks, be they national, state, or county! Be they in far off states, or in our own back yard.
Have boots, will hike!
Note: I haven't gotten trekking poles yet. I'm using a ski pole for this hike. I wanted to try it so I could get an idea of what I want in trekking poles. One? Two?