Backpacking Castle Rock State Park

San Francisco Castle Rock SP

Added by Pascual Dutton

  • Skip the full campgrounds, these campsites are first come, first served
  • Hike from the parking area on the Saratoga Gap Trail 2.6 miles to camp
  • This is a great campground if you're looking to do a little bouldering as well
  • Duration: Overnight

Castle Rock Trail Camp has a different policy than other backcountry camps in the area (i.e. campsites along Skyline to the Sea). This campground is open all year and is available on a first come, first served basis. If you can, grab a spot a Frog Flat Camp. To get to the camp, park your car at the entrance to Castle Rock State Park. From there, it's a 2.6 mile hike along the Saratoga Gap Trail to reach the Castle Rock Trail Camp and another 0.1 miles to Frog Flat.

These 20 campsites are pretty rustic, but have trash receptacles, bathrooms and the campsites include picnic tables and fire rings. Fires are not permitted during the dry season, but you can bring a gas camp stove. During the wet season, wood is for sale.

The cost for using a campsite is $15.00 per night. This includes overnight parking for one vehicle. Each additional vehicle is $8.00 per night. To register and pay your fees, check in at the Entrance Station at the Castle Rock Parking Lot. If you arrive when the station is not staffed you can use the self-registration envelopes. Make sure you bring exact change or a check to use in case you must use the self-registration. Place your receipt on the dashboard in a visible place as proof of payment. Rangers will verify payment.

It's a good option to call the park first to find if you need to find out more camping information or to check for park closures: (408) 867-2952.

Photo: Sourav Das

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Water
  • Food
  • Water Filtration
  • Sunscreen
  • Hiking Boots or Trail Shoes
  • Camping Utensils
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Backpacking, Camping

Skill Level:



Year Round



Easy Parking

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How to Get There

3 months ago

Great spot near SF!

Lots of great camping sites. We took the saratoga trail there and the ridge view back. Get to the parking lot early and don't be a a-hole, park close to the cars next to you; therefore allowing as many cars in the parking lot as possible. The rangers are really nice, so are the other campers/hikers. Careful lots of bees and mosquitos. All around great spot for a weekend trip.

3 months ago

8 months ago

Quick Overnight Hike

Nice place for an overnight hike if you don't have to time to travel too far from the Bay Area. It's about 2.6 miles to the backpackers camp from the parking lot. You can only park in this lot, not in the street if you are staying the night. I suggest the sites where 13 is grouped at. Much better and more spacious than the the other ones. Site has running water and put toilets. All around good spot for beginners.

8 months ago

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