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El Gato Recommends: Castle Rock State Park

By Amelia Enns, Wilma Wei, and Alis Patterson

Humor Editors, Media Production Editor (respectively)

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Tucked in the mountains surrounding the Bay Area, Castle Rock State Park is an easy day trip, perfect for hiking, camping, or rock climbing. Eager to take a break from the monotony of school and work, your local El Gatans Alis, Wilma, and Amelia, took a hike out in Castle Rock during the weekend.

Right off the bat, we walked by some patches of snow on the ground (which left the ground a bit slippery), but it didn’t deter us from our hike, as the snow later melted along the trail. 

Starting off, we decided to take a loop trail: the Saratoga Gap trail which then led to the Ridge Trail. Along the way on the trail, we came across Castle Rock Falls, where Kings Creek drops off a cliff. The viewing platform also gave us a view of the distant mountains and was a good place for us to take a quick break for water and snacks. 

We then continued along the Saratoga Gap trail. The path was slightly rugged, rocky, and overall varied elevation. As we hiked in the afternoon, the sunny trail ran along the mountainside, giving us a view of the surrounding mountains and valley in the distance. Along the way, the Patrick Charles Allen Memorial Grove is a nice clearing with a seating area that allows for a quick snack and water break. 

On our way back, we came across multiple spots great for rock climbing. Although there may be some serious rock climbers out here with ropes and hooks, there were some medium sized rocks that were perfect for us to climb to get a good view. A good area that offered intermediate rocks was Dan Seldow’s Fraggle Rock Grove; the rocks there had good footholds and handholds that led up to a stunning view on top of the rock. Lastly, the Ridge Trail led us to a few more rocks, including Goat Rock, a popular bouldering spot for many rock climbers. 

The overall terrain changed from towering, dense redwood trees to a rocky landscape dotted with trees and dry grass. The trail loop took us an hour to complete, and for those who also want to explore the Saratoga Gap trail, we recommend bringing sunscreen, comfortable hiking clothes, some snacks, a water bottle, and sturdy shoes!

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