Castle Crags State Park reviews
Glad that the camping loops were all empty. From tents to RV's, we could see the stairs down or up to the picnic tables and fire pits, the pads for rv's, most with new asphalt. The restrooms clean... more »
I went in early november on a nice sunny day. They view was incredible. It took about 1.5hours to get to the top. It's a fairly steep climb but totally worth it once you clear the trees more »
The staff here were just wonderful! Camp host and info booth clerk were so so friendly and down to earth. Showers were $2 for 4 minutes and you have to buy tokens but that's expected at most CA state parks. I stayed in the Lowe loop of the campground closer to the noise of the highway, but away from other campers' noises.. Never was I bothered and I loved it! The drive up to take in the view isn't much more than a mile or so, and parking is easy. The one thing is access to the castles: its about a 6 mile hike there and back from the top of vista drive ...and very strenuous. I hike a lot but my knees can't handle that kind of incline so there was disappointment but by no fault was it the park"s. Pro tip: if you drive up past the entrance to the park, and just keep going up that road a couple miles, an even closer view of the crags are to be had for free! And another primitive campground exists along that road just before you start gaining altitude. No amenities and there were definitely some colorful characters there, so use your own discretion, but if you're on a budget like me, it was nice to have a few extra days to explore sans fee. I paid one night at the park and spent two nights in the primitive camp, the park was pretty affordable though and even more so with a pass.
The camp ground is decently spread out and the patrons were friendly and the bathroom facilities were close enough and clean with ready and willing hot water. A four-minute hot shower for a buck was a luxury. The rangers were helpful and knowledgeable. The only downer is that the site is next to Interstate 5, so you can hear the freeway noise, especially lower camp sites through #13. The trails out of there are great. The River Trail (along the Sacramento River) is easy and nice with several access points to the river. It ends too soon at private property. The next day we got some 20,000 steps along the Flume Trail and then up to and back on the Pacific Crest Trail. With over 1800 feet elevation gain and 6.6 miles in hot weather, this was very challenging first-of-the-season hike for us out-of-shape, mid-50 pencil-pushers. But the reward of beautiful views, wonderful forest smells, several refreshing creek crossings and that special feeling of accomplishment and of doing something worthwhile was worth the effort many times over. We'll be back.
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