Castle Rock Trail

Written by K. Hart at
alpine hiking area
Castle Rock Trail lake view
snowy mountain area
Castle Rock Trail sign


Welcome to the land of soaring pinnacles and expansive vistas: Castle Rock Trail

This popular Big Bear hiking destination is the perfect outdoor adventure for nature lovers, fitness enthusiasts, and families. And those who persevere are rewarded with epic mountain-top views!

Castle Rock is a massive granite formation high above Big Bear Lake and lures outdoor enthusiasts with breathtaking views. And reaching the peak gives one an amazing sense of accomplishment. 

Rich in natural history, Castle Rock Trail is a testament to the region's fascinating geology. Castle Rock Trail winds through lush forested landscapes and various wildlife habitats, making it an explorable wonder. 

The trail is an out-and-back trek that is well-marked and covers 2.7 miles. The elevation gain is 826 feet, and hiking enthusiasts consider the hike moderately challenging. Some add that it's not ideal for beginners. 

The challenge is the steep sections at the beginning and near the summit. Several hikers mentioned using "hands-on" techniques to climb to the top of Castle Rock. 

Dogs are permitted on Castle Rock Trail but must be leashed. Should you bring children, some trekkers advise that the trail is more suited for children over 8. 

Castle Rock Trail promises to be a fun yet challenging adventure with birds-eye views of Big Bear Lake and surrounding areas. 

Fun Facts & Cool Features

Aside from captivating views and exquisite rock formations, Castle Rock Trail has abundant features that make it an awe-inspiring trek on your Big Bear getaway

Did you know Castle Rock Trail is part of the more significant San Bernardino National Forest? This biodiverse wonderland encompasses an area of approximately 823,816 acres!

Hikers of Castle Rock Trail will be captivated by the incredible variety of plant life found along the path. Watch for blooming wildflowers, giant pine trees, and the whimsical manzanita plants dotting the landscape.

While navigating the route, you may encounter some local wildlife, such as squirrels, various bird species, and maybe even a woodpecker!

But the undoubted highlight of the hike is the panoramic view at the summit. With Lake Arrowhead to the southeast, Big Bear Lake beneath you, and vistas of the valleys on all sides, the panorama from Castle Rock will take your breath away.

Getting There 

When in Big Bear, California, reaching Castle Rock Trail is easy:

  • Start by heading southwest on Big Bear Blvd 
  • Turn right on Marina Point Dr 
  • Turn left onto Lakeview Dr 
  • Finally, turn right onto Hwy 18 
  • Look for street parking along Hwy 18, adjacent to the trailhead


The good news is that no entrance fee or permit is required to hike Castle Rock Trail! However, be aware that parking may be limited, and specific parking spots may require a small fee. Prices are subject to change. Please check their website for updates.

Local Tips

  • Arrive early to secure parking and enjoy a less crowded trail experience. 
  • Bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as portions of the trail are exposed to the sun.
  • Wear appropriate hiking shoes, as some sections of the trail can be slippery and uneven. 
  • Keep your distance from wildlife and never feed them. 
  • Pack a light lunch or snack to enjoy at the summit, as there are no food facilities along the trail.
  • Don't forget your camera to capture the breathtaking vistas awaiting you at the peak.


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