Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA
Dog Friendly Hikes Kid Friendly Hikes San Bernardino County Hikes

Hiking Castle Rock Trail – Big Bear, CA

Castle Rock Trail is a popular 2-mile out-and-back hike located in Big Bear, California. This short trail gains 610 ft and provides hikers with a bird's eye view of Big Bear Lake. The path up to Castle Rock is steep, rocky, and technical towards the end, so make sure to come prepared.  

Castle Rock Trail is a popular 2-mile out-and-back hike located in Big Bear, California. This short trail gains 610 ft and provides hikers with a bird’s eye view of Big Bear Lake. The path up to Castle Rock is steep, rocky, and technical towards the end, so make sure to come prepared and wear proper footwear.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA


Getting There: Directions And GPS Track

  • Castle Rock Trail is accessed via HWY 18 in Big Bear, CA. The trailhead is on the south side of the street and can be found at the following address: Big Bear Blvd, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
  • There is very limited parking available at the trailhead. You’ll find space for 3-4 cars in the pullout just north of the trailhead, and another pullout that can fit 8-10 cars just east of the trailhead. You can see the parking areas in the photos below. Be mindful that on certain days this trailhead can be very popular, which will require you to park far away and walk along the busy HWY 18.
  • Download GPX
  • See track on Strava

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA


Hike Profile

  • Distance: 2.00 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 610 ft
  • Minimum Elevation: 6801 ft
  • Maximum Elevation: 7388 ft
  • Time: 1-3 hours
  • Difficulty: (2/5)
  • Dog Friendly: Yes
  • Permit Required: No
  • Parking: Limited parking near trailhead. Adventure Pass required when snow is present.
  • Weather: This hike is best done in the warmer months before snow and ice cover the trail.
  • Trail Condition: This is a rocky trail that requires proper hiking footwear.
  • Cell Phone Reception: Spotty

Do you have the appropriate gear for this hike? Don’t hike unprepared!
See my current hiking gear list. 


Hike Map And Elevation Profile

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CAHiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA


Hike Description:

0.0 Miles (6801 ft)- Starting on the southside of HWY 18, you’ll see a trailhead for ‘Castle Rock Trail 1W03’. A sandy path of single track leads the way upward and soon is broken up by a rocky path of stones and boulders.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

One of things that I love most about hiking in Big Bear is the abundance of trees. This entire hike takes place under a canopy of pine trees stretching towards the sky. So many of the trails close to home are wide open, dry, and exposed, so it’s nice to enjoy the shade and tree cover of these trails that are only an hour drive from home.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

0.3 Miles (7047 ft)- After you’ve hiked a little over a quarter mile, you’ll see two benches which make for a nice place to take a break. The trail up until this point is very straightforward and easy to follow, but soon requires a little more vigilance on the behalf of hikers.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

This trail is jamming with hikers on most days, especially on the weekend, so staying on the right path is pretty easy. For hikers that go on less crowded days, there is really good trail marking and signs at junctions that aren’t obvious.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

0.60 Miles (7241 ft)- Once you’re through the boulder field that makes up the middle portion of this hike, you’ll catch your first views of Castle Rock from a stretch of sandy single track.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

As you approach Castle Rock, you’ll notice that there are more than a few use trails that lead into the complex of rock formations. From this point on, be very careful and mindful with your footing.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

For those hiking with kids and/or dogs, you can find a few rocks to climb on, but probably shouldn’t make your way onto the taller formations. There are plenty of great views of Big Bear Lake from the tops of smaller boulders.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

For those feeling more ambitious, you can make your way to the highpoint of boulders to reach the peak of Castle Rock.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

1.00 Miles (7388 ft)- The high point and summit of Castle Rock requires some class III scrambling, so don’t fool around if you don’t know what you’re doing. It would be very easy to get injured here.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA

Once you’ve enjoyed the views of Big Bear Lake from Castle Rock, you can make your way back down to the trailhead on the same path you hiked up on.

Hiking Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear, CA


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I'm Drew, creator of Trail to Peak. Trail to Peak brings content to life on the web through breath-taking photography and captivating video. I launched Trail to Peak in 2014 with a goal to inspire readers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I have traveled to 19 countries, walked Camino de Santiago, hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the Andes of Peru, and am constantly seeking new adventures in my home state of California. Joining me on my weekly adventures is my partner, Julia, our son, Owen, and our two goldendoodles, Isla and Lilly.

4 comments on “Hiking Castle Rock Trail – Big Bear, CA

  1. Nice to have that so close to home…looks like a nice hike.

  2. Nice looking hike and it appears that little Owen is becoming quite the hiker.

    • We’ve been amazed at how well he’s handling rocky trails. On the Camino, his max was usually 1-2 miles a day. He can now do 2-3 miles pretty easily. The downside is we struggle to tire him out on days when we can’t hike!

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