Summary: If you only have one hour to spend in Big Bear, this is the trail for you. It is actually less than 1.5 miles, but you may want to explore around the area just a bit. You get inspiringly incredible views of Big Bear Lake from the vantage point on top of Castle Rock.
The climb isn't for the feint of heart though, and acrophobics should steer clear. The trail itself is very steep, and you gain 600' in about half a mile. However, it is so short, it can't be called anything but easy. To get to the top, you must scramble, and there isn't an "easy" route up, but the west side offers the least challenge.
The area is beautiful and after 2 minutes on the trail, you no longer hear the buzzing of cars on the 18 which is also a definite plus.
Trailhead: Take the 18 East to Big Bear, a little more than a mile from the Bridge over the dam you will see the trail on your right and a turn-out on the left. There is no trailhead parking, although 6-9 cars could park here comfortably.
The trail is well marked where it is not easy to follow. Once you get to Castle Rock, you'll want to follow the trail (the main one) around to the west side where it is easier to get up. Unless you are a skilled climber, don't attempt the east face. (Lat:34.2311 Lon:-116.96181)
Trail Guides for Castle Rock Trail - Big Bear:
Best Hikes With Dogs - Southern California
by Allen Riedel (Mountaineers books)
by Tom Sinestra and Ann Marie Brown (Avalon Travel)
San Bernardino Mountain Trails - 100 Hikes in Southern California
by John W. Robinson (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes,
Ranger Contact: Mill Creek Ranger Station (909) 794-1123
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted 123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Lucy on 8/30/2012
This trail is very steep right from the beginning and is no longer well marked. We climbed until we reached some large rocks and then stopped, for not wanting to wander on semi-paths. Views are just okay. I wouldn't do this again.
Reviewed by ACL on 10/9/2011
it was a fun beautifull hike up. once on top of the rock you get an amazing view... i proposed to my fiance their
Reviewed by DK on 8/2/2011
The Trail immediately starts at a steep incline! Be prepared to start out strong. Once it evens out, the hike becomes relaxed and very beautiful with large rock formations and amazing trees! Rock Castle was my favorite part of the hike as a few of us from my group climbed and scrambled up the boulders to the top of the castle for an absolutely amazing view! Definitely recommend this hike!
Reviewed by MTN on 11/26/2010
Nice little hike. It is about 1.0 mile past the damn. I went up the trail in the snow with a buddy and three kids under 10. The snow was the most challenging part. You will definitely need snow boots, it took about an hour and a half at a very leisurely pace.
Reviewed by Allan on 10/28/2010
The trail is not well marked and the hike on the WEST side is very steep. The east side is nicer and supposed to be the primary trail up to Castle Rock. Look carefully and you should see little red markers between the actual post and signs on trees. The view is worth the hike, especially if you take the time to climb on the rocks at the top. The trailhead is at the 45.5 mile marker with the turnout that is used for parking just to the east.
Reviewed by Mike on 7/11/2010
Excellent hike. Took several children under 10 and 2 dogs. While the initial ascent was challenging for the kids, the climb to the top of Castle Rock was well worth it. Even the dogs made it to the top!
Reviewed by DP on 6/29/2010
This hike delivers some of the most stunning views of Big Bear. I highly recommend this hike for all levels of hikers.
Reviewed by Tim on 9/3/2009
This is a very forested trail which made for a cooler hike than anticipated. It was at least 85 but under the trees it dropped about 5 to 10 degrees. Make sure to take plenty of water. I had a three year old that made it up and was ahead of me the whole time, pretty good for his first hike. As long as you take your time itâ€™s a very enjoyable hike. It was a slightly hazy day but as the sun set over the treetops they turned orange, the view was just indescribable. I took some amazing photos that will make very nice wallpaper. If youâ€™re ever in the area donâ€™t miss a chance at an amazing hike.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, San Bernardino County Hiking, San Bernardino County Trails, San Bernardino County Hikes