Castle Rock Trail near Big Bear Lake, CA is a moderate to difficult 2.5 out and back hike with the 180 degree views of the lake and surrounding area.
My husband, parents, younger brother and sister, and in laws all stayed in Big Bear Lake for the Thanksgiving Day weekend. We rented a cabin on Home Away and brought up all the supplies we needed to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It was such a relaxing vacation and spending time quality time with our family in the great outdoors was the perfect introduction to the holiday season. While the beaches we frequented in Maui earlier this year are equally idyllic, being in the mountains, surrounded by pine trees, is one of my favorite getaway settings.
Parking near the Castle Rock Trailhead is minimal, so I would suggest getting there early. We didn’t arrive until 11:00am and we had to park on a residential street about a 1/4 of a mile away from the trail’s entrance. The trailhead is also off of a main road, so if you are doing this hike with dogs or kids, just be wary of oncoming traffic.
This trail is straight up the whole way to the top of Castle Rock. There are some sections of the path with switchbacks, which makes the climb a little easier, but overall, it was a moderate to difficult hike. I would rate this hike hard for those who have trouble catching their breath in high elevation (preggo lady right here!), so just take your time if that applies to you. In addition, parts of the trail are covered in loose dirt so I would highly recommend wearing hiking boots or at least runners with really good tread. Having a person next to you to help you balance, if you’re a little top heavy like I am now, also helps 🙂
Wth all that said, the 1 1/4 mile trip up to Castle Rock is well worth it as you get to enjoy a stunning view of the lake. There were plenty of groups with small kids who I saw braving this hike as well; making sure to take plenty of breaks and having snacks and water on hand at the top. The trail up isn’t very well marked and there are some off shoots, especially when you come across large collections of rocks, that may take you slightly off course. However, if you pay attention to the brown signs with the words ‘Trail’ in yellow, and follow fellow hikers also making this popular trek, you won’t have a problem navigating.
Did you take a trip to Big Bear Lake and hike Castle Rock Trail? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts!