+++ WARNING --- Boring Public Service Announcement +++
I've mentioned this a few times but will again, especially for Castle Rock newbies or wannabes.
Castle Rock parking is strictly enforced.
Summary: if you park in the lot, pay or you'll be cited. As mentioned earlier.
You may park for free between the highway and the deep ditch just south of the entrance gate. They put out cones marking the ends of the parking area. Park outside the cones and you WILL be cited.
Ditto for across the highway at the Indian Rock parking.
Remember the highway parking rules are set by CalTrans, not state parks, but the CRSP or the Santa Clara County Parks rangers write the tickets.
There are many tempting turnouts on both sides of the highway in both directions which are clearly posted no parking. You WILL be cited.
There is a small parking area about 1/2 mile north on the east side of Skyline at Summit Rock. Same rules and warnings apply.
I'll add a safety warning. It is a heavily traveled state highway and people often drive 60 or faster. There is no real shoulder either side of Skyline between Summit Rock and Castle Rock. Be careful and stay out of the road if you're at your car.
I know of one pedestrian fatality in that stretch of road.
I STRONGLY suggest you take the trail on the east side of skyline between Summit Rock parking and Indian Rock/Castle Rock.
It's a very nice trail in the woods and only adds a few minutes. And you won't get run over.
There are additional parking areas on the east side of Skyline, south of Castle Rock. The nearest (and smallest) is about a mile from the CRSP entrance. There are larger ones at approx 1.7 and 2.0 miles. The trail on the east side of Skyline back to CRSP/Indian Rock is enjoyable and well maintained. Allow 30 - 40 minutes fast walking.
ALL parking is closed at all areas at sunset. This is clearly posted. Also, they lock the Castle Rock gate shortly after sunset. You may infer the obvious. All trails are closed at sunset.
No, they don't usually lock the gate and start ticketing right at sunset but don't push your luck. They won't come looking for you on the trails after dark.
The ditch along the highway just south of the Castle Rock parking gate entraps quite a few cars. Especially in wet weather. Be careful you don't let your wheels get too close to the ditch. I'm sure its a very expensive call for a tow truck.
Smoking and alcohol are prohibited in both parks. Even in the parking lots. The CRSP ranger clarified this at a local meeting yesterday. A beer at the tailgate after a day's climbing is not a good idea. It's even prima facie evidence of drunk driving if you then get behind the wheel.
No glass containers of any sort are allowed in the parks (outside of formal picnic areas). This is to protect people and the natural residents.
Contrary to popular belief the current rangers are not neo-Nazis. If they tell you you're violating a law, be polite, comply and you're not likely to get into trouble. And no, they're not Out To Get Climbers.
The rangers are The Law up here along Skyline. All "Rangers" in California (including USFS and National Parks) are police officers.
They will deal with and are authorized to cite or arrest for any crime they encounter.
And one final note: There are now official State Parks volunteers on the trails in all the local state parks. They are there to help all visitors enjoy the park. They are to be informative and helpful to all visitors. They are well trained and should politely inform people if they are violating the few park rules. They have no authority to cite but they can report. Be courteous to them.
Summit Rock closure: Summit Rock is not open for general access. You need to apply for a "permit" in advance. There are several good reasons for this and I won't argue the point. You can get a permit by calling 408-355-2201 at Santa Clara County Parks.
SuperTopo Summit Rock access thread: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2194690&tn=20
(why am I bothering with this?)
As many of you know, I live in the neighborhood and I don't like to hear about climbers being cited.
I want us all to have good times in these mountains.
P.S. on a largely selfish note:
It has been a Very Dry 2 years up here. Barring heavy storms, in a few weeks it will be high and then extreme fire danger. PLEASE don't smoke outside your car, if you camp in the campgrounds be Very Careful with your fire (if allowed) and report any sign of smoke to 911.
And if you're away from people and very lucky you just might see Felis Concolor or Peregrine Falcons.