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Castle Rock Trail, California

Posted May 20 2011 12:00am

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

After finishing the Cougar Crest Trail , California, I decided to hang around Big Bear .

On the advice of a couple of PCT thru hikers, I checked into the hostel . Sarge greeted me warmly, wondering if I qualified for special PCT hiker rates.

I told him, “Not until next year.”

After checking in I headed for the other essential local hike, Castle Rock.

Distance: 1.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 700 ft

You’ve got to find a way to get up there:

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 faint 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 …

Here’s the vista from the top.

… It snowed that night and next morning. Some sort of record cold spell for May 17th.

I enjoyed Castle Rock more than Cougar Crest. The final scramble is FUN.

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