Summit Rock Trail


Where? : parking location is on skyline hwy 35, 1.6 mile south of Saratoga Gap junction (hwy 9 & 35), on the left side of the road.

Google Map Link


What? : Short trail that lead to a nice big rock boulder overlooking the south bay. If it too short you have few options to extend this hike.


When? : The Summit Rock section access is only open at Sep. to Jun.

The trail is open and recommended year-round, hiking within the forest so not direct sun at summer or protection from direct rain or wind at winter.


Due note 1: This is part of the skyline trails, very good place for Mountain Biking.


Due note 2: Across the road there is an active gun range, so you do here the load shooting noise.


Due note 3: This trail section can be crowded at weekends, but it is not so bad.


Due note 4: There are many other hiking options nearby, Castell Rock is just there, and the popular skyline ridge trail is going parallel to the road. You can go down all the way to Sanborn park down in valley below (need to climb up).


Due note 5: If you planed you visit to be at the late afternoon and finish just before sunset you can find one of the most beautiful sunset viewing points on skyline. It located 1000 feet north of the parking lot on the west side of the road.


My thoughts: I really like this section of the skyline trail (from Saratoga Gap to Castell Rock and down to Sanborn park). It is excellent place to run/hike/bike in the deep forest, it stays on the top of the ridge (without major climbs), part of a very long trail (mostly single-track) provides good mountain biking experience.


The visit:

From the nearby parking lot, it is a nice and easy old fire road trail, 0.8-mile-long, going to Summit rock. The rock is an interesting outstanding bolder formation viewing the south bay and covered with graffiti.

The nearest hike entrance is at Parking Summit Rock on hwy 35, you can also start at Saratoga Gap parking (additional 1.8 miles) or even come from Castell Rock park entrance (half a mile from the new parking lot to the Summit rock).

The large rock can be climb over (from the tree at the left side) and from the top you will get the valley view.

Once visiting the rock section, you can go back to your car on the same trail you came (overall visit of 1+ hr) or you can extend this with a nice, less travel loop.

From the trail junction that lead to the Summit Rock (that has the sing on the gate) take the trail that is going straight down, this trail is going steeply down until you will reach a small stream (after 0.6 mile). From here you will climb for 0.5 mile until you will connect back to the skyline trail, here you will continue the road trail to the right (the left single track, that say bike route, is the skyline trail going parallel the road).

Another 0.7 mile on this trail will bring you back to the trail junction near Summit Rock where you stated this loop.

Overall this is additional 1.8-mile hike with some climbing back from the lower creek, but it is a nice hike in the deep redwood forest and a lot less people are hiking here.


Between Feb. and Aug. the rock access is close due to bird nesting, you can still hike the trail but no Summit Rock access.


During weekends you will hear the loud gun firing noise from the shooting range across the road.