Summit Rock Loop
Sanborn County Park
Here is a pleasant tree-shaded hike with relatively moderate grades,
light forest, interesting rocks and one big scenic view. And the whole hike
takes only a few hours.
Easy to get to, the Summit Rock Loop is just ten miles from the bottom of
Black Road. Go up Black, then north on Skyline to the Castle Rock State Park
parking lot, where the parking is free for daytime use. Itís a good idea,
however, to self-register at the booth, just in case someone has to find
The hardest part is finding the trail. Walk north from the parking lot on
Skyline about thirty yards, then watch for a small signpost across the road.
Follow the trail to the first crossing, then turn left on Skyline Trail.
After only 2/10 of a mile, youíll come to the right end of the loop. This
part of the trail is relatively narrow, and it passes through a forest that
is filled with many dead trees and branches. It looks like it was a
playground for some very rough giants.
I recommend staying on Skyline Trail until you reach the left end of the
loop. (The climb is easier.) As you walk up moderate slopes, the Summit Rock
Loop trail is wider and softer. Itís covered with leaves and needles, making
for easy walking through a forest with many madrones and firs.
Most of the trail takes you through shady forest and small meadows. Thereís
plenty of light to keep the spooks away and children in view.
The last twenty yards up to Summit Rock is a bit steep, but the climb is
short. Summit Rock is an interesting climbing rock, complete with big,
smooth shapes, little caves and ďtafoniĒ holes. It could be dangerous for
young (or old) climbers, so some care is necessary.
The views from the top or around the sides of Summit Rock are impressive,
even on a typical hazy day. You can see all of Silicon Valley and the
You can retrace your steps to the trail on the right, or if you want to see
more of the forest, take the trail to the left. It takes you down to little
Bonjetti Creek, then back up to your starting point.
Rather than taking the short trail to Skyline Road, go south on the Skyline
Trail, then turn left up a short 2/10 of a mile trail to Indian Rock. The
giant smooth rocks and the rough textures of forest provide interesting
contrasts and lots of photo opportunities.
Backtracking to the parking lot is a short walk. Of course, if you want
more, you can walk Castle Rockís Skyline to the Sea trail to the ocean. Itís
only 31 miles. But thatís another trail for another day.