Summit Rock Loop
Skyline Entrance
Sanborn County Park

Neil Wiley

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 you.

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 mountains beyond.

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.

(c) 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 mountain network news All rights reserved.