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Castle Rock...Not for the feint of heart hike! LbNA #41590

Plant date:Jul 6, 2008
City:Walnut Creek
County:Contra Costa
Planted by:da'biddies
Found by: ETKA
Last found:Jun 1, 2012
Last edited:Jul 6, 2008
Our family (9year old son, 12 year old daughter and Roxy, the black lab) took this hike on 7/6/08. It was a very hot day, so water, sunscreen and hats were essential. There is a ½ mile section of the hike, leading to our box, which is pretty steep, and on a narrow trail. The entire hike was approx. 1 ½ mile loop. The entire hike took about 1 ½ hours, with plenty of water stops.

To reach Castle Rock Park from downtown Walnut Creek, take Ygnacio Valley Road East and turn right at Walnut Avenue. Go about 2 miles until you reach the roundabout and turn right onto Oak Grove Road. Veer right (basically go straight), Oak Grove becomes Castle Rock Road. Go all the way, past the horse stables until the road ends at the entrance to Castle Rock Park.

Walk thru the gate and go straight, stay on the paved road, past the recreation area (picnic tables, then swimming pool, then more picnic tables and baseball field). Just past the last of the picnic tables there will be a sign on your left which also provides trail maps. I suggest you take the map with you for reference.

Once you pick-up your map, and go straight, thru the gate which will put you onto the Castle Roack Trail. Go staright until you reach a fork on the trail. One road leads to the right and up, the other leads to the left. Go to the left. You will pass some cool wind caves on your right and a Pine Creek will be to your left (down below).

This section of the hike is fairly flat and shady. Go about 0.39 miles until you see the Buckeye Ravine Trail on your right. It is signposted. Turn onto this trail. This is the part that is all uphill, (fairly steep) and a narrow trail. Go all the way to the top and hike to the open space where you will come to a very obvious junction where Stonegate Trail, Mt Diablo Reg. Trail and Buckeye Ravine Trail all meet. Turn around to see Mt. Diablo. Just in front of you, there is a small hill (somewhat blocking your view of Mt Diablo) with one lone tree on the top. That is where you will find the letterbox. The hill has a small trail, carved out by horses and hikers. The box is hidden by branches, twigs and a very dried-up cow patty (rocks were hard to come by!)

To return to your car, you can go back the way you came or you can hike the loop that we did….Return to the junction where you spotted the tree and turn right onto the Mt. Diablo Regional Trail and hike 0.19 miles until you reach the northern section of the Buckeye Ravine Trail….turn right onto that trail (it’s a narrow trail) and continue on until you reach the a T junction, which is the Shell Ridge Trail Loop. Turn right. This will lead you back to the 1st juction you cam across. Veer to the left and it will take you back to your car.

Have fun and let us know if you find the box.