Lost Valley to Castle Rock
[out of 5]
|For:||Long, sun exposure, difficult rock climb at the end.|
This hike begins at Nira at the Manzana trailhead. It follows the same path as the Lost Valley Trail hike. The difference is a nice side-trip off the trail for an adventurous climb up a distinctive rock formation. Don't try this hike if you are nervous about climbing a slippery, crumbly rock.
When you reach the summit, the rock towers hundreds of feet, with sheer cliffs, over the valley below. Hurricane deck is right in front of you, and you can imagine there must be a short-cut up to the Deck along a ridge. Perhaps one day I'll explore and see if it can be done. Or maybe not.
There is an interesting spot to have lunch where there is a natural ampitheater, similar to the pool on top of Pool Rock. If you could just block off the one end, it could fill up with rain water and make a great swimming pool. The sandstone, although too crumbly for hardcore climbing, is fun to walk on and explore. There are many similar rock formations in the area, many with little windworn caves. Lots of interesting places to explore.
This hike is about 9 miles round trip. It is a gentle incline the whole way, and then very strenuous the last 1/4-1/2 mile.
You will need an Adventure Pass Pass to park at the trailhead.