Castle Rock is a wonderful place to live, work and play. It’s a community where the people are as resilient and vibrant as the natural features that surround their home; a place where life-long residents and visitors alike feel they are part of the same tight-knit family. Read more about our Vision for Castle Rock.
Castle Rock, the Gateway to Mount St. Helens, is situated between the Cowlitz River and Interstate 5, located 134 miles south of Seattle and 63 miles north of Portland, Oregon. (Link to map of Castle Rock.) It is the northern most city in Cowlitz County, with a population of 2,120. Spirit Lake Memorial Highway (State Route 504) connects the city to the Mount St. Helens National Monument and Spirit Lake recreation areas – two of the most outstanding tourist attractions in Washington State. The City of Castle Rock received the Association of Washington Cities 2004 Municipal Achievement Gold Medal Award in recognition of the Riverfront Trail Project. Link to our parks department for more information on community parks.
Castle Rock’s historic downtown features a wide variety of shops, antique stores, restaurants, and accommodations.
The town’s namesake, a 190-foot-high rock, was a landmark for Cowlitz Indians and Hudson’s Bay Company traders as early as 1832. Castle Rock prospered as a Cowlitz River steamboat port and trading center for valley farms. A local sawmill was the first to produce cedar shingles, using the Western red cedar, which grows in abundance in the region.