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A steep and rocky trail up 14er Castle Peak.


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Map Key

0.8

Miles

1.2

KM

Point to Point

14,060' 4,285 m

High

12,846' 3,915 m

Low

1,214' 370 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

30%

Avg Grade (17°)

45%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views · Wildlife

With a good 4WD car (Jeep, FJ, Xterra, etc.) a competent driver can make it almost all the way to the start of the Castle Peak trail. Most people will have to park much further down, however, especially during the spring and early summer. During the winter, the road is closed just beyond the lowest point mapped.

Description

This trail is considered difficult Class 2, so make sure that is something you're comfortable with before continuing onto this trail.

From the upper trailhead at 12,800 ft (see Castle and Conundrum; top mapped parking), hike into wide open Montezuma Basin. From here, follow a poorly marked and difficult, rocky trail to the left. Your goal is to hike up to Castle Peak's northeast ridge. Don't fret too much if you can't find the trail. Aim for the saddle in the ridge and you'll be fine. Hike up steep talus to 13,400 ft, at which point the ridge is mellow.

Continue up 300 ft further along the right side of the ridge before reaching the ridge proper (13,700 ft). Things become more difficult from here. The grade is very steep and the rock is very loose. It doesn't quite require scrambling, but it's close. Fortunately the trail here is a little clearer, at least for a little bit, so you can't get too off route.

Hike/scramble up the remaining 500 vertical ft of loose, steep rock. The summit is visible from about 14,000 ft, so don't get too amped up for the false one. After the false summit, drop just a bit to a small saddle. The summit stands at 14,274', less than 300 ft up from where you are. Push on till you reach the tippy top.

From the summit you have expansive 360° views of rocky summits around you, including Conundrum Peak that is connected by a fairly easy saddle if you choose to continue on, otherwise turn back the way you came and be careful on the rock on the way down.

Flora & Fauna

Up this high, there's not much other than marmots and pika.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tyler Prince with improvements by Ashley Peterson

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 2 votes

#12827

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#1,160

in Colorado

#12,827

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2 Views Last Month
3,116 Since Mar 19, 2015
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Photos

Making the hike back over the saddle from Conundrum.
Feb 25, 2024 near Aspen, CO
On the ridge for a smoky sunrise.
Feb 25, 2024 near Aspen, CO
A view of the hike to come along the Northeast Ridge. The added weight of skis doesn't help.
Mar 20, 2015 near Aspen, CO
View from the summit of Castle Peak. To the left is the saddle to which you'll descend. Conundrum is right in front of you, with its technical couloir just right of center. Conundrum's summit is up and to the right of the couloir.
Mar 20, 2015 near Aspen, CO
The downclimb from Castle Peak to its saddle with Conundrum. The chute pictured here is about as technical as it gets (not too bad). The rocks on the sides are loose, so be careful if you go around.
Mar 20, 2015 near Aspen, CO

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Aug 6, 2019
Jett MacPherson
Jul 21, 2018
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