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Castle Peak Out-and-Back

Difficult
 4.4 (18) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A relatively easy climb to a grand high point in the northern Sierra.


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Map Key

5.9

Miles

9.5

KM

Out and Back

9,008' 2,746 m

High

7,285' 2,220 m

Low

1,768' 539 m

Up

1,768' 539 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

45%

Max Grade (24°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views

Overview

By starting near the high point of Donner Pass, this high summit is a relatively easy objective and a surprisingly short outing. Don't be fooled by the first mile though - the top section gets much steeper and rockier.

Need to Know

You can make this hike longer and prettier by using the PCT: Highway 80 to Highway 49 (near Sierra City) trail and bypass the Castle Valley Road.

Alternatively, if you have a high-clearance vehicle, you can drive a portion of the Castle Valley Road and shorten this hike a bit.

Description

From exit 176 on the freeway, park on the north side of the highway at the Castle Valley Road parking area (or, with high clearance, drive about a mile up the road and save yourself a little bit). Start your hike on the Castle Valley Road, and as you ascend the gradual dirt road, pass the Hole In The Ground Trail to the left (last good parking area). The trail steepens and climbs higher to intersect with the PCT: Highway 80 to Highway 49 (near Sierra City) at Castle Pass.

From the busy intersection, start right up the west ridge of Castle Peak, where you'll transition to the Castle Peak Trail. Trees diminish and the views get grand, both of this peak and the entire region. A steep and rocky scramble gets you to the final summit, with 360-degree views. On clear days, you can see Mount Diablo in the bay area, the snow-covered Lassen Peak way to the north, and all the mountains that ring Lake Tahoe.

Once you've enjoyed the views provided at the top, head back down the way that you came to return to the parking area, and your vehicle.

Contacts

Shared By:

Nick Wilder with improvements by Tilman Giese

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 18 votes

#1

in Royal Gorge

#542

Overall
  4.4 from 18 votes
5 Star
50%
4 Star
44%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in Royal Gorge

#91

in California

#542

Overall
321 Views Last Month
10,153 Since Aug 12, 2016
Difficult

0%
0%
11%
11%
79%
0%

Photos

Views from Castle Peak.
Aug 12, 2016 near Truckee, CA
Looking out towards Castle Peak across a ton of snow in May.
May 29, 2017 near Truckee, CA
Castle Peak
May 19, 2019 near Truckee, CA
Taking a breather at the summit.
Aug 18, 2016 near Truckee, CA
Round Valley from Castle Peak Trail.
May 19, 2019 near Truckee, CA
On her way to the summit of Castle Peak!
Aug 16, 2016 near Truckee, CA

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 75 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Sep 2, 2020
Rustin Reese
Jun 19, 2020
Ben Lee
Feb 20, 2020
Bo Hu
Jul 20, 2019
Taher Madraswala
Completed — 14h 41m
Aug 18, 2018
Beth Wilson
This was a great hike, and was only really strenuous for a portion of the accent to the peak. Great payoff at the end with lovely 360 views. 6mi — 3h 00m
Jul 28, 2018
Tilman Giese
Jul 1, 2018
Olga Fedorova
6mi
Jun 23, 2018
Mike F
Hiked with Ed, Melissa & Jenny. 1,785' ascent. 6.2mi