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blueBlack Castle Peak Out-and-Back

  4.4 ( 16 ) Favorite


5.9 mile 9.5 kilometer out and back


Ascent: 1,768' 539 m
Descent: -1,768' -539 m
High: 9,008' 2,746 m
Low: 7,285' 2,220 m


Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 45% (24°)


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

Nick Wilder

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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.


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.

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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
Jun 23, 2018
Mike F
Hiked with Ed, Melissa & Jenny. 1,785' ascent. 6.2mi
May 6, 2018
Matthew Jacobsen
May 5, 2018
Yekaterina Drabkov
Jan 13, 2018
mj3920 Jay
https://adventures.garmin.com/en-US/by/mj3920/castle-andesite-peaks-6-1-miles#.WmAPBCOZP1I 6mi — 3h 00m
Dec 24, 2017
Kimmy Pugel
Hiked late December, two days after it had snowed 2". The trail was sufficiently packed down enough to hike with just hiking boots, but spikes reco… 5mi

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  4.4 from 16 votes


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