Trail Run Project Logo

A steep, rocky trail with moderate exposure up 14,274' Castle Peak.


Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

0.8

Miles

1.2

KM

31%

Runnable

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.

Runner Notes

This trail is too steep and rocky to truly run. There are plenty of much better options in the area.

Description

This trail is considered difficult Class 2 on loose rock, so make sure that is something you're comfortable with before heading up.

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 climber's left. Your goal is to work your way into the basin below the north face of the peak (there are quite a few climber's trails up to the basin, so use your best judgement on which one avoids the loose scree the best). From the hanging basin you'll see the obvious trail to the east that does a traversing climb 500' to the intersection with the Northeast Ridge. Once on the Northeast Ridge, follow the ridge proper all the way to the summit. It is easy to get suckered west off the ridge in several places, but as many can attest, this will cause you heartache in the long run. Trust that by staying on the ridge as best as possible, you'll be able to scramble on the most solid part of the mountain. A couple hundred vertical feet before the true summit sits a false summit with a saddle in between the two points. On the west side of the saddle is the crux of the climb, a steep and loose step that is best climbed straight up versus swinging around to its east. Take extra care here to avoid the sea of loose bowling ball-sized rocks.

From the summit you have expansive 360° views of rocky summits around you, including Conundrum Peak to the north that is connected by a fairly easy saddle if you choose to continue on. Otherwise turn back the way you came and be careful as you descend down the loose pile of rubble you just came up!

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

#12882

Overall
  4.0 from 2 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
100%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1,152

in Colorado

#12,882

Overall
2 Views Last Month
3,116 Since Mar 19, 2015
Difficult Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
100%
0%

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
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
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

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Unknown
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

none
Welcome

Join the Community! It's FREE

Already have an account? Login to close this notice.